This morning I refreshed our altar. It is composed of:
- yellow flowers anonymously dropped off on my front porch the other day (thank you to whomever!)
- A bouquet of herbs from around the property – thyme, dill, oregano, and rosemary
- A rock shaped like a heart from Lake Huron
- A hobbity box from Australia made from old fence posts at a winery
- An art piece with the image of Mary from Sedona Arizona
- An Australian Aboriginal bowl
- Two glass ornaments Jenn and I made each other
- A bluejay feather
- A petoskey
- A weeping Buddha
- A Buddha relief gifted to us
- And Quan Yin Card – Let it Go
It has been four and a half weeks since my surgery. I am feeling good in my healing. My energy is coming back. My incision is almost totally healed and we are figuring out the Ostomy bag so that I am getting three days of wear instead of 12-24 hours before I would have a blow out. I am getting out of the house more although still not a lot outside of running errands. I feel I am starting to attempt to prepare for starting chemo with out negativity or foreboding. This morning I made the appointment to start my infusions on Tuesday August 21st. That is less than two weeks from today.
This fall our son is starting his senior year of high school and our daughter is starting her freshman year. Our daughter applied to two high schools. One was a early college program and the other was a public high school which she would attend with school of choice. She got into both. The early college registration was done early last spring. We started registration to the public school she was going to attend on June 20th but that ball was dropped when I unexpectedly went into the hospital July 5th. Last Wednesday, August 1t, she had decided to attend the public school. This past Monday evening, August 6th, we heard from our daughters friend that this Wednesday was volleyball tryouts. All of a sudden it as a mad dash to finish registering her that high school, get all the forms in and her sports physical so she could try out. We got it all in just by the skin of our teeth. She had her first day of trust outs yesterday and it went well. I am very excited for her to start this new journey. The lesson here is to remember all the cogs that keep spinning regardless of what I have going on. 🙂
Along this journey I am looking for and finding all the gifts hidden in this chain of events. One obvious gift is that my cancer was caught before it was stage 4 and incurable. At my oncology meeting when they reviewed my report I found out that I was advanced stage three. The cancer had grown through the colon wall, surrounding tissues, lymph nodes and through the visceral peritoneum. That was scary to hear but also such a wave of relief and a blessing. I thank my body for the blockage and the pain that took me into the hospital. I see my surgery scar, which runs from my pubic bone up through my belly button, as a sign of life – my life was given an extension. Its kind of a gnarly crazy scar on top of my stretch marks that gives it a bit of a drapery look – but it is my gift of life in so many ways.
Another hidden gift is that when I was in surgery my wife made the decision to cancel our family trip with the kids to Ohiopyle, PA. I was bummed about this since we also missed my family vacation to Port Huron in July because I was still in the hospital and just getting home. Luckily my kids were still ale to go. We were scheduled to leave for our Ohiopyle trip yesterday. We realized this week that if we did not cancel the trip early we would have had to decide if Ella skip volleyball tryouts or we cancel our trip last minute and we would be out a lot of money. It worked out perfectly in that Ella was able to try out for volleyball and have a good start to her freshman year.
Regarding my work I have been trying to pay attention to what the universe is trying to tell me. Before my hospital visit I was working a lot with my new business, Tidy Hen – a professional organizing business, and volunteering for a new non-profit, and the Michigan Prison Doula Initiative, of which I am hoping to be the doula program coordinator and one of the birth doulas. After much thought my wife and I decided that it would be not the best idea for me to be continuing my work with Tidy Hen while ai am going through chemo. That was a difficult decision to make as I just started this business, it was going very well and I really loved the work I was doing. I have to remember I will come back to it when I am through this process. One gift found in this was that I have more time for my kids in this big year for both of them – new high school for one and seeking out colleges for the other. Another gift is that I have more time to focus on the Michigan Prison Doula Initiative (MPDI) which is awesome. There is so much to do and so much to get ready for. This work is perfect as I can do the computer work from wherever and at the times that I am feeling good. This is such amazing work that I appreciate the forced slowing down and busy life culling so I can do a really great job and not be stretched too thin.
I keep reminding myself that the only thing I can control is my attitude. Today a friend texted my that I am a gladiator and that she is a gladiator. We are all working through our own shit and we are all gladiators of our own hurdles. I am amazing. I am strong. I am open to all I have to receive and learn through this process. I am alive and have an new opportunity to live a long time. I am starting to shed tears about how close I got to that possibly not being in my cards. I am not sure if they are tears of fear that I got that close, tears of WTF?!, tears of shock, I am hoping they are just tears of joy but in reality they are probably tears of all the above.
All of this is a gift and I am so blessed and lucky.