Happy moments coexist with sad moments. Happy and sad moments are Great Moments. I am coming around to an understanding, truly understanding this, and learning to give equal amount of respect to the opposites. While listening to a podcast this morning on healing and thriving with cancer, a speaker/patient/survivor said, “Those who suffer have the wisdom. Whatever it is we are given, the friction of life will erode us to our beauty by living through it.”
Howard and I are getting a fair amount of time in the cosmic rock polishing tumbler. On the other hand, we also spend a fair amount of time living and shining. Like we did on our 4,000-mile road trip. A good friend said cancer didn’t exist on the road. And, it’s true. We continued to seek out natural food stores and restaurants. It was fun, because high quality, alive, humanely raised, organic ingredients are now our chosen lifestyle. I will not ever go back to my old ways.
Cancer didn’t exist on the road for a couple of reasons. Howard felt wonderful and full of energy. My caretaker’s calendar was empty. We had no driving to appointments for diagnostics or treatments. Instead of driving to clinics and cancer centers, our driving was from one, it can’t get more beautiful than this, place to another. Each night, I thought that if I didn’t see one more thing, it would be all right, because today’s beauty was the most beautiful. And then we went to Banff and Lake Louise. Again, I couldn’t imagine anything more beautiful. Then came Glacier National Park. Howard and I were living and shining in our tumbled, polished selves.
As you can imagine, returning from the free flow of our road trip to a calendar-driven flow was not something I looked forward to. And, truthfully, it has been one struggle after another now that we are back on the cancer climbing path.
Also in the podcast, the speaker mentioned, “To be broken doesn’t mean one should look at all things as broken”. Broken and whole coexist. Sickness and health coexist. I admit, I have been known to want to repair broken. I have been known to want to heal sickness. I think that is something I want and need to do as a caregiver. The shift for me, today, is to love the harmonious existence of these opposites. Can I get there? With the help of the rock tumbler, I believe I can and will.
Since returning from our trip, HP has been experiencing persistent colitis symptoms. He has lost some weight he didn’t have to lose. Although, I believe wholeheartedly that weight isn’t a great metric for health, it is something we pay attention to each morning. More importantly, though, are nutrients. Is his body actually absorbing the good nutrients that we so carefully shop for and prepare? We have been on a reconnaissance mission for 5 weeks with no conclusion. At first, we thought it was likely something he picked up on the road, something viral or bacterial or a parasite. We are awaiting test results.
Last week, we met with oncology to prepare for his routine OPDIVO and Zometa treatments. As we were letting her know about HP’s colitis symptoms and weight loss, she suggested that he is not ill due to viral or bacterial exposure on the road trip, but rather it is likely the OPDIVO.
You could have pushed me over with a feather. Why? Because the obvious had not occurred to me before. How did I not think of this as a possibility? My knowledge (mind) and intuition (heart) didn’t go there. That possibility was routine for them, but I processed it as awful news. And, you know me, I’m super in tune to the belief that it isn’t typically the cancer that leads to death, it is complications from the “therapies”. Back into the rock tumbler I went.
Realizing what is out of my control.
Validation of my beliefs.
Speeding ticket (38 in a 25) right outside Rocky Mountain Cancer Center while my mind was in total despair.
Now, I gladly crawl back into the tumbler. I’m still tumbling and not ready to come out yet. I suspect this one may take a little more polishing.
In the meantime, HP will receive his OPDIVO and Zometa tomorrow. Our integrative medical team (oncology, naturopathic) will be on speed dial. Oncology expects more colitis and recommends double doses of Imodium (which is fine for now), but we know that doesn’t heal his body, allowing him to absorb maximum nutrients.
Between HP, our naturopathic doctor and me, additional weight loss is not an option. It is simply not a sustainable course.
Can chemical-induced persistent colitis and high nutrient intake coexist? Only time and tumbling will tell.
To be continued.