Monday, January 20, 2014

We Begin Again.....

Choosing Which Direction!
Goshen Prong Trail - Great Smoky Mountains National Park - January, 2012

I confess upfront that this post has no particular message to convey so it may be all over the place.  To be honest, I have struggled with sitting down to write and I'm not sure why.  I think about it all the time and thoughts swirl in my head throughout the day.  But getting them written down is another thing completely!  Perhaps I should cut myself some slack and remember that my life is unlike its ever been before and my "routine" as I knew it is most likely forever changed.  That's a bit scary and something with which I'm still coming to terms.  I've never been afraid of change, yet when you are in the midst of it with no real picture yet of what the other side is going to look like, that adds an additional element of uncertainty.  I loved your comments on my "Lighten Up" post and find myself repeating that over and over frequently.  There's already been so many vivid lessons on ways I really needed to learn this.  Just wish I could've learned it sooner and wish Bill didn't have to be suffering so much in order for me to learn it.

Speaking of Bill, he began the first of 30 radiation treatments last Thursday which means he will finish around the end of February.  We are beginning to be quite paranoid about any doctor appointment because it always seems to bring more news we don't like.  Thankfully, his doctors are all working together and after consulting with each other, had determined that even though the results of Bill's most recent PET Scan were very good and the chemo had done what it was supposed to, they wanted a add a very low dose of chemo to the radiation treatments in order to be absolutely certain that any rogue cells were eliminated once and for all.  We were assured that the chemo dose was so low he should feel no noticeable side effects.  Let's hope that is the case.  Bill was told that he should be "o.k." for the first couple of weeks of radiation.  He will experience some very nasty side effects unique to receiving radiation to the head and neck area.  We are doing everything possible to try and stay ahead of those and keep him as comfortable as we can.  We both just want this to be over!  

It has been so wonderful to have the Bill I've known and loved for all these years back for the last few weeks.  Neither of us realized how tired and run down he had really become and we wonder how long that tumor had been growing before we found it.  For the last month, he has had energy, enjoyed walking with me and we've spent so much time with friends/family.  He has loved being back in school.  So you can see how difficult it is to think of him having to step backward again in order to finish treatment and then take that huge leap forward.  

As I was looking for a picture for today's post, I had to look backward because I simply have not had my camera in hand.  Truthfully, right now I'm not even sure where it is!   The picture I posted caught my eye because I remember standing at that spot thinking what a perfect illustration of choices.  It would be my guess that those two streams come back together not to far beyond where you can see. That's the general pattern for the rivers in the Smokies.  The point is, you CAN'T see that and you DON'T know.  Our life will come back together.  Bill will finish treatment and we will move on.  In the meantime, I have to choose which path to take.  Do I choose to be afraid of how the treatment will effect him, depressed that this is happening to him at all or angry that it has effected ME so much?  Or do I choose to continue learning how this experience has taught me to "lighten up," reminded me that love and compassion for others is much more important than any personal agenda I might have and feeling gratitude for all the blessings/gifts I've received in the midst of pain and suffering?

Well, here's the deal!  A very tidy blog post would now declare that oh yes, I choose the later.  And I do chose the later!  But I don't mind admitting that I've spent some time on BOTH sides of that picture.  I am human and I love my husband.  I can't bear to watch him suffer physically or emotionally.  There are days when I am afraid, depressed and VERY angry.  I don't think I'd be human if I didn't admit to all those emotions.  

The other thing I noticed in that picture is the island or "oasis" in between those two streams.  I remember well the day I was there and having the conversation with my hiking bud about how wonderful it would be to camp on that island.  How calming it would be to sleep with the sound of that rushing water all around you.  So for now, I'll just say I'm spending time on both sides of that island and am so very thankful for the calm of the "oasis" in the middle which sometimes allows me to simply rest!  

Rest in the knowledge that somewhere up the road in the not two distant future, those streams will converge, we will move forward and all will be well!  

Where are you today?

In the difficult side of the stream, the easy side of the stream or resting on the island?


  1. The older (and wiser) I get, the more I realize that we need the difficult side to recognize the easy stuff. Not that we always do, what with being mere mortals and all. :)

    Will continue to keep you and Bill in my thoughts. it won't be long now until this is behind you, and you'll be planning a trip together..

  2. Good luck as you move forward. We're mostly on the positive side these days, but went through serious illness and treatment several years ago - both of us in the same year. Certainly changes you; every day now I'm glad to be alive!

  3. What a wonderful post... Praying for you guys as you hopefully finish up this process and life can get back to as close to normal as possible. It is another trial that will make your marriage grow stronger. Just another month to go...keep holding on, and resting on that island.

    I'd say today I am resting on the island. Life doesn't seem to difficult, nor too easy at the moment...I'm just kinda in it. :)

  4. I am definitely on the easy side right now. But I have been on the hard side not too long ago. And Sharon, it is VERY wearying to be the constant caregiver. Go easy on yourself, and please be just a little "selfish" and do a little something you enjoy once in a while. It is surprising how very refreshing it is. And then you can be a good caregiver for a little while longer.

  5. Even through all of this, you keep your posts uplifting. I am glad you had the "old" Bill back for awhile. I hope you are both able to stay a head of the treatments and that they are easier. This is a tough row to hoe, but you are doing it. besides, what choices do you really have? The analogy with the rivers is excellent. Oftentimes we do not know when we have an oasis, but when things are tough we find it easier to identify them in retrospect. Glad you are able to find "it" within the rough waters.

  6. You two have never left my prayers. I'm glad you got a nice respite together....and you have every right to be feeling a hodge podge of emotions. You wouldn't be normal if you didn't! As others have said, be kind to yourself, and to your reactions. Nothing is wrong. Gentleness with yourself as well as your husband. Soon, but not soon enough, this will be behind you. Love and prayers.

  7. I'm a little underwater, but deciding where I want to float to ;) I'm glad you're in the last stretch of this as far as you know, but I'm sad it's so hard and there's no other way. *hugs* my friend!

  8. You and Bill are most definitely in my thoughts now. Take care of both of you.

  9. Such a wonderful post Sharon. You are so thoughtful and see to the depths of the situation. It is not possible not to grieve and be angry and feel selfish at what is happening to you and the one you love.Believe me I know. You have a very realistic look at all of this, aiming high but knowing that it isn't always possible to be one's very best self. We plod along doing the best we can. I love reading your posts. We keep you and Bill in our hearts and are counting down the days with you until this is all finished and part of your history.

  10. It is normal to be all over emotionally when going through something like this. Cancer happens to the family not just the person who has the cancer. Thank goodness you have the blog to air your thoughts - I should think that would be helpful.

    Prayers and good wishes that your Bill will back to himself soon!

    I find myself on the difficult side of the stream right now. I am hopeful that I will be on the easy side of the stream by summer.

  11. Sharon,
    It was so good of you to keep in touch. I cannot imagine what sort of emotions I'd feel if I were in your position. I feel certain that your feelings are totally normal. You are brave to share them. It seems to me that you and Bill have faced this whole ordeal head-on. All of your readers can learn a lot from your experience.

    As always, you are in my prayers.

  12. Good to hear from you. I'm thinking good thoughts for you and Bill for making it through this last trial with minimal bad effects. Remember - the light at the end of the tunnel is getting bigger every day! :)

  13. We are home --and 'in' for the duration of this frigid week to come… We even went to the grocery store last night --so that we won't have to get out on Wednesday… Supposed to get down to about 5 degrees here tonight ---and stay cold most all week… We had some snow early this morning --but it quit… Not supposed to get much today or this week. We just haven't had much snow this winter --but we SURELY have had the COLD temps… A couple of weeks ago, it got down to MINUS 10 degrees…. That's a first for us--at least for me.

    I recognize that photo you featured today… We went to the Smokies yesterday (since it was sunny and in the 50's) ---and saw the exact same thing up Tremont Rd. WOW---the powerful water up there made for some great photos… Oh--how George and I both love water --and taking water shots…. George tried out his new lens I gave him for Christmas ---so he loved being there. We truly (like you) LOVE the Smokies…

    Prayers and Hugs,

  14. Love this post. I'm all over the place. Feeling good about where I am, struggling with family matters. My brother in law has been going through chemo for 3 years's not easy but he's come through it well. The radiation was tougher for him than the chemo. I hope your hubby goes through very few side effects.

  15. Sorry to hear about Bill's illness. Praying for you.

  16. I like how you describe resting on the island in the middle of the two streams, which is a good place to be. Of course you experience the full range of emotions you describe and you also know enough to aim for the island. God bless you and your dear hubby.

  17. Sharon You and your husband have been through so much.
    I will pray for you both. Your feelings sound perfectly natural to me,
    and the wonderful thing is God wants us to be honest with him..
    He wants to be our strength in our time of weakness; he will hold
    our hand and see us through it all. I'm sure you know all this, just
    don't feel like it's wrong have feelings of fear or anger...
    I pray for an big dose of peace and trust for you,Amen.

  18. I think I told you a few week ago that Wayne was suffering from an unrelenting headache. It went on for 2 weeks and gradually tapered away. MRI clean. One of life's little mysteries. While he was so miserable at the time, he's lost a fairly big of chunk of weight due to the loss of appetite. He didn't want that to be the way he started to lose, but I'm hoping now that some of it is off it will make it easier for him to make good eating choices and lose some more for his health. I'm sure he likes all the compliments and attention he's getting from me! ;) Glad Bill is feeling better! Get out and get some stress relieving hikes in!