Well, after a weekend of resting up and preparing to officially start the fight with my first treatment yesterday, we have hit yet another hurdle, another last minute change, another emotional breaking point for me.
In having set up this infusion appointment late last week, I needed to first postpone the follow up with my surgeon and getting the staples removed. All set there and just needing to reschedule when they call back, the morning was very smooth. Actually having been able to sleep on my side/stomach for the first time in a while, I slept with the longest periods of actual sleep that I have had in a while. Even able to jump on our zoom coaches meeting just to say a quick hi to our coaches and get to hear how the TEAM is doing in the water.
I guess maybe a little too excited to start treatment (and not being used to COVID LA traffic) we got to the appointment about an hour early, but decided to go ahead and go up. (Of course, all of these appointments needing to be done by myself these days, which is not a fun part.) They check me in and we actually get the process started a little early, everything was looking good. Then came the first Doctor and the first I hear about another insurance issue. I have no idea what happens with the first approvals that allow me to schedule these appointments, but they somehow disappear and leave me now needing to look at a slightly different plan, make that decision, and then see if we can still get started. So I sit around for another 2 hours from that point just hoping that insurance will work for the patient over the process, but again no such luck. It’s just another false start and another emotional break for me.
I thought I was ready this time. I didn’t feel any emotional break coming as I dealt with things in the Doctors office/infusion room, bummed of course, but not something like what I felt when I was picked up by K. This release of emotion, of frustration, of disappointment, and no doubt many other feelings just released in tears. While K obviously knew what had happened, I got in the car and just couldn’t talk. I couldn’t do anything but let the tears flow. It wasn’t long, but boy was it needed. Then K and I decided that while it may not be in celebration of starting this journey, it was time for us to go out for the first time since March and we went to our favorite little sushi place and dined like royalty in the parking lot. 😉 But the food was amazing and made our 6 hour journey around LA worth it. 😊
So then it was home and time to try to process all of this. Exhausted from the day, that wasn’t a very active process. It was more sitting around and falling asleep maybe by 7:30pm. Emotionally and physically worn out, I just didn’t want to do anything. But with rest comes clarity and what appears to be a new awakening for me.
The time I did spend awake at night had me feeling an old drive I’ve experienced all my life and realization of the feeling I had previously been feeling. As I have gone through this battle, as a second time around this whole dance, I’ve found myself in a very “managed” state. I’ve had to recover first, before I could even be ready to fight. I’ve remained steadfast in living with Hope and Belief, but also almost trying to remove emotion from the situation, which is a joke to even try to attempt. There isn’t much that gets more emotional than journeys like these.
I’ve realized over the night the switch I think this has made in me. I shared the first time around how easily this all gets framed into a fight metaphor for me. From the start feeling like you find yourself in the school yard being picked on by the bully that is twice your size. Often times on your knees before you even know what is really going on. That feeling changing to a ring environment when you feel like you finally have your feet under you and you can start to fight back with treatment, etc. From there the rounds become obvious as you go from scan to scan waiting to see what has happened that “round”.
So where have I been this time? I’ve been “waiting”. I’ve been recovering, yes, but I’ve tried to remain calm, stay positive, and be ready for whatever came my way. And be it by the bully picking on me or the outsiders tripping me as I attempt to get up (insurance stuff), I’ve attempted to just keep my head down and be ready to fight when I could. That odd feeling I couldn’t quite describe before was that wasn’t being engaged, I was waiting. Which, yes, may be what I have to do, but now it’s in a whole different manner. It’s like I have gone from just trying to protect myself, to deciding that this was just going to be part of the plan, a rope-a-dope type strategy, letting each hit fuel me vs hurt me. It’s that point in the Rocky movies (take your pick, but 5 is where I picture it most), where it turns from getting beat up to feeling like you have the advantage. That, “is that all you got?” type of feeling. The “now you’ve gone done and pissed my off” feeling over the can I even get out of this situation feeling when it all first starts.
There’s a Chinese Zen fable that Kristine and I have come to appreciate, “Good Luck, Bad Luck, Who Knows”. Probably easy to figure out by the name, but it’s the idea that we never really know what is good luck or bad luck until everything plays out. You only have an expectation of what would have been good or bad at the time. A swimming injury ios a very easy example. Injury occurs and the idea is that it was bad luck, but how often does that injury lead to breakthroughs in swimming? A lot actually, depending on our response to said injury/bad luck.
Which takes me back to where I am now. I am ready to build my process stronger and stronger. I am ready to work for everything I want, but only dwell on the things that I have in my control. My attitude, my belief, my strength (mentally for sure, physically I can now so I will now), my hope, my life and the way I live it are up to me and only me. The rest we will fight and influence, my TEAM does an incredible job with all of that, but we will assume any news can be good news and just continue to work what we feel is most important.
And to wrap it all up there always seems to be signs to me. Be it the “Stay Positive” shirt I picked out to wear to my infusion appointment, only to be tested in a whole different way. It’s not a question if I will stay positive when I am in the fight, it’s more if I can get through these hurdles that continue to be thrown my way before I can even get to my feet. So, I guess I picked the right shirt, just missed the meaning behind it when I put it on. Or be in the actual sign, see pic, that a family on Rose Bowl wanted to do for me as I started my treatments. This was a complete surprise to me, and I guess some back and forth of whether to do it or wait until I do start treatments, but in the end I think it ended up being the perfect time. As while yesterday may not have been the treatment start to this fight that I had hoped it would, it was absolutely the start to this fight on an entirely different level, and to see this surprise (K actually walked me outside with my eyes closed so I could see the front first) and be reminded once again the incredible support I have around me…
I am strong…!
I am ready…!
And I will WIN!
Thank you all for being there! TEAMjeff rocks!