Sunday, November 08, 2009

Weekends too short

Another busy one over with too soon, and too many of my plans unfinished... or unbegun!

On Saturday we attended an ice skating show, which was a benefit for the Scott Hamilton CARES initiative. Through CARES, many lives have been impacted positively through its 4th Angel mentoring program, which matches new cancer patients with survivors to provide information and the kind of moral support that only another cancer warrior can provide. They also fund research. Young researchers have a hard time getting funded because get funding, you have to have already gotten funding. It's kind of like the old employment conundrum - you need to have experience to be hired for the job you're applying for, but nobody will hire you to give you that experience. So CARES funds these new researchers, which gives them the credibility to successfully apply for additional grants. This is so important for all of us who are touched by cancer or who may find ourselves in that place in the future. The initiative's latest project is a new website, chemocare.com, to help patients and their loved ones through the chemo experience. What a great idea... and a resource that is definitely needed.

I have long been a fan of Scott Hamilton; my mom was a huge figure skating fan and I would watch events with her. When he was diagnosed with cancer I was really sad for him, and then really happy for him when he was declared cancer-free. I had not been to any of the previous shows, partly because I miss having my mom to share them with. But this year, it was announced that at age 51 and after over 5 years off the ice, Scott himself would be performing. So I got tickets for us and invited Jim's parents to come.

We all really enjoyed the show, even the girls, who have never really watched figure skating for any length of time. Scott did great on the ice - he did fall once but later did TWO back flips on the ice. Pretty damn good for any skater, much less someone of his age. When he spoke after the show, he talked about how he needed to get in shape to do this, as he had let himself get out of shape. He has two young sons, and he has decided to continue to work on maintaining and improving his health, and continuing to perform in the annual benefit. This was a good message for me to hear at this time. I have had in front of mind my need to get regular exercise. I really want to walk more, to the point of really getting some mileage in, and who knows, maybe someday even jogging or running. My dad would smile at that, since he was a distance runner who only took it up in his 40s because a coworker invited him to join a lunchtime running group at work. So I seriously need to make the time for some walking. I should be able to get in three weeks' worth before my possible return to Columbus; if I have to take a break from it for more IL-2, all the better; if not, then I will be getting in shape for whatever systemic therapy is next for me. I want to be the healthiest cancer patient I can be, so I need to cut out the excuses and get my butt moving.

So that was Saturday, enjoyable and inspirational. On our way out of the arena, I ran into my friend Deb and her family. I believe I have mentioned her here before... she was my supervisor for two periods of time, and has been a wonderful friend and mentor over the past almost 20 years. She is currently on long term leave from work because the breast cancer that invaded her brain two years ago is still growing, despite gamma knife surgery and two neurosurgeries, as well as radiation treatments and a brief time on a chemo trial that didn't help her and made her too sick to continue. The cancer has now spread to her abdomen and her husband told me this week that she has something in her arm that they will radiate. She was at the show on Saturday, even though in a wheelchair, with sunglasses on since her vision has been severely compromised by the brain tumor. But she gave me a big kiss and pronounced me 'fantastic' when I came up to see her. I am so sad for her and her family, and so very angry that this monstrous disease is taking her away from us. She is one of the very best people I have ever met, and she had a lot of life left to enjoy... having that cruelly taken away is beyond unfair. So for Deb I need to work harder on making myself as healthy and fit as possible, too. She has always been an inspiration to me, and I want to be worthy of her praise of me.

Today (Sunday) our little family took on a secret assignment, doing something I can't talk about now but will be able to by the end of the year. It's nothing huge or momentous, just something that I have wanted us to do for a while and finally got it going. We also did some errands and got home in the later part of the afternoon. I was determined to get the front flower bed cleaned out, and annuals pulled, while it was nice weather. And it was soooo nice today, temps near 70... I worked outside in walking shorts. The girls came out with me and were a big help - while I raked leaves, they pulled the dead flowers and Rebecca clipped the dead blossoms off our hydrangea. We then cleared leaves off our deck and I was able to get the cover on our patio set for the winter, all tied down and hopefully secure for the season. It was a great feeling to get it all done, but man I was tired afterward. Either I am really out of shape (yes!) or I am not yet at 100% recovery from the last IL-2 and resulting hyperthyroid episode... or perhaps a combination of the two. But no matter, it's a good kind of tired and the girls and I had fun while we worked.

Now it's time to start another week of work and obligations, then next week I'm off to Columbus to be radiated and magnetized, with the big reveal soon to follow... response to the IL-2. I want to know NOW so I can know what December will look like for me and the family. But I want my immune system to continue to do its magic if indeed that is what's happening, so I can wait another week so that we give it optimal time to work. I feel hopeful, but I know that statistics aren't in my favor, so I will be okay if I don't get good news. There are fortunately some choices now for a next step, something that couldn't be said just five or so years ago for RCC. But with a bit of luck, maybe I won't need to make any of those choices.

1 comment:

Deborah said...

I continue to be amazed that you can write these beautiful descriptions of where you are.

I like walking myself. As the weather gets worse you might consider finding a place that has an indoor track, since treacherous footing, cold, nasty weather, etc. can make a winter walk very unenticing.