It’s been just a little more than three weeks since I woke up in Mayo clinic in my hospital bed. Yes, they used the ‘Free Willy’ method to move me from the surgery bed to my recovery bed.
In the big picture, life has gone back to normal. There are still a few loose ends to tie up – my guest bed is covered in bags of medical supplies I have yet to donate, my medical shelving still standing in the corner. Bills in the mail, and monthly visits to the hospital for my port flushes. This blog.
I’m considering rebuilding my standing desk at work. I can eat fresh produce again. I’m still three weeks away before I can re-start my ‘heavy lifting’ at the gym. I did run for the first time in eight months this week.
My feet felt like cement. I don’t know if it was because my leg muscles have become so stagnant, or if it’s because I still don’t have much feeling in my feet from my last chemo round. Either way, it’s just one more baby step to get me back on route for the five mile runs I hope to be back to by summer.
My rock-climbing trip with other young adult cancer survivors has been postponed until September in hopes my physical ability and sensations will return to my normal state.
It’s a little late to be writing about this now, but I spent a lot of time on my way back to Rochester thinking about all the people who helped me get there.
Those who were there emotionally, going to doctor and chemotherapy appointments. Checking in and taking care of me in the days that followed. The ones I could be completely honest with about what was happening. The ones that could make jokes about the situation and make me laugh when I was in lockdown. The ones I called crying when I felt there was no way I would get through this.
Those who were there financially. Every dollar raised has helped pay for deductibles, medical supplies, transportation up to Rochester, and hotel rooms for me and my parents to stay in while I recovered.
There were even the ones who supported my physically, by encouraging me to get up and walk when I was recovering. The ones who carried heavy things for me when I was under restriction. The ones who took care of my chores when I wasn’t around to do them myself. The ones who taught me to still love my body when I cringed at being touched.
The best thing about road trips is the ability to let your mind get lost in your own thoughts. There is nothing that needs to be done, but sit and reflect. As bad as 2013 was, I can’t say it was the worst. I felt more loved, more connected, and more like an adult than I have in a very long time. Being able to appreciate and have those feelings is something I would never trade.
I’ve thought a lot about all the people who had reached out and touched me since last May. Some I don’t even talk with, but have lent a hand, heart, or dollar to help along the way. Cancer doesn’t affect one person. It doesn’t even affect the people closest to that person. It affects coworkers, family’s coworkers, parents of friends, friends of friends… the web extends on.
I genuinely want to say thank you to each and every person who did something for me. I wouldn’t know where to start to make sure I reached every person, but know I think of you often. Thank you, everyone.
So, until the next crisis (hopefully not for some time), I’m signing off to go live life like I’m dying. I encourage you all to do the same.