Today marks three weeks since the big surgery. It has been quite the whirlwind. I’m not sure I really knew what to expect with regard to recovery and it has certainly taken me on quite the emotional journey.
AM I DEPRESSED
As you all know I have taken on cancer as the mortal enemy and will not stop until the doctors tell me I am in remission and then I may not stop because cancer changes you. I don’t think cancer ever truly goes away even when you are told you are in remission. After coming home from the hospital I literally just collapsed onto the couch, turned off the electronics and became a bit of a hermit. All things not very like me. For the first couple of days I thought well I’m just recovering and need some downtime but then the first couple of days went into the next week and I began to think is there something wrong with me? Why am I not motivated to get outside and walk? Why am I not motivated to answer the phone? Return emails? Have lots of visitors? Jon definitely thought I had finally lost it. But Monday while meeting with Sarah I realized, no, I am not depressed, I am just healing. It was the first time I had put everything else aside and decided it was time for me to rest. For me this was a weird concept. I’m so used to getting to that next step as quickly as possible that I haven’t given myself the time to just completely download and take it all in which is what I have been doing since coming home from the hospital. I’m so glad that I allowed myself this time to just be. I mean really how often do any of us give that gift to ourselves. If you can’t do it when recovering from major surgery and battling for the past ten months then when can you do it?
Anda picked me up at 5:30 am on October 11th and we headed down to meet with Dr. Genyk for my post-op appointment. The 8am appointment was great. The waiting room was almost empty and I think we were the first to be seen by the doctor. We were in and out in record time. Dr. Genyk confirmed it was a successful surgery and he believes they got it all. So amazing!! Although I love Dr. Genyk, hopefully I won’t be seeing him ever again. He took off the steri strips and checked out the healing of the incision. All looked good. There was one little area that was still oozing a bit but he wasn’t worried. No indication of infection and he was happy with my progress. I almost got out of there without the dreaded “Can she paddle question?” but Anda just had to bring it up as we were wrapping up. Dr. Genyk’s immediate response was No and Anda quickly documented on Evernote: “Drs orders no paddling.” I was pretty disappointed because really I was only planning to paddle if there was a beautiful glassy moment but with mention of the potential for a fall he said it was just to dangerous given I have no core muscles at this point and the potential for a tear or issue with the incision was just to high with paddling. So although I am still having conflicted thoughts and feelings about it I will most likely be obeying doctors orders. It’s funny because everyone I have told says to me something like oh thank god the doctor said no. Maybe if I had another week or two things would be different but it is what it is and the weekend is going to be amazing with or without paddling.
FRIENDSHIP PADDLE AND PEDAL
All is not lost. I may not be able to paddle but I’m still heading out to the islands Friday morning and Saturday will be cheering on all 180 plus paddlers as they cross the channel. I can’t believe the paddle and pedal is this weekend. It seemed like such a distant thought and now we will be heading out in less than 36 hours. I am told they are looking for volunteers so if you are looking for something amazing to participate in on Saturday let me know and I will direct you to those in charge. The landing will be at the beach by the Santa Barbara Yacht Club anywhere from 3:00 to 4:30. You are not going to want to miss the landing. It is a pretty powerful moment.
I can’t thank the Friendship Paddle enough for organizing this event and taking our family under their wings. Thank you Linda for organizing all the beneficiary teams and coordinating with Friendship Paddle. Thank you April and Alan for finding us so many amazing boats. Thank you to all the paddlers who have been training, fundraising and supporting our family. You are all truly a gift.
Thank you Ginny Miller for organizing the pedal and Mike Meyer for mapping out the course and those awesome TSFC stickers.
Thank you to all the families and friends who are helping to make this event so special.
ANOTHER STEP CLOSER TO THE TOP
It’s been interesting for me to process the news that the doctors believe they got it all. On the one hand my brain is celebrating and is super excited to receive the news. On the other hand my brain is telling me to slow down and it’s not time to pop the Dom just yet. I know I’m looking at another chemo regime, what that entails is not clear just yet but I’ve been told it can run anywhere from 3 months to years. I know, crazy, that the span is so big but doctors really just don’t know what the best course of action is for someone in my position. I of course want to do whatever is going to take me to the place of full remission but I also know that my hands and feet won’t be able to handle years more of chemo at least at my current level. I haven’t been on chemo in over a month and the side effects to my hands and feet are still in full swing. I will be meeting with Dr. Lenz down at USC and Dr. Wolliver at the Cancer Center to come up with the plan for the next phase of chemo. I think a lot will be determined by my numbers and also my next CT scan which should be done in about a month. Whatever the decision I plan on continuing with my alternative therapies and sticking to pretty much a plant based clean diet beyond the completion of chemo. I’ve talked about making it to the top of the mountain and I believe I am 3/4 of the way there and entering the final stretch. I can’t wait to hit the peak and take in all the beautiful views while screaming at the top of my lungs, “I AM A SURVIVOR!”
I’m going to leave you with this poem because I know we all at some time or another need a little push to not give up and not quit. It may not be a battle with cancer but there are so many things in life that throw a kink in our plans and we just can’t quit.
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow–
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out–
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit–
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.
– Author unknown
Hugs and Kisses,