Feeling the Need to Say Thank You

I’ve been thinking a lot about how many people I feel the need to say thank you to, and how many kind and thoughtful acts I’m so grateful for.  Sometimes that’s overwhelming, as overwhelming as this entire journey has been. I can’t possibly list each and every single individual and I don’t want to even try to do that because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by leaving them out. I’m not quite sure that I have the words yet to say thank you adequately or to possibly explain how much each and every thoughtful message, gift, card, word and so much more I have received has really meant.

Every bunch of flowers brightened up my home and made me smile just a little bit more. I love fresh flowers and always thought if I was rich it would be the first thing I would do — have fresh flowers in my home all the time.  IMG_3504

Every single card and note is a treasure. I’ve saved them all. We don’t do that much anymore — hand write notes to friends. The cards and notes warm my heart. I’ve saved each one.


I can’t even begin to list the gifts. The coloring books were great company when I needed to just sit and check out. And the comfy pajamas, wool socks, blankets, magazines, books, bracelets and more … each and every one is a reminder that for just oneIMG_3503 minute, maybe more, there was a lot of love in people’s hearts.

Friends, both new and old, dedicated their races to me. Some gave me their finisher medals. I treasure them as much, maybe even more, than my own. Cancer put most of my race schedule on hold for 2017. The events I did participate in were that much more special, and it was because of the support of family and friends that they happened.

All those things that made life for Bryan and for me a bit easier — meals, walking Brody, meeting me or even just offering to meet me for swims, bikes, runs, organizing Club events when I couldn’t make it, rides to New York, lunches.

There were the big things — like parties and vacations with special friends and with family.  and there were the small things, like words spoken from the heart.

So many moments that come back to me when I’m alone with my thoughts, that’s when I cry.  But not because I’m sad.  Because I feel blessed.  And I feel loved.  And I know that I’m a better person because of all of this.  And now I understand what I’ve heard other people say in connection with life-changing events in their lives — I wouldn’t change any of it.

The more I think about it the more I remember.  And these are things that I will always remember.  And it all comes back to a lesson I’ve talked about before, something I learned in a conversation with Sister Madonna Buder.  I have my gift from God, which is the ability to help and inspire others.  It’s my obligation to do what I can with this gift, to share with others who are going through this journey with cancer.  I’ve learned a lot and continue to learn on a daily basis.  I wish no one had cancer ever again but I’m thankful that friends and acquaintances feel they can reach out to me for advice, resources or just an ear to listen.


If It’s Meant To Be, It’ll Be. Baby, Just Let It Be

It’s been 6 weeks since my last blog post. That means over 12 weeks since my last radiation treatment. 14 weeks since my last chemotherapy treatment. Almost 9 months since my surgery. And 10 months since this all started. I wonder, when does the clock star for the “after five years you are considered in remission”? In some ways it all seems so far in the past. And sometimes I’m reminded it’s not in the past at all.

I had to drive up to Sloan in Holmdel last Thursday for an EKG and some x-rays on my back and spine. I’ve had some numbness in my legs and still sometimes feel like my heart rate is too high for what I’m doing. Routine tests, but it made me wonder how I went back and forth so many times for my treatments. Each trip brought so much possible harm to the rest of my body, along with the hope that it would erase all the remnants of cancer that could potentially be loose in my body. I wonder just how much my ability to disconnect my mind from my body when things get tough helped me here.

Well I didn’t get exactly the message I wanted to get in connection with the tests, or the news I wanted to have to be patient about. EKG looks normal, good news. Bones look good, that’s great. But…. Yea, there was a but. “The radiologist noted an intense structure in the retroperitoneal area (likely representing bowel content). Dr. Traina would like to follow up with a ultrasound. Not worrisome.” Of course it’s a holiday weekend. First appointment that’s available is at noon on Tuesday. And I don’t know when I will get the results, I doubt it will be right away. I got this news after I started this blog post, and after I decided on the title. So there you go, no coincidences.

[I won’t post this till after I know what’s going on, but wanted to finish writing my thoughts down.]

I went about my life as best I could, and pretty much kept the news to myself. Told one friend and got good counsel – “Will it help if you worry?” I decided it wouldn’t help if anyone else worried so the New Years weekend went as planned – workouts, time with family and friends, and tried for not too much negative time in my head.

Tuesday at noon finally came. Not much of a wait at Sloan in Middletown before I got called in for the ultrasound. The technician seemed to take a lot of pictures, this scared me. After what seemed like forever she said “I’m going to check these with the doctor but I don’t see anything. Could you have taken any tablets before you came in last week?” Well yea — synthroid, enzalutamide, and five different vitamins! Well, to make a long story a little shorter – after a consult with the doctor about the ultrasound I’m told “there is absolutely nothing to worry about”. And confirmation today from my oncologist’s office. “Nothing to worry about … all good :)”

So as I have known since the first diagnosis, it’s never going to be truly gone. And what can I do about that — nothing. Just live each moment I have to the fullest, and share my journey in the process. Here’s to 2018 — to health and happiness and accomplishing the goals I’ve set.