Sunday, November 15, 2009

Well Here We Are!

Top photo - Team in Training 2006 Seattle full marathon walking team; me in blue jacket on the left, coach Brent in blue the 3rd from left; my teammate Katie who I crossed the finish with to the right of Brent; Karen, Skip's daughter to the right of Katie, Skip the very tallest in the background center of photo. and our mentor Esther on the far right yellow jacket on black garbage bag for rain/snow protection
Me, Skip, and my sister Michelle at the 2008 Big Climb for Leukemia event at the Columbia Tower in Seattle; Michelle and I did the event and Skip was there to cheer us on and support us. He was so proud!

Photo right - Skip and I in Sammamish during one of our lunch meetings a couple weeks before my first brain surgery in 2007

Hello! Sorry I have been gone for so long or very sparse. When I returned home after the surgery I became very sick and my first night home, I paid a visit to the Emergency Room in a nearby town for rehydration and IV administration of my meds. It was a combination 0f things and partly just the body's reaction to such an invasive surgery and a substatial shift of the brainstem. It is not uncommon to experience a lot of nausea after such a surgery. I knew that and knew I had to go through it again. It is one of the reasons I worked so hard and actually "trained" to have a surgery. I had to make my body strong to endure the physical beating it was about to take and to tolerate it.

Once I was on the road to feeling better, I was hit with a continual episode of double vision making it extremely difficult to read, type, and use the computer. It was this week that it settled down and started to subside. Of course by then I had LOTS of other things to catch up on - one of which was writing out cards now that I can actually see what I am writing. I have had quite a bit of cleaning to catch up on as well and just when there was not already enough to do, I decided to start training to walk the Seattle half marathon at the end of the month.

No Joke! I am really going to walk 13.1 miles on the 29th and was given medical approval a week ago at my checkup in Portland. As of today, I have accomplished walking 36 miles this week in the cold 40s, rain, and dark by headlamp. 3 weeks ago I could not even stand getting out of bed! I have been blessed with a remarkably fast recovery and Thank God the horrible stuff passed quickly. There were times worse than when I endured chemo for cancer. My body hurt really bad tonight because I have been going through a steroid withdrawal now for over a week now. I am back on pain meds at night and 4 IB profen at a time. I have been between migranes, double vision, chills, and a terribly deep muscle and bone ache similiar to the pains from the chemo. I gotta get to bed here shortly because tomorrow my sister and I are going to attempt our long 12-13 mile walk. So I am hoping to be rested and ready by the morning.

What my dream is of doing here, is to take you back to the days before my surgery with photos and bring you right up to present. I want to share photos from my place of peace and serenity at the beach, the moments before surgery, ICU and the hospital, halloween, and the lovely fall colors Harley's mom and I enjoyed at the botanical park on our last day together when I was finally well enough to take her out for something fun before she left (she was here to help care for me and nurse me back to health - mission accomplished!).

Until then, I have to get some serious recovery sleep and hopefully complete our longest training day before the event in 2 weeks.

Was it planned for me to walk in the marathon so soon after surgery? Not at all. It was not even a thought in my mind.

So what happened?

A week before my surgery, I lost a very special friend to Leukemia. We had met while partcipants in the 2006 Team in Training program where we walked the Seattle marathon together. Right away we hit it off and quickly formed a very special bond. You see, not only were we both blood cancer survivors and the only ones on the entire team, but we also shared hearing loss and a life of uncertainty living with something incurable. We were very aware of our mortality, how short life is, and the desire to make the most of life and make it the best.

Our former coach, sent me an evite a few days after Skip's passing inviting me to join he and his wife in honoring the memory of our dear friend by walking the Seattle marathon and meeting at the finish. At first I was kind of bummed to not be able to participate. We were not even sure if I would make it through the surgery or what condition I would be in. I imagine many people undergoing the same surgery would not be considering doing something like this. Maybe that desire and grief is what I needed to get me through everything and was the motivation necessary to make an absolutely astounding recovery in record time.

Thanks Brent, for offering up the challenge, providing a positive and productive channel for our grief, and a most excellent way to remember and honor Skip! It is perfect and very meaningful! I am glad that I am able to partake in this with you.

Also to come, I will be telling you about my special friend, the wonderful lessons he taught me by just being himself, sharing photos, and revealing what else Harley and I are embarking on to which Skip is one of the inspirations.

Goodnight and enjoy the week ahead!

No comments: