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A Different Journey....

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Before I got diagnosed with cancer, Jim and I had been planning the trip of a lifetime....actually a series of trips. We had planned to do a self-supported bicycle tour around the perimeter of the United States and another one around the perimeter of Australia. We expected to be spending this summer taking a series of shorter trips to prepare and then begin in September biking down the Pacific coast.

We got two of our planned shorter trips in before "cancer interuptus" tossed that plan out the window...or at least put it on hold. My last blog before my "I Have Cancer" blog was about our first fully supported bicycle tour. Little did I know that when I pulled into the bike shop that was our destination that it would be the last time I would ever ride that bike.

We sold the bike last week.

Actually, the reason we sold the bike had nothing to do with me having cancer. We sold it because we realized during our self-supported tour that it wasn't a good bike for Jim with his heart issues. That particular bike takes a lot more strength in the captain than was healthy for Jim to be exerting, particularly in the combination of extreme heat and hilly terrain we encountered on our little shakedown tour. We decided we needed something different that would allow Jim more ability to rest and would allow me some way to help carry the load. While we were at the bike shop in Wisconsin, we tested out several tadpole trikes. We're kind of thinking that once I get through all of my treatment, tadpoles may be the way to go for us. But that's another story...and not really what I wanted to write about.

It does make me sad to have sold that bike. It feels a lot like the loss of a dream. What makes it less sad, however, is that I know the reason we sold it has nothing to do with my cancer. We would have sold it anyway.

When I first found out I had cancer, one of my first thoughts was how we wouldn't get to go on the bicycle trip....and how I may never get to go. It was crushing to even think about all that stuff at first. A dear bicycling friend suggested to me to plan another trip...maybe for next spring....maybe starting with the "southern tier" (a well-known bicycle route between San Diego and Florida). It was a good suggestion, it helped me to start thinking beyond cancer and chemo and all that.

While I like the idea, and now that I have a treatment plan, I can start thinking of such a trip....I know a lot can happen along the way. I feel like it's too early to think more than in some general ways about such a trip. Even if everything goes as planned, it will probably be a full year before I get my strength back. So for now, I just think about bikes and shorter trips that might make more sense.

Still....that's all just kind of background information for what I REALLY want to write about. What I really want to write about is how I'm coming to see this cancer diagnosis as something that has sent me on a different journey than the one that Jim and I had been so carefully planning.

At first, the journey seemed horribly frightening. It still seems quite scary at times, but I'm coming to see it as a journey that is filled with all sorts of wonderful twists and turns that is already taking me places that I would have never expected a month ago, or even a week ago.

Cancer has brought me to my knees in terms of looking at the stresses in my life, what makes me happy, what doesn't. It brought about an abrupt change in the way I eat. Today, I would no more eat a processed food ....particularly one with sugar and salt than I would put a gun to my head.

Cancer has brought Jim and I much closer together and it's taught me I can count on him though thick and thin. He has been a rock.

Cancer has forced me to get honest with Jim about some things that weren't working right for me in our marriage. It was hard and very scary for me to do, because I wasn't sure how he would react, but it has all worked out beautifully, in ways that have far exceeded my expectations.

Cancer has forced me to be more open and, thus more vunerable, in pretty much all my dealings with people. That can be quite scary....but I know in my heart, the more authentic I am, the better my chances are. No matter what, I will not have lived the rest of my life hiding behind a mask because I'm too afraid to let people in.

Cancer puts a whole new perspective on things. I really see this now as just a very different, very unexpected journey in my life. When events happen, we often view them as "good" or "bad" things. I have frequently thought about how we never really know what's good or what's bad about an event until many years later with lots of hindsight. Who knows? Ten years from now, I may look back at this as the best thing that ever happened to me. I just don't know. It's too soon to say. But I do know this......it's really just a different journey and that journey can be as good, or as bad, as I make it out to be.

Today, and in the days to come, I really want to spend a lot of time looking at the good in the journey. I know there is going to be a lot of good.....there already has been so much!

That's what I really wanted to write about!


Hugs,

Kay

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • v IFDEEVARUNS2
    emoticon
    1012 days ago
  • v CBLENS
    May this journey go smoothly. Thinking of you and Jim.
    1015 days ago
  • v YELLOW09RED
    emoticon Kay,
    You are going to have a wonderful journey. Look at all of your blessings here on Spark.
    And your dh Jim. I have been happily married almost 40 yrs to my rock.
    Enjoy your times together with him.
    Debbie

    1015 days ago
  • v FLORIDASUN
    Hi Kay...I JUST love the way you share your journey! As I ALWAYS say..the truth shall set you free! I've heard that Cancer is our bodies way of saying STOP, LOOK, AND LISTEN...then smell the roses along the way.

    I've also heard women say that cancer was one of the biggest gifts they have EVER received. It absolutely in NO uncertain terms puts you front and center with what really IS important in our worlds!

    You WILL fly through this with the same grace and determination you have always shown! Sharing yourself with others can be scary...but what do you have to lose...if they prove unworthy..you just move on. If more people were willing to be REAL...it would be a much kinder, gentler world!

    You are a GIFT to spark world for sharing your journey.

    You and me...we are story tellers from the REAL...and that is QUITE a gift to be grateful for! emoticon emoticon emoticon

    Absolutely start planning your next trip...it will be more special than you EVER would have appreciated before! emoticon
    1015 days ago

    Comment edited on: 8/19/2013 11:18:21 AM
  • v DDOORN
    You are amazing in your response to your cancer...such an inspiration!

    Don
    1015 days ago
  • v GARDENCHRIS
    life is a journey.... and this is just a rest stop along the way.... take care and things WILL work themselves out .... be well.
    1015 days ago
  • v CINDHOLM
    Thank you so much for sharing.. emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1016 days ago
  • v TRILLIUM22
    Great blog. So glad to hear you have found Jim to be someone you can lean on. (((Hugs)))) for both of you.
    1016 days ago
  • v DRUIDPRINCESS
    What an amazing person you are, and how blessed you are to have such a close and wonderful life partner. I am sending you lots of warm hugs, kind thoughts and positive energy for your challenging few months ahead.

    Keep those dreams and plans in the forefront of your mind. I was told I would not reach five year post-cancer.... so when I reached my TEN year anniversary post-cancer, my daughter and I went to Indonesia to work with rescued elephants!

    I live in Australia, in Canberra the Capital. When you know when you are travelling here, come and stay with me - this is a genuine invitation and hopefully will spark your ferocious determination to start planning!

    Love and hugs to you!

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1016 days ago
  • v DARLENEK04
    Hugs back Kay. You have your priorities in order....thankful you are a
    fighter.

    DarleneK
    1016 days ago
  • v LOPEYP
    Kay-I continue to be awed by your ability to look at this "event" from all sides. I applaud you for mentioning things that were bothering you to her DH and I'm sure that you'll do the same with others in your life. I think that you are taking the best approach to this situation and will have a positive outcome. You are living your life and not just going through the motions. emoticon
    1016 days ago
  • v LIVE2RUN4LIFE
    emoticon
    1016 days ago
  • v PEPPYPATTI
    With today's modern medicine, it is amazing of the cure rates. Just keep telling yourself that you will be a survivor! As far as the bikes, those trips do not sound easy for the most healthiest of people. The old saying that doing something is just as easy as getting back on a bike is not true-lol! When I got mine last year, I could not believe how difficult it was just to maintain my balance. I will keep you in my thoughts & prayers!
    emoticon
    1016 days ago
  • v GREENGENES
    Well said. Good luck on your journey.
    1016 days ago
  • v MICHELE142

    Your doing great! emoticon

    emoticon
    1016 days ago
  • v SNOW_LEOPARD_74
    You have a wonderful and enlightened attitude that is so very rare in not only those with cancer but in people in general.

    I think you can achieve anything you set your mind to. Start thinking of where you want to bicycle but start smaller as you said. Just plan out a series of trips with each getting longer until you feel ready to tackle the big ones you are putting on hold. That journey isn't over it just has to wait until you tackle a bigger one.

    emoticon
    1016 days ago
  • v LSDALOIA
    What a wonderful blog!

    Well, maybe that was just the wrong bike for Jim. It wasn't the wrong dream for you -- it was just the wrong mode of transport.

    I will say that having traveled the perimeter of Australia -- several times -- parts of it are not what it's cracked up to be. If you want to know what it's like to go from Perth to Adelaide, come on down to Texas and explore the Big Bend country. It's pretty similar, minus the kangaroos! It's just more barren in Australia. You can go 50+ miles between towns. I was once hitchhiking between Darwin and Perth and only saw 10 cars all day. But that said, the beaches are incredible.

    OK, so here's something you never expected to hear while you are in treatment: I envy you. Obviously I feel for you with your diagnosis, but I really admire the intimacy you and Jim share. So often it takes a bad situation to take a relationship to a deeper level. But I suspect you both have to be willing to be vulnerable and authentic to get there.

    I am so grateful you have Jim.


    1016 days ago
  • v SLIMMERJESSE
    Tears in my eyes; this is a beautiful blog in many ways. Big hug.
    1016 days ago
  • v ZELLAZM
    Now what was it you wanted to write about? emoticon (((Kay)))
    1016 days ago
  • v MAURIZIA
    You are so right...it is just a different journey...I have learned that from all of the cancer survivors I meet through the Hope Bus. Yesterday we had our annual Highway to Hope, a Harley bike run. Two women thought their dreams of riding a "hog" was over because of their cancers - one who had 50 weeks of chemo. I could not cheer loudly enough for her as she rode off on the back of a bike! Your journey post-cancer (and during) will have twists & turns. I bet some are even more adventuresome and wonderful than you can imagine!

    Hugs.
    1016 days ago
  • v GOLFGMA
    I pray that this journey will bring you a new joy in the closeness you experience with Spiritual blessings and with your DH.

    The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.
    Deuteronomy 33:27
    1016 days ago
  • v HEALTHY4ME
    Well what a shock to me, I guess I haven't looked at my blog subscriptions lately cos I am sorry I didn't even know about your diagnosis so didn't respond. I am so thankful for your attitude and all the Good things going on, I have read often that people will say cancer taught them to live and love.
    You have gotten me back on the path, I agree, how many of us know what to eat and just don't and it takes a big scare to make us realize how precious life is. Well I ws gluten free, dairy free and sugar free from Feb till about a month ago as per my naturopaths direction to help with my inflammation from osteoarthritis. Had to go to reg. gp and take celebrex cos am on long term and have to do what they say for now. So went and got info on how my natural stuff will mix with celebrex and stopped taking it all. Well wasn't long that a bit of sugar crept in, and with that the cravings again........ I have been trying and saying since Aug 1 I am back off sugar and nope not doing it well yet, and also gained about 7 lbs back.
    So thanks to you and your determination I too will do this. I will think of you while saying no- eating healthy for me and remember Kay, ( my mums name btw ).
    I honestly feel that you will beat this and come out a healthier, happier soul. and the talk with hubby , yea I want one of those but as you what will happen, what will he say. We are pretty good and open as we had councelling when his depression got bad but as always there are a few things.
    Now today, we are at our trailer, and the grandkids are coming so that is my enjoyment today.
    HUGS sweet sparkfriend and I will be sending positive vibes your way. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1016 days ago
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