It has been 9 months since my last post and so many things have changed, suffice to say, I am loving life! I have had a couple health scares, required some biopsies and some in-depth testing, but as of December 2018, I am still NEAD (No Evidence of Active Disease).
What does that mean to me? Simply put, it is surreal when I look back on my grueling journey with the Beast. Yes, I respect cancer and it “deserves” to be capitalized and italicized; it really is a most formidable opponent.
I have had a fabulous last nine months and much thanks is actually due to my diagnosis, had it not been for that I would likely still be living my life in the passenger seat, waiting to drive.
Jody and I traveled this past year, a lot! He took me home with him to Holland and we spent two glorious weeks with family and friends. I learned a few Dutch words, just enough to make the locals laugh, cacao (sounds like, “ka cow”) was a favorite (means cocoa in English) – it was just fun to say. The other fun words all sounded like I had too much phlegm in my throat; Scheveningen was a lot of fun to try to say as was the proper pronunciation for Gouda cheese. Oh yah, we also went to Paris for a couple days while we were over there. Yes, it was lovely, but can I just tell you how beautiful Holland is…!
I also attended a camp in Colorado for adult cancer survivors/thrivers, called Epic Experience. If you or anyone you know needs to re-define how to live life beyond cancer, check this place out. I really cannot say enough positive about it.
Mom joined Jody and I for our next adventure, up to Juneau to visit my eldest son. It was such an enchanting place, like nothing else I have experienced. There is a glacier at the edge of town and more bald eagles than you can count. In all seriousness, we could likely spot 20 eagles at any given time and their white heads looked like golf balls teed up on the branches of the pine trees. (Gross fact, the locals call them trash birds due to the fact that they are known for eating/carrying off dirty diapers from the landfill….). So much for majestically beautiful birds!
We finished our travel year in Yellowstone where I fed five baby bear cubs with a bottle! Yes, there were moose and bison and dear and geysers and steam pots to see, but those bears! Absolutely adorable and cuddly – I wanted to take one home. I will surely be back again another time to feed more. (Check out Bear World in Rexburg, Idaho.)
Through all of this living I found myself being drawn to writing. I initially took my journal and turned it into a manuscript; more like a vent and vomit my feelings about my cancer journey is a better way to describe it. It will likely never see its way off the floor of my office, and that’s okay. Because what happened from purging all that out of me was the ability to step back, look at my journey more objectively and get out of self with my writing.
I have finished a book that’s working title is Voices of Cancer – What it is really like, What we really need. It is a culmination of voices of many cancer patients that I know and I have talked with regarding their thoughts, feelings, fears and hopes. It discusses what we really need from our supporters and what is really just annoying. It covers the good the bad and the really awful about cancer as well as the beauty that is found with the clarity and perspective change that comes from a life-threatening diagnosis – the cancer shift. This manuscript is complete and has been through editing and is waiting for a publisher to give me its blessing.
I then took the same premise and wrote a manuscript from the voices in the LGBTQ community; their thoughts, hopes, fears. What it’s like to be in their shoes in an unaccepting world. It was heartbreaking and infuriating to learn about how this marginalized group of people are treated, what they go through and what they face. I grew so much personally through my interaction with these people who walk a different walk than I. This manuscript, whose working title is Rainbow Road – Voices of LGBTQ+, is currently being edited.
Life is good, it is so good and I am happy, content and currently remain healthy – it really doesn’t get much better.
As always, I thank you all for your continual kind words of encouragement, your unwavering support and appreciate you asking the tough questions when you see me; it’s okay – you can ask. Right now, I’m doing great!