Just like George W. Bush, I hung my "Mission Accomplished!" banner too soon, and alas, 6 months after finishing chemo, Spot showed up. My new normal came to a screeching halt. To be honest, I was expecting this all along. Just maybe not quite this soon. If you go back and read "The Good, Bad, and the Ugly," you'll see that I tried to communicate that the pathology wasn't very encouraging. The report said TLB had wanderlust. And indeed, he wandered. So here we are; Round 2. Shit.
For Round 2, I have much the same attitude that you saw in Round 1. I still feel good. I'm still running. I still don't look like there's a damn thing wrong with me. And as I've assured you all before, I'm still not given to worrying much, thank God. Literally. But there's something different this time; an undercurrent. I feel like I'm going on just like before, but just out of view, and only audible if it's completely quiet, is this:
There. I said it.
So, I took my pre-surgery tests today. Good news there. I have great lungs, so I hope to have enough left to run again when this is all over. After I was done with the lung check, anesthesiology, an EKG, and some blood-work, I walked by the little chapel in the hospital. I go every time I'm at MD Anderson. So, I went in, kneeled down, and talked to God a little while, then I exchanged a "Peace be with you" with a fellow Catholic kneeling in another pew and was heading for the exit. That's when the automatic doors opened and an entire team of nurses and assistants rolled in with a man in a bed, attached to more IVs & machines than I've ever seen mobile before. One of the machines helped him breathe if he initiated a breath. That HE had to initiate it first was obvious by the irregularity of his very audible, ragged breaths. Following all of this commotion into the room was the man's wife, in heart-breaking distress. At this point, I was still in the room and felt like I couldn't, nor shouldn't, walk out. I couldn't walk out on my fellow patient, obviously so very close to death. I couldn't walk out on my fellow supplicant with whom I'd shared the wish of peace. I couldn't walk out on the team that had dropped everything to bring this dying man and his wife to a place that wasn't a hospital room. And I couldn't walk out on the wife, who was with her husband and his team, yet was also so fundamentally alone. So I stayed. And we all cried.
Afterwards, I went back to my room. After a bit, I changed into my running clothes and went for a run. I learned long ago to switch from saying "I have to go for a run." to "I GET to go for a run." To be able to run is a privilege not to be taken lightly. And today, I didn't take it lightly at all. What a blessing. Despite everything, I am so blessed to be able to lace on a pair of shoes and RUN. There are so many for whom this is impossible. And like always, running triggered the reset switch in my brain. And instead of being mad at God, I am back to being grateful to God. I am at the best place in the world, under the care of an amazingly skilled team, with incredible health in spite of my cancer, with my husband and Mom on their way to Houston to be with me. At home, I have an incredible network of family and friends taking care of each other and all that needs to be done, all the while praying their hearts out for me. It is all humbling and awe-inspiring. And it makes me cry in the very best way. So, the tantrum has subsided and been replaced by a much better feeling of love and peace.
I'll see you soon. And in keeping with the theme of today, Peace be with you, my dearest family and friends. Peace be with you.