Monday, December 8, 2014

How About An Update?

Whittleton Arch Trail - Red River Gorge, KY
December 2, 2014
(I have much more dramatic pictures to share, but the simplicity of this makes it one of my favorites from our trip.)

Don’t worry!  I’m still here.  Gains and Losses is very much alive and well!  For a season, I’ve just not been into writing.  I don’t know why and I know the joy will return, but in the meantime, I’m allowing myself the freedom to write only when I choose to and not stress it over when I don’t!  So here’s an update catching you up on what’s been happening in my life over the past month.
BILL – For those who might be new, just over a year ago, my husband was diagnosed with an unusual form of cancer.  The cancer was advanced and harsh treatment was required.  He endured nine chemotherapy treatments of what his oncologist called “one of the harshest chemo cocktails known” and 34 radiation treatments.  This occurred between October, 2013 and March, 2014.  The side effects were as difficult as you’ve always heard (I pray you’ve never been through it yourself or watched a loved one suffer through it) and recovery will take a long time.  The good news is that his post treatment scan revealed that the treatments had been successful and the cancer was gone.  He will be scanned again on December 15 and although we don’t anticipate any reoccurrence, this is cancer after all and one never knows.  His most difficult lingering problems are unmanageable fatigue, problems with eating and peripheral neuropathy in his fingertips.  He is very grateful for the progress made in each of those areas, but still often discouraged because the process is so slow and he just wants to feel “normal” again. 

HIKING/TRAVEL – As I write this, I have just returned from what has been another wonderful girl’s getaway with Pam (Nomadic Newfies) at Red River Gorge, Kentucky.  We hiked and enjoyed each other’s company for four days.  Who would’ve ever have thought that the subject of hiking and travel in an update would be the LEAST about which I had to say, but obviously my (our) life changed dramatically when Bill became ill and I became his caretaker.   My hiking log shows that I have hiked just barely over 100 miles this year (compared to 300+ in past years) and we have done very little traveling.  But that is beginning to change as Bill recovers.  I am once again comfortable leaving him for a few days for solo trips and he is slowly becoming comfortable enough with finding food that works and being away from home.  We are so excited that we have our next “big” trip planned in late December while he is out of school.  My mountains (the Smokies) have been calling and are welcoming me back with open arms.  I am also discovering new places to hike closer to our condo.  Bill became ill shortly after we moved last August and I am just now having the freedom to get out and find new places nearby! 

MY WEIGHT – Since this blog was begun as a healthy eating/weight loss blog, it is only fair that I address this in an update.  While Bill was ill, I actually lost a lot of weight and in those long dark days/nights when he was so sick from the chemo, I spent a lot of time thinking about the whole weight thing and how my entire life/emotional state/way I viewed myself/etc. was dependent upon (and always had been) how much I weighed.  For the first time ever, eating became something I HAD TO DO in order to live.  I didn’t want food, nothing tasted good and I truly was able to experience what people feel like who just don’t enjoy eating, but do it only because they have to.  I vowed food would never be the source/focus of my life or self-esteem again.  When Bill began recovering and transitioning from a 100% liquid diet back to real food, I ate along with him and we cried together from the joy of watching him go from destroyed taste buds/salivary glands to the delight in his eyes when something once again tasted like it was supposed to.  And yes, I gained weight.  And I have no regrets!  It’s hard to explain and some bloggers will swear this would never happen to them.  But when coaxing the person whom you love most in this world and whom you have almost lost to please try and just taste something and this person says, “if I can’t eat it, will you finish it, I can’t bear to waste it,” yes, you will compromise and if you don’t, well then, I feel sorry for you as your life is very self-absorbed!   (I realize that’s a grammatically horrible sentence, but the point is important) And don't judge or give me all of the ways you would have done this differently.  What HE needed for me to do was what mattered most and you can't know how that felt unless you've walked in those shoes.  The good news is that when two people have loved each other as long as we have, eventually, the tide turns again and although taste and eating are still quite an issue for Bill, he is now saying, “how can I help you/us get back to the way we were eating before I got sick?”  And I am very grateful to say we have done just that.  Just moving back to eating at home as opposed to mostly restaurant dining has made a huge difference and I already have lost a good deal of the few pounds I had gained.  And needless to say, I feel much better.  But again, I wouldn’t change a thing. 

If anyone is still reading after this lengthy update, I appreciate it.  I am reading your blogs faithfully and even though I don’t always comment, please know that I am interested in your lives and think about you a lot.

Approaching a new year always brings new goals, new adventures and new things to write about.  2015 is a huge year for me, yet I think it will bring some new challenges.  Aging parents with increasing health problems are becoming an issue for us and I expect there to be changes in that area likely requiring more of our time.  2015 also brings a significant birthday for me.  As Bill continues to recover, we hope to resume our travels, yet the things we’ve learned through his illness and recovery about life, love and relationships compel us to become ever more involved in what is happening around us here at home.

Please tell me what is happening in your life!

Exciting things as well as challenges!