Friday, May 17, 2013

Why I travel...

I travel because I value experience over anything and everything tangible. I travel to better understand the difference between wants and desires. I travel to better comprehend the variation and variety in the world, thus deepening the awareness of self and the role an individual can play in the global ecosystem. The earth is one big family.

I travel not to take pictures, to boast, or check an item off a “bucket list,” I travel to see the world through different senses. Through eyes that constantly search for their next source of food, ears always on the alert—anticipating another ambush, noses that scrunch from the wafting stenches of living in the slums, and mouths constantly smiling and laughing while surrounded by those they love.

I travel to wander…”Not all those who wander are lost”…I travel to experience adventure, serendipity, and spontaneity.

I travel to live life first hand, not through a television, tablet, or computer screen. I travel because I don’t want to live vicariously through others. I travel for me.

I travel because I feel a need to spread love and understanding. I travel to learn of heartache and injustice. I travel to raise awareness and learn how to help those who need it. I travel for them.

I travel to keep perspective, and to remember that I don’t need everything I have. I travel because I need the reminder that happiness is not attached to tangible objects, but to basic human interaction and connection. A smile can brighten one’s day, a hug can reverse depression, and a good deed can last forever. I travel to observe and watch, to interact and learn, to listen not to speak.

I travel to stay young and keep the childlike perspective. I travel to look with the eyes of a six-year-old, inquisitive and always wanting to know “why.” I travel for the discovery of truth.

I travel not to leave home or to escape my reality. I travel to remind myself how great life is: the phone call from a loving mother, the text from a special someone, sharing a hilarious YouTube video with friends, and having access to running water. I travel to turn good-byes into undefined see-you-laters. I travel, because without subjection to cognitive dissonance, how does one determine what one prefers, needs, likes, and loves. In the words of Augustine of Hippo, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” I travel to turn the page of my very own “choose your own adventure book” that is personally unique and never-ending.

I travel to extend my reach, to decrease my narrow-mindedness, for everyone on earth deserves to be heard, loved, and validated. I travel to not have regret. I travel to not lose time, but to make my dreams and goals become my reality and memories, not “what-ifs” and “maybes.” I travel to make time.

Make the time to listen, Make the time for love, Make the time to travel.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The South Pacific, HEFY, and garlic

Hello everyone,

I am writing to ask you all one questions. I would love as many responses as possible. This summer I will be going to the South Pacific for two months. So here is the question:

What is the best way to protect against mosquito/spider/cockroach or any other insect bites. I have research a bit (both online and word of mouth), but all of it seem to contain conflicting information. So, I figured I would take a one more survey of all of you and I will identify the most commonly mentioned approaches and go with those.

I need your help because last summer my arms looked like this:

I have been told that garlic pills help protect against insect bites (I believe this because it makes you sweat a gross garlic smell, so I may also protect against all the kiddos I will be in charge of in Fiji and Tonga). 

Please let me know if you have attempted this approach and the effectiveness of it.

Any and ALL help/suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

I am getting excited for this summer and don't want it to get ruined by insect bites, because I plan on:

Spending some time relaxing in this...

Climbing to the top of this...

Watching a lot of these...

And doing A LOT of this beginning on my flight back to The U.S. of A...

Thank you, in advance, for all of your help.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Kentucky Derby and Cancer

I spent the weekend in San Diego to have my routine 3 month scans.

I had the normal CAT Scan and no matter how many times I have it the contrast always makes me feel like I peed my pants (your entire body gets a temporary warm sensation and it feel like you cannot control your bladder).

I then meet with the one and only AMAZING Dr. Schiff. The scans came back that everything had grown, but not a lot. It had grown millimeters. It is nothing to alarming and I will continue on the medical regime that I am on until I get back from Fiji and Tonga and have scans again in August.

In regards to my thyroid. My incision in healing great and everything is well. I am now taking 150 mcg pill every morning and everything seems as good as gold.

This will probably be the last update until I get back from Tonga and Fiji in August.

Love you all and thank you for the support!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Thyroid Update & Happy Earth Day

Happy Monday everyone,

This morning before work I went to have my post surgery follow-up. I arrived and waited in the waiting room for a few minutes (during this time I obsessively watched the puffer fish swim back and was very memorizing). My name was called by the nurse and I went back to the exam room.

In came the nurse practitioner. She is great and I enjoy her personality and she makes you feel like a long lost friend, in short she is awesome. She asked me question about pain, fatigue, and look at the wound and said it looked great. However not all the news was good. She told me that the biopsy results came back and the 1.1 cm nodule that was on the left lobe of my thyroid was in deed cancerous.

The cancer is called papillary thyroid cancer and it is the most common thyroid cancer. It is most common in women (this must be a result of growing up with only sisters...I knew having a brother would have been beneficial). It is also the predominant cancer type in children with thyroid cancer, and in patients with thyroid cancer who have had previous radiation to the head and neck. This makes sense because I have had radiation to the chest on two different occasions.

So that is the update. I guess you could say I have a case of the Mondays. I have now been told I have cancer 4 different times and now my first cancer diagnosis (Ewing Sarcoma) will not have to go through life all alone. It will have a friend to keep in company!

I wanted to thank everyone for your positive vibes, thoughts, and prayers for me over the last week. It means a lot and I felt all the positive energy. Thanks to everyone who sent me words of encouragement through phone calls, visits, texts, and Facebook messages (especially Chad and Ian).

Lastly, Happy Earth Day to you All!

Also here is my thyroid surgery/cancer theme song...just wanted to share it again! It can also be your I have a case of the Mondays theme song...because You'll be Okay!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

I will finally shed that 16.4 grams I have been trying to lose (average weight for a thyroid gland)

It has been a long long time since I have updated everyone on my battle with cancer (November 16th to be exact). A lot has happened since that beautiful fall day. I have had ups and downs. In fact, the drug I started taking last October has been working! When I went for my routine 3-month scans over Christmas break I had a CAT Scan. The cancer in my chest/diaphragm had decreased in size (not a lot, but just like technology smaller is better).

However, during the CAT Scan of my chest the radiologist accidentally included my throat in the field being scanned. This in itself is no big deal (I mean come on I have been radiated more than the Hulk: see below), however after analysis a nodule on my thyroid was discovered. My doctor suspected that it was just a growth due to my thyroid overworking (once I began my new drug in August I became very lethargic and exhausted. It was discovered that my thyroid levels were out of whack). This made perfect sense.

Nevertheless with my cancer history the most amazing BEST doctor (Dr. Schiff) wanted to have a biopsy done on the growth. After a carousel of new ENT doctors and multiple biopsies and test (I was stabbed in the neck 6 times with rather large needles and to get material from the growth they jab the needle back and forth…it is one of my favorite feeling in the world…it brings me as much happiness as seeing my mother doing her world famous flat foot dance), the results came back and the genetic make-up of the nodule is 77% suspicious (of cancer). What does this mean? (Hint to keep reading).

This means that I will be having surgery lucky #13

(For some reason right after I wrote this line images of the movie Watcher in the Woods popped into my head….NERAK!!!! YouTube it if you haven’t seen it. It caused 5-7 year old Dave to have many nightmares).

My thyroid is to be removed. The surgery is scheduled for this Tuesday the 16th of April. They will be removing my entire thyroid and I will be on thyroid medication for the duration of my life. I have had many surgeries of different magnitudes and evasiveness, so I am not nervous to go under the knife once again. In fact I oddly enjoy the anesthesia, I try to fight it see how long I can last until my next memory is walking up in the recovery room.

The main difference with this surgery is that it will be my first surgery in Utah. I will see if their anesthesia is weaker than California’s (hopefully it is not regulated like the alcohol content of beer in Utah….this would make the surgery not as HIGH a memory...sorry for the horrible pun...but not really).

I am writing this to update everyone on my cancerous journey and I will update after the surgery (once I am no longer high from morphine).

Lastly, I wanted to share the theme song for surgery #13! So listen to it for me on Tuesday as you give positive thoughts/vibes/prayers my way!

Thyroid Removal Theme Song   (Please listen) It is by the band A GREAT BIG WORLD! (They also write my theme song for life)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Cancer Update

It has been a while since I have written a cancer update. so here it is....

Oct. 4: I was put on a new chemo drug. It is in pill form and I take 4 pills (once a day). So far I have not had any side effects other than it has turned my hair (and facial hair) a weird blondish/white color. (As a result I have decided to grow out my facial hair so that I can look like a bald, homeless santa clause).

This drug I am now taking is new. It was just FDA approved to be used on patients with soft-cell cancers (which is what I have). So my doctors have me doing a lot of random test to monitor its effects on me as a precaution.

Since taking the drug I have had:

1 Brain MRI

3 EKGs

2 days of 24 hour urine collection...This is fun because you have to stay home all day and pee in a container...during the 24 hours you must keep the container in the fridge to keep your pee from spoiling. Who knew pee could spoil?

1 Heart Stress Test...this test was one of the crazier medical test I have ever had. Most traditional stress test involve you running on a treadmill while you are hooked up to all sorts of monitors. Well mine was very different.

It involved a 50 minute MRI...during the first part I would have to hold my breath for 20 seconds while they did scans. (This kept my heart from moving and getting a better image). I would do several of these until a half an hour had passed. During this whole time I was hooked up to a heart monitor.

After the 30 minutes, I was taken out of the MRI machine and the gentleman conducting the interview then informed me that I would be injected with a substance (I think it was very similar to adrenaline) and that after he injected it it would feel like I had just ran a marathon and would be very short of breath.

He proceeded to inject me and within 10 seconds my heartbeat rose from 86 bpm to 144 bpm. It was a crazy feeling, because I was still just laying completely still. I was very tired and VERY short of breath. During this time I was again had to hold my breath to do a few more scans.

Then I was taken out of the MRI machine again and received the antidote to the original injection. It was a fun way to start my day at 7:30 in the morning.

Well that is the update...I have a appointment the day before Thanksgiving to get the results!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Don't Forget Thanksgiving

I know people get upset that Thanksgiving is overlooked due to stores switching from Halloween to Christmas decorations.

But, I am not letting Thanksgiving go unnoticed this year.

Here is a video to get you in the Thanksgiving Spirit! You can thank me later.