Thanksgiving is just around the corner and has me thinking about what I am thankful and grateful for this year. I would have to say that I am thankful for this year being almost over and grateful for finding the strength to get through it. Often, people ask me how I was able to handle all of the stress that I experienced and how I remained so strong. The secret to my sanity success was running, exercise and my friends.
I don’t know how I could have gotten through what I did without exercise and a good support structure from my friends. The positive effects of running kept me balanced with my two feet on the ground. I must admit that there were days that my outer shell almost cracked; but, somewhere somehow I managed to muster up the energy to keep it all together. That is where my good friends came in. There are no words to describe my gratitude for all that they did for me and Tim when my life started to erupt.
My friends Adrienne, Linh, & Rob rearranged their entire life and work schedule with their businesses, family and children to be with me for two weeks in Baltimore when I felt my life as I knew it was falling apart. Thanks you guys from the bottom of my heart if you are reading this blog post. I will never forget what you did.
Let’s take a brief lookey at the calendar of 2011 so I can give you an understanding of why I can’t wait til 2011 is history.
January- last call for alcohol- This is the first month that I knew Tim’s health was worsening. How? He decided to eliminate beer and wine completely from his diet. Not that he is a heavy or regular drinker by any means; but he loved his occasional beer and wine refreshment on the weekends with dinner. Just an observation that something was just not right.
February- skinny minny- It started to become obvious that Tim’s weight loss was becoming more of concern and was not a result of regular exercise anymore. This is the month we started to replace his entire wardrobe because even the best belt in the world could not have kept his pants from falling down. Trust me, this is not the way you want to lose weight.
March-non intentional cleanse- March was the month that Tim was urgently admitted to a Syracuse hospital for some critical findings on a follow-up CT scan. A week-long admission with a nasogastric tube inserted from his nose to stomach to suction out all the food and fluids out of his stomach. Oh, did I mention more weight loss from not being allowed to eat or drink anything for 10 straight days.
April- devastation- This is the month from hell. A 6 plus hour-long whipple surgical operation and devastating diagnosis in a city 5 hours away from home. My whole life felt like it was uprooted and falling apart this month when all of this was going on.
May- turbulence-Relocate to Baltimore, MD mid month for that start of a 6 week clinical trial at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Lose my job as a result of wanting to be with the love of my life during all of this.
June- Charm City & some fun- Despite all the treatment Tim was going through, we did manage to have some fun in Baltimore. Several road races, U2, Florence & The Machine, Matt & Kim concert, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Inner Harbor, and awesome restaurants all within walking distance from our temporary apartment in Federal Hill-Did I ever tell you that I love the pedestrian lifestyle.
July-breathe & recuperate & false accusation- back home with no place to go Monday through Friday. Trying to digest all that just happened in the months prior and gearing up for the next stage of treatment in the upcoming months. To top all that, I learned that this lady I worked with falsely accused me of messing up her social security benefits by doing my job and reporting her income earned to the IRS. Like I had any power to remove or alter those income numbers from her W-2. Give me a break-that’s illegal! It was the most ridiculous made up story that I had ever heard in my entire life. I truly do not know how this woman can live with herself.
August-roadtrip & no swimming-Road trip to Baltimore to finalize the details for Part II of the post surgical treatment plan. Infusion chemotherapy started and on week number 3, Tim was told that he basically did not have any white blood cells left as a side effect from the chemotherapy. He was told to avoid sick people and not to swim in open water to prevent exposure to harmful bacteria and germs that could cause an infection and send him directly to the emergency room.
September, October & November-ups & downs & road trips-These three months were dedicated to the last three cycles of weekly infusion chemotherapy and monthly road trips to Baltimore for check ups. Crowded places were out of the question on the weeks his white blood counts hit the tank for fear of serious infection. It was wiser to keep away from public places and avoid all human contact with sick people. I am happy to say that Tim’s final infusion of his last cycle is scheduled for this week.
December-reprieve-December is the month that I am going to dedicate to relaxation. No holiday hoopla or hustle and bustle whatsoever. Just the two of us!
There was so much more to all of those months but I wanted to highlight the events that were somewhat trying for me.
I must admit that the number one thing I am most thankful for this year is for having a courageous husband who took all of this physical and emotional trauma and toxic medication first hand to fight back and win the battle of this disease. My husband, my hero, my life….