I Am Only Human

You have likely heard me say, “I have good days and bad days but more good than bad.” Yesterday, Sunday, February 6th, 2022 would count amount the worst day since the start of my adventure with cancer. Let me share it with you so you are not blindsided when you inevitably arrive where I have. As a member of the palliative care crew, with cancer or another live-ending disease, this will be part of your future.

I must start by sharing my emotions are raw right now and at the core is the word “grief.” My disease is stealing my independence. There has been a dramatic change for the worse beginning on Sunday. As mentioned by Cindy (Palliative Care) yesterday, every palliative care patient is on their own journey and although sad, my is going downhill sooner than I hoped.

The worse part of what is happening right now is that I’m losing my independence and I know it is unlikely to return. Allow me to share what I mean.

  • On Sunday morning, I fell in the bathroom and we needed to call 911 to have parameditics come, pick me up and check me out for injury. By the way, we are registered in a Green Sleeve program such that when we call 911 we let them know and EHS comes without a lot of fanfare. While lying on the floor waiting, it made so sad I couldn’t get up on my own.
  • It would be too dangerous for Janet to lift me after a fall. She is my rock but I feel guilt that she has to do so much for me. Yet another lose of independence and one more source fo grief.
  • I cannot walk any distance without severe loss of breath. And I can only do this if I have a walker to help me stay stable. More grief aorund this loss.
  • I just got a wheel chair so to go anywhere will be total dependence on others. More grief.
  • I have started wearing depends just in case just in case. Yet another loss of indepence and grief associated.
  • I can’t safely get up to pee at night so I’ve started using a bottle in bed. And I need Janet’s help moving my legs so I can position to ensure all the pee goes in the bottle.

There is more but I’m sure you get the idea. I’m not prone to feel sorry for myself but I’m only human and right now I’m losing one aspect of independence after another. It is overwhelming.

I will get through this so no need to panic; this is beyond my control but it is my path into the future.

Thanks for being a support pillar as always. God continues to be present in my life every moment and I will be okay.

Lots of Love, Phil

26 Replies to “I Am Only Human”

  1. Ohhh, what a crap hand you’ve been dealt, Phil, and what a horrible convergence of things to happen all at the same time!!! Although it is little comfort at the moment, I have no doubt that when you catch your breath you’ll have mastered the wheelchair and be back in the saddle again. Prayers for you, but for Janet, too, and for all your dear ones.

  2. Hugs and positive vibes sent your way Phil. I’m sure it must be draining sometimes to remain positive in the face of all you’ve encountered. I know my Dad was most concerned about the burden he placed on others as he travelled the shortening path with cancer. I can tell you we never found him a burden. Our hearts were merely heavy with our inability to change his lot, and we did everything to make his life a little easier with the utmost of love. I’m sure those close to you feel the same. Big hugs.

  3. Hi Phil,

    Sounds like a rough time with so much changing rapidly and with losing so much independence. You are brave to be so vulnerable with us. That demonstrates such strength. Thinking of you and your family as you navigate this new phase.

    With deepest respect, Trish

  4. Phil,
    Well, Yuck! I am so sorry for these developments and the frustration and grief that come along with them.
    I want to thank you for thinking of us and sharing what we don’t want to hear, but need to know, for our own benefit and potential future.

    As long as I’ve known you (from so many eLearning, WebCT, Wimba, etc. conferences), you have been a people person and wherever you were, there was a group of people with you – most often laughing!

    Some people are going to need to be closer than you want, but this also gives them the benefit of soaking up as much of your presence as possible. You being present in the moment is such an example of the way to live.

    I can’t tell you how precious it is to me that you are so generous as to include me (us all) in this journey you are on. These lessons and treasures you are learning are gifts you are giving to us all; treasures that we will need and no doubt carry with us always and think of often. Your leadership skills have always been evident. Here you are continuing your leadership though this journey as well.

    I am praying for you!
    Much love and admiration from your southern supporter,

    Robin Smith
    Little Rock, Arkansas – United States

  5. Grief is bitter and real! Lose of freedom is awful. Cannot imagine what you are feeling but whatever it is you are allowed. Thinking of you and Janet and all who are going through this journey with you!

  6. That is indeed a very overwhelming Sunday Phil. It must feel like you’re really in the eye of the storm right now…

    That said, the fact that you continue to share your experience with us while at your most vulnerable, looks a lot more like courage to me then self-pity.

    I’m certain some of us will remember this at some point down the line and we will find comfort in the knowledge that we’re not alone.

    If nothing else, I hope it puts some wind back in your sails knowing you are still managing to make your most difficult days “teachable” ones.

    Wishing you a solid rebound so you can continue to live-large!

  7. I am certain that the ones who love you are carrying your grief with you. You are loved, and you have so many supporters. May every day bring you some peace, and may you feel all the love coming towards you during your journey. You are an inspiration.

  8. Dear Phil -I fully understand the depth of what you are having to endure right now as I went through the same sad & difficult ordeal with my husband nearly 3 years ago with his stage 4 lung cancer. He did have some good days, which helped us both. I do wish you those good days too and for Janet as well. Keep the faith and God bless you. You’re truly an inspiration!

  9. Phil, you are certainly only human, as we all are. However, you should find comfort in the fact you have spent so much of your human life helping, supporting and championing others. Now, when you need others to help and support you, just remember, you would do (and have done) the very same for so many others, without an instant of hesitation. Let everyone help carry the weight of the grief a little bit. Thinking of you and your family!

  10. Phil, you are so insightful as you go through this process. We often think of the word “grief” as one reserved for those watching their loved one cope with illness. I’ve never thought of grief from the patient point of view. Thank you for showing that side of things to us.

    You are only human – don’t try to be more. I wish you the very very best in managing your diminished independence. Stay human – you are the best of us. Xo. Kelly

  11. So sorry to read all of this, Phil. You are only human. Go easy on yourself. Fuck the guilt. It’s beyond your control or responsibility. I’m sending you love, Pal. I enjoyed the time we spent together though it’s been a long while. I wish you a miracle, brother. And failing that, the peaceful and comfortable path going forward.

  12. Hi Phil I was so sorry to read this latest chapter in your journey. Sending hugs and wishing I could take a bit of your grief away for you. I know you won’t let it take hold for long and I wish you many more strong and joyful moments. My thoughts are with you and Janet and all of your family and friends. ❤️

  13. I can only offer prayers and hope. Friends and family members have made journeys similar to you. You have courage and strength on your side. Blessings to Janet for her love and support. In that you are fortunate. Wish you all the best.

  14. Phil I am overwhelmed by your ability to both share deep personal emotions and have the perspective to deal with the emotions AND deal with your reality. That may be a blessing that comes with the territory, but I am pretty sure it is based on your faith, your support and you and who you are. Thanks for showing the way with compassion for yourself and us, and with humility..

  15. Chickity rick, chickety rickety roo,
    No Big Cover is stronger than you!
    Wish we could walk the Big Cove Camp lands one more time together. Inspired by you to do better and never complain. All the best with the rest…

  16. Yeah, we’re here to listen. And we value what you share. I think grieving so openly is also a better way to deal with this than stuffing it all… as that tends to lead to deep and abject depression, a horrible pit. So stay away from that hole, you hear?
    Love you, ~Laura

  17. Dear Phil,
    You continue to always impress me with how open you are in sharing everything. Ik m here with you even from Virginia.
    It sounds super frustrating to lose such independence and its totally okay to be human and k ow how much it sucks right now. But know we are still here for you for every step, no matter how tough they are. Big hugs to you,

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