My CANCER Adventure Book

Mostly my real time journal and blog posts plus photos and other information that is meant to be inspirational for someone else going through cancer, especially my specific Parotid Tumor Cancer with 68 pages and 87 photos, including a few of my nature posts during that time. 🙂

I also emphasize the value of nature in healing for me. And the title “True Grit” is explained in the book and on back cover, kind of funny! 🙂

You can see a free electronic preview at https://www.blurb.com/b/10778284-true-grit Or click the cover image below:

Me in front of Radiation Machine on book cover.

You can also browse through all my nature photo books while in the bookstore or click on Bookstore on the menu bar above.

¡Pura Vida!

San Jose Finale

Final for this trip or purpose here, but I will be back! Everyone who lives in the country has to go to the big city sometimes. 🙂

And because nature walks have helped me get through this cancer treatment more than maybe anything else, I chose nature shots from my last couple of days here. And for those who don’t know, today was my last radiation treatment and that is why I can return to Atenas and enjoy the nature there while taking possibly months to recover from the side effects of radiation. I will report on that progress along with the joys of nature in my little coffee farming town of Atenas. Pura vida! And now, MY LAST NATURE SHOTS FROM THIS SAN JOSE TRIP . . .

Continue reading “San Jose Finale”

These Berries are Ripe . . .

. . . and so am I, almost! I’m redder or pinker now on my face from the radiation 🙂 and also ripe at the point of being almost finished. Today, Tuesday, I lack only 2 more radiation treatments, meaning I’m finished by noon Thursday! Yay! Starting Thursday afternoon I’m home to stay for at least 5 weeks before I have a trip planned. And hoping I have some taste and swallowing ability back by then (the lodge food is said to be excellent!), though my doc says to not count on the taste totally returning that soon. She says it can take up to 6 months for some people to have it totally but gain it little by little, week by week. Since my radiation was only on the left side of my mouth, maybe I will get it back sooner. Hoping! 🙂

The red berries are on the big tree at the hotel that had been yellow berries for weeks but now red, ripe and ready for the birds and other creatures! The blue or black berries below are in a yard I walk by everyday to and from the clinic and Walter, my driver, says they are sweet and if people can pick them before the birds and animals, they add them to dishes for sweetness or just eat as berries.

Continue reading “These Berries are Ripe . . .”

June is Cancer Survivor Month

At least that is so in the U.S. that has a month or week for almost everything! 🙂 And surviving cancer is a big deal worth celebrating!

I’m still in radiation therapy through June 10 and to be honest feeling terrible much of the time, tired and especially not being able to eat much with a constant bad taste in my dry mouth most of the time, even gagging on some food – But this too shall pass! 🙂 And now I’ve got pain and drainage in my left ear near the surgery that no one has identified yet. I may go to an ENT independently to see what it is if no answer soon. All that to say it is not always easy, but today one can survive cancer! Celebrate Cancer Survivor Month!

Feature photo is a Hibiscus Flower from one of my walks to the clinic. Flowers say “hope!”

¡Pura Vida!

Clinic Art

With most museums closed for the pandemic and me now low on energy, it looks like I won’t be visiting Art Museums in San Jose during radiation. so I will share today just a few of the art pieces I photographed with cellphone at the clinic and tomorrow some more from the hotel.

These are from the waiting rooms and treatment hallway. I didn’t go into the doctors’ offices.

And in the parking lot I consider this sign a type of art: 🙂

TRANSLATION: We are life expectancy, for the cancer patient. Twenty-first Century Radiotherapy – Or most here translate “esperanza” as “hope,” making this “hope of life” but my online dictionary considered the context and used “expectancy” as a more modern translation. Languages cannot be translated word for word in every case. Spanish speakers know what it means! 🙂

And at 2:30 this afternoon I get the stitches removed from my left eyelid. Hoping for minimal pain.

¡Pura Vida!

Halfway!

Yep! Today, Wednesday, 19th of May 2021, I am halfway through my cancer radiation therapy and already on the downhill side of the mountain! 🙂 I will get 33 treatments and today was #17, a half treatment over the hill! 🙂

The photo is of the computer screen where I check in each day with my patient electronic card that I swipe over that little black box’s red screen that pulls up my name and appointment time, etc. This info also goes back into the treatment room where the therapists are thus notified that I’m entering the second waiting room for patients only.

Patient check-in station, Twenty-first Century Radiotherapy, San Jose, Costa Rica

For those not knowing Spanish, “Por favor, aguarde a ser llamado. Muchas gracias.” means “Please wait to be called. Much thanks.” They call me in over a PA system when ready. Depending on who calls, they call for “Mister Charles.” or “Señor Charles” or “Don Charles.” These young therapists are very professional, kind, friendly and helpful in every way, making it a much more pleasant experience.

Now before any of that, I walk up to the outside door and wash my hands at an outside sink with a hand soap dispenser. Then I am allowed in where my temperature is taken and of course I am wearing a mask – all part of the national Covid protocols. I will be doing the above electronic check-in just 16 more times now! 🙂

On the walk back to hotel today, two parakeets squawked congratulations to me from a telephone line! 🙂 Too high for good cellphone photos, but here’s a try:

Continue reading “Halfway!”

More Skilled Technicians

Yesterday’s post presented one team of skilled professionals who are administering my radiation treatments – that was Friday and this team was Monday, yesterday. I haven’t learned their shifts or schedules yet, but both of these pairs have worked on me and there may be others before this is finished! 🙂

Note that both yesterday and today the girls are wearing sweaters. It is pretty cold in that room because of the big computerized radiation machine which has to stay at a certain temperature without any humidity. It is cold for me too but I’m not in there as long as them. 🙂

Radiation therapists with my mask which now has a larger nose-hole because it was scrapping my nose.

It is noteworthy that Costa Rica’s higher education (free) leads all Latin American countries in training their young people for many different professions like this.

¡Pura Vida!

Skilled Technicians

And I almost added “young” to the headline, but then everyone seems young to me now! 🙂

Every day they help me get on that table and screw this mask over my face to the table. Then they carefully position my body in perfect alignment with the machine’s image of my head, then the computer does the rest of the work in two 30 second scans of the left side of my face and neck targeting certain programmed areas with cancer-killing radiation.

And by the way,

Costa Rica Beats the USA in Soccer (Again!)

🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Tired and Tasteless

Well, that second adjective is probably not used correctly, but I like alliterations! 🙂

By the end of the third week of radiation I am more tired than ever. And none of my food has a taste or very much of one. Over the weekend a neighbor brought me a spicy soup that had more flavor than most things now. And this is perfectly normal as radiation progresses. But they say in 5 or 6 weeks after completing treatments I will regain my taste. And I’m also sleeping later and later every morning with even nap in the day.

The photo was made by the technicians (their photo coming tomorrow) of me right after I completed the treatment Friday and put my shirt back on but no mask or eye patch! Just the one-sided smile! 🙂

Me in front of the big radiation machine by my treatment mask & table.

And you may have missed the post with me getting the treatment.

¡Pura Vida!

Not a Mummy – Me in a “Mask”

I promised somebody I would show what my daily process of a few minutes looks like, as pitiful as I look shirtless. One of the young technicians made these three (requested) shots of me screwed to the table for the radiation treatment. I show up each morning by 11:45 and I’m walking back to the hotel by 12 noon usually. Quick and mostly painless (though the mask is really tight on my face). It appears more scientific than human, but believe me, the staff are all so friendly and nice and do their various jobs very proficiently. And they all shift to English when I walk in, though not their native language. Amazing! And I use my elementary Spanish with them as I am able, though not necessary here like at the public clinics and hospitals.

One outside person told me that this clinic is equal to Mayo Clinic in the states for Radiotherapy. I feel like I’m in very good hands. My radio doctor will conference with me every Tuesday until finished and work with me on any side effects, etc. And a nurse is always there plus other doctors always in the building. A very professional place that in fact does remind me a little of being in the Mayo Clinic with my brother Jerry, just not as big! 🙂

Notice the Screws holding me down with the mask.
Feels like being a mummy! 🙂
Everything must be perfectly lined up for radiation in the right places.

Are we having fun yet? Sure!

3 Days Down and 30 More to Go!

🙂

¡Pura Vida!