Michael’s journey with palliative care
In 1960, my father-in-law bought a piece of land on Wolf Lake with nine rental cottages. In the early 90s he sold three cottages. Then he formed a partnership with his six kids and we each got a cottage. We rented ours to other people for many years. About five years ago, we stopped renting it and now we get to enjoy it ourselves.
I ended up being sick for four or five days after my last treatment. You have to take the bad with the good. So we went to the lake house the week after chemo, because I always feel better up there.
My son, son-in-law, grandson and I went to see the new Top Gun movie. I hadn’t been to a movie in a year, and we really enjoyed it. They have reclining seats in the theater, and it feels just like you’re sitting at home in your easy chair.
This past weekend, we went to the lake house again. The weather was warm and I felt really good. I mowed the lawn on our riding mower for about 45 minutes.
When I started the chemo treatments, I didn’t think I’d be able to do anything like that again. I don’t have a lot of strength, and it was a challenge to get the mower started, but it made me feel good to be able to do something instead of watching other people do what I was able to do for forty years. We all help manage the property, and I’ve been teaching my brother-in-law how to take care of things like turning off the water in the fall and turning it on in the spring.
On Sunday, my best friend came over to help me put in the dock accessories. It was fun just being out there working. We put several baskets of flowers on the porch and dug out some hens and chicks and put them in pots. They look very pretty. We also had our first campfire, and the kids made s’mores.
Palliative care has really helped manage my pain. I figured after cutting the grass I’d have to take more pain pills, but I didn’t. That was encouraging. What I take now is a very good balance.
I’m doing exercises to try to stay in shape. I want to take my oldest daughter and grandson across the Mackinac Bridge. They’ve never done that, and I haven’t done it in years. We’ll do some sightseeing for a few days, and if I get tired, my daughter will be our driver.
This weekend is Father’s Day, and we’ll go up to the lake house again. It is tight quarters when we’re all there – Linda, our two daughters, our son and son-in-law and our grandson. I’m looking forward to cooking steak on the grill!
Chemo makes sure my cancer is not spreading and not growing anymore. But with chemo, you’re going to have some bad days, so you have to make the best of the good days, and I am enjoying this time with my family. Linda and our oldest daughter and grandson are going to a concert this week, so I am taking our youngest daughter and her husband to see Jurassic Park.