Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Grind...

John at VGH Emergency for an allergic reaction to his Chemotherapy drugs :(

Even though millions of people have successfully completed a Marathon, each race is different and each racer goes through their own unique experience.  It is no easy feat to cross that finish line and it is certainly not a race for the average person. Both the training and discipline it takes to get through the race is a constant grind and there are always obstacles that must be over come along the way.

The Marathon of John’s life is a race with many obstacles.  It is like no other course he has come up against before.  As prepared as John could have possibly been for this, it has been a challenge for him to anticipate when he would eventually come across these obstacles and to what degree he would have to endure them.  His hair loss came faster then he would have liked, I shaved it all off when it started to fall out by the handful, so now John looks like a serious badass! The radiation has burned the skin of his face and scalp from the inside; as a result John has had to deal with some very painful headaches between his eyes and has extremely sensitive skin.  His mouth is riddled with sores, and his salivary glands are not very active, which makes it hard for John to not only chew and swallow food, but also to simply enjoy the flavor and taste of it.  Other crappy side effects include the skin peeling off his hands and feet, nausea, constipation and constantly feeling fatigued.  These are things he knows he cannot control and must simply learn to tolerate…the mantra, “this too will end” is ever present in his vocabulary. Yesterday John was scheduled to complete the third treatment in the second cycle of his chemotherapy plan when it took an unexpected turn for the worse.  John suddenly had an allergic reaction to the drugs about half way through the IV drip so an ambulance had to be called to bring him to Emergency.  John received epinephrine, oxygen and a steroid to help him breath and open his airway. They also took a chest x-ray that unfortunately showed he also has pneumonia to content with now too...needless to say the first half of this race has not been easy, in fact it has been a grind!

Although today essentially marks the half way point of this race, the grueling reality is that it will not get any easier…fortunately, John is no stranger to toughing it out during a race, he has hit those proverbial walls before and knows that no matter what the case may be, he is capable of getting to the other side.  There are no words to describe the uncertainty of the course John still has left to run, but as long as the finish line is in sight, I know he will eventually make it there. John has 2 cycles of chemotherapy left to go and has completed 15 of his 33 radiation blasts.  This is an up hill battle for sure; a battle John knew going in would challenge every part of his mind, his body and his spirit to keep going and to keep believing that in the end, it will all be worth it!

John gets radiation from Monday-Friday... the process takes about 15 min.  The fibreglass mask that was moulded to fit his face is used to hold John in place and is bolted to the table so that the radiation can be delivered with pin point accuracy! 

Cole supporting his dad at one of the treatments :)

The inevitable Hair Cut!...I'm a pretty good Barber if I do say so myself!


  1. Oh John my heart is with you! This too shall end is indeed true. Hoping for the next day to pass then the next etc etc and then this awful time will become a fading memory .. Hang in there my friend. Love to you Trixie and your boys.

  2. those uphills! :( it sounds excruciatingly difficult all that you're going through but that Finish Line will make it all worthwhile. hang in there john and thanks for the updates trixie. sending lots and lots of love and good vibes of strength and healing to all of you. xo leanne + dan

  3. Thoughts and prayers go out to you John and to your beautiful family. Keep fighting. Carol and Dave

  4. Big hugs and we are with you all the way! Love
    Barb and Michael

  5. Such a struggle but we are cheering you on the whole way. Liz and Jim and James Dennett

  6. Wow...what an incredibly tough battle. Stay strong young man. I know how tough you are and what a great attitude you have always had. My very best wishes and hopes go to you.