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!


  1. Sharon, I read Pam's blog about your hikes, but didn't make the connection! The hikes sounded great - all those rocks! Hope you have a good year coming up. Recovering from heart surgery here, but that feels like a breeze compared to what you two have been through.

  2. Glad to read this. I was wondering what happened to you. Hadn't seen posts or many comments. I was just about to email you. We'll be thinking about you both on the 15th.

  3. Glad to hear your update. Safe travels. Because of a past relationship that included being co-dependent and enabling with food, I had to relearn my boundaries with other people's food templates. Glad to have those skills since I did not learn them growing up.

    Hope to see more photos. Safe travels.

  4. Thanks for the update! Glad Bill is doing well and fingers crossed he gets back to normal quickly! I know how hard it is to be a caregiver. It's sometimes harder than the one going through the illness/injury. I've been recovering from bunion surgery for the past five weeks, and my poor hubby has had to deal with me. The worst is, it's my right foot so I can't drive and my hubby has to cart me everywhere. Take care and have a great time on your December trip with Bill. (And thanks for friending me on FB!)

  5. You write so beautifully,, Sharon, and this post was one I desperately needed to read. I've been absorbed in your blog since long before Bill became sick. 2014 has been a brutal year - not nearly as harsh as yours, but I'm having a tough time "learning" what the lessons were. It started with New Year's Day, 4:00 AM, Dave's heart stopped and his defibrillator restarted his heart. After a thorough checkup he just seemed to go downhill faster and faster, until it was decided by the surgeon at Yale New Haven hospital that Dave had to have a heart pump installed (gave him about 2 weeks to live). For the 3 weeks he was in the hospital I traveled from my home to Yale every day for training in how to take care of him. He's improving every day, although our lives are certainly different, now! His disposition is almost back to the man I married 54 years ago. Needless to say, I ate whatever the heck I felt like eating, whenever I felt like it, and didn't do any exercising to speak of, so the weight that I had worked so hard to take off, reappeared. Now that things are smoothing out I'm feeling guilty, but what you say makes sense - trying so hard to get my 6-footer back to a normal weight on his 155 skeleton, I'm eating just so he will. And you know what? It's NOT about me - have to get Dave back to where he should be and both of us eating healthy.
    Thanks for listening (reading) and for your wonderful eye-opening post. Thinking of you and Bill and sending you love and hugs.

  6. So glad for the update and to hear the progress both you and Bill are making :) I totally understand the eating if it makes the other person happy. You did what your heart led you to do and there isn't a dang thing wrong with that. I hope your December adventure together is wonderful!

    I'm sure you know from FB and my blog that 2014 through my whole world for a loop. My "I never want to have children so I can travel the world" thing blew up with Joshua being born and I couldn't be happier. Not only do I still get to travel the world but I get to be a tour guide of life for this little guy. He's already been on several hikes (though he'll never remember them), but he already loves looking at trees and birds and water running through mountain streams. This was an insane year, but I don't regret any of it either. Merry Christmas to you friend!!

  7. Dear Friend, Just stopping by to say HI. Hope you are having a good December so far. This will be a very different kind of Christmas for George and me this year. But—all in all, we are both enjoying being together and sharing our love with each other. What more can we ask for!!!!

    Other than a post yesterday, I won't be blogging much until I start feeling better and get this knee/leg taken care of... I will try to at least read your posts (even if I don't comment)... I will however be posting off and on on Facebook (since it's so simple) if you want to check there when possible.

    I enjoyed reading your update. So glad you got to take the trip to Kentucky--and am glad to hear that you two have a trip planned in December. Will you go back to FL to enjoy the beach?


  8. First and foremost I am so happy to hear your husband is cancer free and will be wishing with all my heart that his scan on 12/15 comes out clean. No one has any right to judge how you cope with things or support your husband in any way he needs you to. They are the self absorbed ones, for sure.

  9. It's so good to read that things are going well! I often think of you both and the difficult year you have now behind you. There are lessons to be learned all around.

    My hubby retired last spring - he is only 60 but we decided we wanted to have him retire early so we can enjoy doing the things we love while we are still young enough and healthy enough to do so. We have been super busy helping our daughter and her husband fix up their first home. Our son has moved back home as he finishes up college. I recently traveled to Ne to visit my parents and convinced them to come stay with us for 3 weeks over Christmas. I am busy getting the house ready for them and looking forward to spoiling them while they are here. Life is busy but it's a good kind of busy.

    Wishing you a blessed holiday season and continued happiness and good health!

  10. Well there you are! I kinda figured you were just enjoying "real life." But glad to hear from you and hear that you are doing well. How fun to explore new territory!

  11. Of course you know all too well what I've been up to! I've never logged my hiking miles before, maybe that's something I'll try in 2015. I actually just bought a cute notebook at B&N on the sale table, thought I'd use it for notes for travels instead of scribbling on the back of stuff and misplacing loose sheets of paper. Guess it'll work good for logging miles too. Haven't actually hiked or walked much since we got back because that darn trainer keeps wearing me out and making me stiff and sore but I'm hitting the IAT tomorrow since our temps are going to be hitting 50 for a day. I know with Cory's food issues I long ago gave up on trying to force him to eat healthy and just refocused on getting him to eat. Now that he's actually gained for the first time in his life I've started watching what I make him and toss a piece of fruit on his plate. Vegetables are something I doubt that boy will ever eat. What can you do?

  12. yes it is written very well thanx for sharing your knowledge
    anybody can tell hcg diet is safe for rapid weight loss ?

  13. Having just read Rebecca's blog post ........

    May I just send best thoughts to you


  14. Thinking of you this week, Sharon. In my thoughts and prayers. Karen P.

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