Last year was a challenge to recover from my back surgery, to deal with the cancer treatments and then to adjust to the limitations from a back that is weak and rigid from the supporting titanium bars. Sometimes I feel very unbalanced and unstable, but I’m hoping that with the gradual increase in activity that will improve. Most of the last year I could not get around without my scooter or my walker. Leaving those at home is a true joy.
With everything else I was not able to go anywhere on my own let alone drive. It was very hard for me to get in and out of the car and nearly impossible to adjust my car seat or reach the accelerator and brake pedals. I still struggle because my titanium back is too rigid to bend over. I have to make adjustments before I can get in the car. That way I can maintain the straight back without straining. If I get in and the seat is not right, I unbelt myself, get out of the car, make the adjustments and get back in again.
My father, who was failing throughout the early part of the year from dementia and lung cancer, and I was unable to make the trip from the west coast to Detroit to see him. I could only talk with him, and he seemed to think during that time that he would see me soon. He danced into the light in on April 25 this year. Mom made her final bow October 13, 1997 after almost a year with a diagnosis of colon cancer.
I have been unable to travel anywhere since my diagnosis, but I am hoping that will change. It is probably not an exaggeration to say that when you get this diagnosis, you don’t think much about planning. Some people stop planning for anything in the future. Granted, between not knowing how you will be faring six months from now or if you’ll even be around at any given time in the future makes it seem, to some, impossible to plan. I have decided that I want to plan as much as I can as I would usually do. Anyone can have a change of plans at the last minute and for any kind of reason. With all of the uncertainty of this disease, I figure I may as well plan, anyway. If I have to cancel, so be it. But, it will give me something to look forward to. Personally, denying myself the pleasure of anticipation is too much of a punishment during a time when I need every bit of positivity I can find and gather around me.
So, I’m looking forward to the next few months with the thought of possibly taking a little trip or two. Sometimes being opportunistic is the best way to go. When you’re on treatment that is tough, you hunker down. If you’re lucky to be on gentler treatment and it lasts for a while, I say get out and do some of those things you have wanted to do without cautioning yourself with the “what ifs.” If you have a bucket list, start checking off those activities or experiences. I don’t so much have a bucket list, but I have lists for pretty much everything else in my life. I definitely have a list of friends to visit and another list of places to visit. Maybe I just need to blend those two lists together, or maybe I can make friends in the places I want to visit so I will have friends to visit as well.
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