Counting our blessings


With a little help from our friends...

I wrote an update last night. It started like this….

I seem to spend my days complaining. Like a child, I get upset when I don’t get what I want. I am in a world where everything and every one is a battle.

This week has been a week of digging deep and trying to hold my shit together through exhaustion, pain and sheer frustration.

You see, here I am again, complaining…..’

….and then I went on to describe the frustrations, events and pain of the current week, and there I was…complaining again!!!!!!!!

Luckily, I didn’t post it. It is not necessary.

Because, yes, it has been a tough week but it has also been an excellent week!

After coming home from hospital on Sunday, Linda has progressed in leaps and bounds! She still has some issues, mainly with speech aphasia but she is getting better and some rehab work will help her. Physically she’s doing great and just needs to regain some strength in her right arm.

My wonderful eldest daughter Nikki and husband Louis braved the journey and arrived here in Panama City Beach from the UK. What an uplifter! These two have been amazing and apart from being great company, they have lifted us out of our daily grind and stress. It has been like a breath of fresh air and we are so glad they are here, enjoying themselves, getting some well needed sun and having a relaxing time!

They didn’t bring the rain, they brought sunshine and warmth. How long they may end up staying, who knows…as the world goes into lock down…but they aren’t too bothered. If you have to get stuck anywhere, Panama City Beach is not a bad place to be stuck in!

As for me, I’m not going to describe my week. However, I can say that finally progress is being made towards getting my treatment.

Of Teeth, Tubes and Ports….

I need radiation therapy and chemotherapy. There are certain prerequisites that need to be I place before the treatment can begin.


Teeth don’t fare well in radiation therapy. Any suspect, damaged, dead, broken teeth have to be removed. Radiation therapy weakens jaw bones and the risk of infection is high. The only safe answer is to get them taken out. Dental procedures, though possible once treatment begins, are not desirable.

Getting teeth removed is not quite so simple as it used to be. These days it required the services of a dental surgeon and in this area, there are only two of them. Solidly booked!

With Linda at home recovering, a good friend, Steve Jackson kindly took most of a day on Monday to deliver me to and return me from getting teeth removed some 50 miles away in Miramar Beach. I had a bunch of mainly back teeth, that needed to be removed. It wasn’t a pleasant day.

But it is done!

I need a feeding tube fitted as well as a life port to take the chemo treatment. The process to get this done starts next week and so does radiation treatment planning.


I hope that in the next couple of weeks treatment should begin and I can start concentrating on the future rather than drowning in frustration.

Progress indeed!

Linda and myself are so lucky to have family and people who care about us. Family and others who have gone out of their way to help us. We have also had the good fortune to come through this, strengthened if anything by the love we feel for each other.

As I said to Linda today, we are the A team!

This weekend will give us time to rest and relax. No doctors!!!!!!!! No appointments!!!!!

Sometimes things can spin out of control and it is difficult to see a way though it all. That was certainly the case earlier this week. But now the spin has stopped, we can see a way forward. Our clarity has been helped enormously by the arrival of Nikki and Louis as they have forced us to emerge from our sad little lives and given us the chance to think and talk about things unrelated to our problems.

We are blessed indeed.

So, the plan for next week is…no bitching, complaining, moaning or whinging. No meltdowns, no outbursts, no tears. Just progress, solid progress and I think we can do that!

to be continued


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  1. Graeme on March 14, 2020 at 2:26 am

    Craig, you are sounding more upbeat and it is great that Nikki and Louis have been able to make the trip to be there with you and Linda; children can make you feel blessed and give a warm feeling in your heart, I am Glad Linda is on the mend , that will be a great weight off your mind and allow you to focus on you
    You hang in there and remember that a bit of bitching, complaining and meltdowns are needed from time to time to keep your sanity. Thinks of you all . G

    • craig on March 14, 2020 at 5:09 am

      Thanks Graeme. ‘A warm feeling in your heart’ – I like that. It is true!

  2. valerie wagley on March 14, 2020 at 9:21 am

    Loving family and friends,
    a beautiful harvest from the depths of an illness.
    Your story keeps inspiring many people.

  3. Linda Merrill on March 14, 2020 at 11:49 am

    how very wonderful that your kids are with you. Also delighted to hear of Linda’s progress and yours as well. Having the port will make it so much easier for the chemo. My husband had a pik line at first and it was really troublesome. Then he got a port and that worked out well. I hope you do have a re-energizing week. Hugs to all Linda