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The Roller coaster

on August 28th, 2017 by Rebeccca

I never did like roller coasters. Paying to be scared out of my wits. I prefer slow, thoughtful, cautious movements through space and time. But now (how did this happen anyway??) we are thrown onto this ride, supposedly near its end.

Galen has referred to his pain and nausea as a roller coaster. For two months he has been struggling with the pain in his guts. Changing diets – thinking it must be irritable bowel syndrome and going on the IBS diet. He would walk the streets of Rosthern at night when he couldn’t sleep for the pain. Little did we know it was cancer gnawing at his belly.

And then there is the roller coaster ride of emotions: denial, fear, anger, and sometimes peace.

For the last couple days he has been back on the pain and nausea roller coaster. The magical drug that makes him feel so good is also hard on the stomach lining. So now they are trying to control the ulcer. I have a hard time keeping track of the cocktail of drugs that are injected and swallowed.

Tomorrow morning we meet with another oncologist to get a second opinion. A good friend will be there with us to take notes so that afterwards we can remember what all the doctor said. We didn’t like the first diagnosis: no treatment recommended. A couple of months. . . But Galen also doesn’t want to go through brutal treatment, just to gain a few months and then be back going through this same pain again.

We’ve been here at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon for over a week now. Being here has been a shock to me – who knew there were so many horrid ways to die. I happened to run into a friend here today. She had been visiting a young mother (well, maybe not so young – she has teenage children) who also has a terminal cancer diagnosis. I can’t imagine the pain that family is experiencing. Then there is the woman in the bed across the aisle from Galen. 67 years old. Her sister also has cancer. And their 90-year-old mother is grieving for both of them.

So tomorrow we may see more clearly what turns and dips are left on our roller coaster ride. In the meantime, Galen is planning his next lathe project, saving IV tubing and syringes as they might come in handy, and trying to figure out how he’s going to build the milling machine to go with his lathe.

| Posted in Galen

26 Responses to “The Roller coaster”

  1. Carrie & Ron McDonald
    August 28th, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    We continue to think of you through this most difficult, agonizing time.

  2. Linda Swab
    August 28th, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    I am sorry to hear of Galen’s struggles and you of course are struggling right along with him. I think the friend taking notes is an excellent idea. One never catches and remembers it all afterward. Your last paragraph about Galen planning his next project is very hopeful and precious.

  3. Lina
    August 28th, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    Looking forward to seeing that milling machine!

  4. deb and jim
    August 28th, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    Here’s hoping tomorrow’s oncologist has some great new treatment to try. Galen has so many projects left to pursue.

  5. Doris Peters
    August 28th, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    Hi Rebecca and Galen. My husband, Ron, had a short, intense journey with pancreatic cancer 4 and 1/2 years ago. Occasionally, the drugs needed to keep him relatively pain-free would take him to a hazy,happier place where he could measure 2 x 4′s and plan where the next wall of something should go. I was touched to hear that Galen is still able to contemplate the potential usefulness of IV tubing and syringes!

  6. Irene Lautner
    August 28th, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    Can’t stop thinking of the torment you are both going through.Of coarse we are still hoping for better news tomorrow. Galen planning his next lathe project? My word! You are both amazing people. Sending you loads of Love and good wishes. Irene

  7. Glen & Sandra
    August 28th, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    Back from Edmonton. We’ve been thinking of you a lot. I plan to drop in tomorrow afternoon to see you both. Sandra is making cookies for all, which seems perfect somehow. Anything I can bring?

  8. Denise
    August 28th, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    Thinking of you on the roller coaster…praying and wishing for a smoother ride.
    And it so Galen to be thinking of creative uses for items around him.

  9. admin
    August 28th, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    Your smile and wit.

  10. April Hampton
    August 28th, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    I hate roller coasters….thinking of ypu both every day.

  11. Twila kauffman
    August 28th, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    Would you be up for a short visit if we can get up there soon? Would love to see you both.

  12. Linda Rudachyk
    August 28th, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    Why does a kind, humble man have to suffer this way!
    We are looking at your house and praying for both of you!

    Greg, Linda and Cassie

  13. Patty Friesen
    August 28th, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    Rebecca – I appreciate that you are observing and reflecting on this experience with a writer’s heart, even as you both are trying to keep your heads above water. Deeply touching and I have to believe your experience with cancer will help someone wade through theirs.

  14. Cindy Mullet
    August 28th, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around this, can’t imagine what it must be like for the two of you. Do hope Galen is able to do his next project!

  15. Shan Kerber
    August 28th, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    Hope tomorrow’s visit with the oncologist gets you both off the roller coaster. Ever the innovator – good for Galen for finding ways to use IV tubing.

  16. Linda & Davyd
    August 28th, 2017 at 9:38 pm

    We are thinking of you both. We are too far away to offer practical and tangible help, so we are sending super positive west coast vibes.

  17. Patricia Martin
    August 28th, 2017 at 10:39 pm

    Rebecca we feel we are all on your ride with you- pushing uphill and applying the brakes on the dips! Your gift with language keeps it all so real for us on the periphery, keep writing, we want to help you both know you are not alone down there in Saskatoon,
    John and Pat xxx

  18. Linda Emmert
    August 28th, 2017 at 11:31 pm

    All I can say is, ‘keep thinking and planning for that next project, Galen!’
    Blessings tomorrow! (and tonite) but as you see the next Dr!!
    Hold on tight!!

  19. Hodgies
    August 29th, 2017 at 2:09 am

    Wow a milling machine! We just put one in here at the Australian Institute of Sport where I work. Quite the bit of gear. We actually had to build a new room to house ours so $0.5m later we nearly have it up and running… Apparently it will be able to make a rowing seat for athletes which is perfectly matched to the rowers backside in a few hours! When you get yours going see if you can make a seat for your bobsled and you and Becky can zip down the bobsled run… oh yeah I forgot, no roller coasters! Keep smiling. Dave

  20. Jeanne
    August 29th, 2017 at 7:35 am

    Feeling or you and praying for light at the end of this dark tunnel.

  21. Karen
    August 29th, 2017 at 8:37 am

    Praying for you both. So good to have someone with you so nothing gets missed. I hate roller coasters also!

  22. Doug Findlay
    August 29th, 2017 at 9:03 am

    Hope you are feeling OK this morning Galen. I found 2 jacks for your trailer. They both have a 3/4 nut drive on them. Let me know when I can get them to you. Doug and Elaine

  23. Jean Terlesky
    August 29th, 2017 at 9:55 am

    Dear Galen, Thinking of you – your creative, caring hands, kind eyes, generous and mischievous smile…sending much love.

    Rebecca; standing in solidarity with the multitude that support you and Galen…sending much love.


  24. Wendell Mullet
    August 29th, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    Planning the next project. Awesome! Why not?
    Carry on!

  25. Mavis
    August 29th, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    Cancer is not something I’d wish on my worst enemy, it is hard on the patient and their loved ones. Know that we are thinking of you daily and are available to help out in any way. We will be gone for a week but will be in touch when we get back. Hugs to you both!
    Alan and Mavis

  26. Fay Brewer
    September 21st, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    So sorry Becky. Galen was one great man. He will long be remembered by many. God Bless.

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