It’s been hard to think of something to write in this update since “Things continue to go well, still no nausea, appetite and energy levels remain good” is boring. So I thought I’d share some of the knitting that I’ve been doing and a few of the amazing cards, gifts and food that people continue to send my way….
I think I’ve mentioned this before but it deserves repeating; people are amazingly generous! My heart is so full from the cards, thoughtful gifts and check-in with photos from ski tours, hilarious kid/dog stories. I recognize how privileged I am to be so supported and as a result have so few stressors in my life. I’m sure this contributes to me being able to maintain a positive mental attitude. I often ponder how much harder this path would be if I was parenting little kids, wondering if I had enough money to get me through, having to do my own cooking and shopping on a limited budget, didn’t have enough money to buy supplements (about $500/month), support my knitting habit, go to an RMT and have a supportive naturopath.
Walking and hiking in the woods continues to be really important to my mental health. Having Natasha here for a few days made those daily walks a little bit easier….just having her around for a few days is so good for my soul. I’m pretty much totally bald now, just a bunch of wispy bits that make me look like a cactus. The day after I finally scrubbed off the scruffy bits I wasn’t quite sure how I was feeling about it (bald pic coming once I get used to it…..) Out of the blue a friend reached out to ask if I wanted to go for a hike and I jumped on it. Spending a few hours in the woods in the snow (bonus!) with my SAR ladies and our dogs made me feel like life was pretty normal actually, just need to get through this cancer chapter. Just being in touch with many members of my SAR family has been so good at normalizing my life. Loving hearing about tasks, being involved in online training and just knowing they’re out there is so great.
I’ve had several people hint that I’m sugar-coating my posts or on how I communicate how I’m feeling (“You say you’re doing great….but really how are you REALLY doing?”). This has made me really think hard about whether I am. Andy brought up the “Observer Effect” that’s commonly applied in the field of biology. It says that the act of observing will influence the phenomenon being observed. We all know that our interpretation of the world is coloured by the lens through which we’re viewing it through. So am I in denial that it’s not going as well as I think it is…… and does that even matter? I firmly believe that maintaining an empowered mental attitude is positively impacting my physical experience.
Another thing I get asked is if I have any insight on things that I’ll change once this is all over and I’ve come up with nothing other than eating better and going back to maintaining a daily meditation practice, something I used to do but have dropped in the last decade. The hardest part for me so far has been missing responding to SAR tasks, not being able to patrol, not being able to ski tour or ride my bikes (lower immunity/platelets means I bruise easy and need to be wary of hurting myself), and honestly, not being involved in my Ecofish projects! So either this means that I’m looking at my life through rose-coloured glasses, or I’m pretty happy with what my life already was before this cancer chapter.
Had chemo #4 yesterday which means that there’s only eight weeks left for chemo!!! I don’t think it in terms of “half way there” though, focusing on looking forward only. My friend Kim (a beast cyclist, bad ass lawyer, all round Type A queen) who I have a ton of respect for mentioned that this was like a cycling training program, then Jen (dog trainer extraordinaire) likened it to dog training . So this is how I’ve started looking at the whole process – 8 weeks until last chemo, 3-4 weeks recovery from surgery, 16-28 days of radiation. I realized that breaking things down into manageable pieces is how I got through my paramedic program and Rory through multiple validations so it feels familiar and do-able. I’ll be back on skis and responding to SAR tasks in no time!