Moving on

I recall that, in reading the blogs of other cancer patients/survivors, it is quite common that the frequency of posts begins to go down after their treatment ends.  I guess this is a phenomena that should be expected, as the focus begins to shift from daily attention to the details of doctor visits and treatment routines, to a less consuming emphasis on getting back into a life cycle that does not center on cancer.  I now find that it is possible to go an entire day, or even two, without even thinking about cancer, or at least not more than a passing thought.  Six months ago that would have been inconceivable.  As a result my mind does not tend to settle on subjects like 'blog posts'.  But today I wanted to take some time and update my current status.

It has been 2 1/2 weeks since my last radiation treatment, and it is such a joy to know that there are no more treatments, of any type, in my future.  It is such a sublime and wonderful feeling.  However, I do still have a problem with fatigue, as a side effect of the radiation.  My sense is that the fatigue continued to worsen for about a week and a half after my last treatment, before it stabilized, and now I have started to s-l-o-w-l-y regain some of my strength and stamina.  It is so frustrating because I have been in various states of fatigue for most of the last year, and I am just plain tired of being tired !!!  But hopefully sometime in the not too distant future, I will begin to feel more "normal".

As I mentioned earlier, it is quite refreshing to be able to think about things without having cancer exert it's unwelcome influence.  It was about two years ago, after Holly and I had both retired, that we decided to put our house up for sale, and move to Asheville, NC to be closer to our son and daughter, and their families.  Our daughter lives in Asheville, and our son lives in Greenville, SC, about one hour away, and both of these locations is a 4 hour drive from here in Whispering Pines.  Eliminating that 4 hour drive seemed appropriate and desirable.  Then along came Non Hodgkins Lymphoma, and my intimately close relationship with Duke Cancer Center, which is a 1 1/2 hour drive from here.  Had we already moved to Asheville, it would have been a 4 hour drive.  So we decided to take the house off the market until my cancer battle was resolved.  Fast forward many months, and we now find that it is realistic to once again consider relocating to either Asheville or Greenville.  It remains to be seen how this will unfold, with the uncertain real estate market, but we trust that God will guide us along the way.

One aspect of dealing with cancer, is finding something to focus your attention on, other that the cancer itself.  The cancer will get more than it's fair share of your attention, but it simply cannot be allowed to consume 100% of your waking moments.  The patient, and the caregiver and family as well, must find something else to occupy their thoughts and actions, lest they fall into a state of complete depression and despair.  Strangely, one of the things that I have stumbled upon, that has engaged my hands and mind for untold hours, is making jewelry.  That's right - this 6'6", 250 # macho guy, who has always been active in sports and other more manly pursuits, is now crafting beads and chains into bracelets and necklaces.  Will wonders never cease.  And I somewhat shamelessly provide a link to my ETSY website, in case you would like to see what I am now doing with all my spare time.

I know that there are a wide range of people that read and follow this blog.  Some of those people are themselves cancer patients, who are just beginning their journey and their battle, or who are well into their treatment regimen.  It has been my hope and prayer, all along, as I have maintained this blog, that I might be a source of hope and inspiration to some of those brothers or sisters.  My battle and my journey have been unique to me.  My emotional and physical make up are different than anyone else.  My treatment routine and my reaction thereto, has been uniquely my own.  How someone else reacts, or what their outcome may be, will be unique to their situation.  But some aspects of my experience can be shared, and perhaps be of benefit or encouragement.  My faith, my attitude and outlook, my support network, my determination and perseverance, any and all of these can be adopted or utilized by others in varying degrees, to help them along their path.  Some stories about cancer, and it's treatment, are filled with sickness, pain, anguish and depression, hardship and strife.  I have seen and met these people during my time at Duke Cancer Center.  But those are not part of my story.  My path has included both highs and lows.  But my lows have not been as low as those of many others.  And my highs have been higher and more frequent than the levels of other brothers and sisters.  I can not tell others how to fight their fight, or how to rise above their situation.  Only they can determine that.  But I can offer hope.  I can say that my experience indicates that it does not have to be total suffering and absolute hell on earth.  If only one person can draw hope and strength from reading about my experience, then I will have been blessed beyond measure.


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