Big day today! (Oct 21st)

Alright, I don’t want to bore you with too many details today, but instead mainly try to leave you with how I am feeling and let you know the battle has officially begun and I am on the offensive now. 😊 Today was treatment day. Barring any issues with blood tests or the new port, we knew that chemo at least would be ready. We had found a way to have Opdivo approved for treatment, but given that was only last Thursday I believe, I wasn’t holding out hope. Apparently, if you remove the insurance piece, things can move a lot faster, who would have ever thought? :-/

After an easy drive (okay, ride for me), I was there and received that wonderful news early on, we were going to be able to do both chemo and immuno today. Now we were really going to work. The day is relatively easy. Check in, find my chair for the day, blood test (okay, much easier through the port btw,no doubt will be some hassles and has been some discomfort, but I am not upset about not needing to be stuck with needles every two weeks), and if all good, the treatment starts. 30 min infusion on the immuno, a flush to make sure we get it all, a 2 hours chemo infusion, a push chemo infusion, my pump (48 hour chemo infusion), and I am out of there. A quick 4 and half hours later and I am headed home. I’ve had swimming workouts as a swimmer and a coach that have felt longer, haha.

K picked up lunch and I only mention that because it was some of the best huevos rancheros I’ve ever had and that’s one on my favorite breakfasts. Thanks Jeff K for the restaurant rec so long ago. Then we just got home around 1:15 or so and I just took the afternoon to rest. Didn’t end up sleeping, but a nice afternoon of rest and recovery. Texted with T for a while and getting to chat swimming a bit. Wrote some workouts, cleared some email, and just relaxed.

I am keeping an open and prepared mind for what I will need to battle through as I go, but so far so good. And I mean really. Nearly passed out in the chair after the immuno, but then we kind of want that body reaction (jump starting the immune response). I just put stuff down and rested a bit. Then started to feel better, dare I even say stronger. I got a good amount of work done, etc, but that’s not my point, here’s my point.

I feel like the competitive juices are flowing. I am in the fight and ready to go! I hated being pushed back a week to 10 days, but I can tell you I think I was in a much better physical condition to handle it all today than I was before. Even, or maybe even especially, mentally I am better now that I would have been without last Monday. Good luck… bad luck…. We’ll see… (but it doesn’t let the insurance company off the hook for poor patient care IMHO.)

So we fight, and I feel ready. No doubt I will have my ups and downs, but I AM READY TO FIGHT! I feel kind of like walking into that mid-season championship meet where maybe you aren’t really “rested” per se, but yes, you are expected to step up and be fast. For me going into these meets were always this sense of I hope I can do this. I guess we’ll see what happens. And then I’d walk into that indoor pool ( most dramatic piece for me was the smell, coming from outdoor all year, walking into an indoor environment and smelling the chlorine, still doesn’t something to this day, or seeing a comp pool set up could also work), and my mindset would immediately change. It would go from that “it is what it is” attitude, to “alright, now it’s time to get down to business” and a smile would come across my face. I love that feeling, and today feels strangely very similar.

So I smile and know it’s really time to take care of business now. With the hard work I have put in, the even harder work I am willing to do if needed, and the TEAM I have behind me, cancer doesn’t stand a chance. It may have been it’s best bet to try to use myself against myself and allow me to bury myself before I even knew what was going on, but rest assured, that plan failed! 😉

I BELIEVE!

I am STRONG!

I am READY!

And I will WIN!

Thanks TEAMjeff and let’s do this!

Relearning lessons and a recent podcast experience.

As I look to recover today and start treatment tomorrow, I’m reminded, once again, of a lesson I am failing to remember. It’s really not a question as to why I am failing to keep it in mind, but still makes it rough at times.

The bottom line is I have a mentality that I believe I can accomplish anything I put my mind to and truly go after. It’s something that has served me well throughout my life as an athlete and coach, and a big piece of my mentality even when it comes to my cancer battles. Regardless of the small percentages that you are looking at, the bottom line is that someone needs to be that percentage and I very rarely see reason why it can’t be me.

That’s when you go to work of the process of hope, build that process, and keep adjusting until you have the results that you wanted. That piece of it is awesome. The downside is that I am not always great at allowing myself the time that might be needed. A prime example has come over the last week. I know I need to recover and I understand just what I am going through, but I still don’t always give myself the empathy and understanding (meaning time) needed to get it done. For the last week I have been itching to get back on deck. I’ve been writing more workouts and getting more done overall, but I have wanted to go in and really have felt like “I should be able to.” Which by the way, those expectations of things we don’t have control over, is where I get myself in trouble a lot. So over the last week it’s been a series of my mind thinking, “it’s been long enough”, “time to get back on deck, at least to say hi and see everyone”, “just push through, it’s not like you are doing much else”, etc. Yes, I know, not quite the supportive voice I would hope for either at times. And trust me that my body doesn’t care at all what my mind thinks in these cases. Take today for instance, I was planning all day to go in. My group isn’t even in the water, but just to go in, get a couple quick things done, say hi to coaches, watch the other groups a bit, and then head home. It seemed a perfect plan, until it was like 30 minutes before we were to leave and I find myself wiped out from trying to be productive working from home the entire day. (Exciting to have entered a meet for the first time in like 8 months though)

So, it becomes this mixture of frustrations; in myself for not being able to do it. in myself for not planning the day better and getting rest earlier because I should understand that I need it, of this all taking too long to get to the next stage, and so on.

In the end, we (I for sure) need to remember that we don’t control the timing of the results. My belief in myself remains, but I need to remember that I don’t control when things will happen. I need to push, learn, adjust, push some more, rest, and do it all again. The results, whether it be kicking cancers butt or just a step like getting back on deck, will come when I do my best at working my process, not just when I expect it to. You’d think that would be one I would remember, given it’s a lesson I try to teach the swimmers every season it seems, but then I guess it’s just one of those that will continuously be tested when you are driven and believe in yourself.

Breathe in, breathe out, move on… It wasn’t to be today. I stayed home and did what I needed for myself and to be ready for tomorrow, but rest assured I will learn, both to be more understanding of where I am but also to plan for what I want.

On another side, I was honored to be invited to be a part of the San Gabriel Valley Master Key podcast, and to share my personal journey through lung cancer (was not aware of the scope of my current health issues at the time) and my professional journey of building Rose Bowl Aquatics to the TEAM it is today.

Some links if you want to take a look or listen:

  • You can find the show (SGV Master Key Podcast) on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts.

Apple: 

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/sgv-master-key-podcast/id1531387233?i=1000492108471

Spotify:

Google Podcast: 

https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkcy5idXp6c3Byb3V0LmNvbS8xMzQzMjMzLnJzcw

They are all from the same podcast, just take your pick of what is easiest for you.

As always, thanks for being there TEAMjeff, we go on the offensive for the first time in the fight tomorrow!

Gratitude and Oct 19 Update

  First and foremost, I have been meaning to write a blog about my gratitude for everything that TEAMjeff has done for me. Amazingly enough though, sometimes even the process of recovering can delay things, but I definitely want to get this out. The support that TEAMjeff has shown me over the years, which has only grown through this second battle, is the one constant that can bring me to tears every time. And I don’t mean some sad tears or anything like that, I mean the tug at your heart, make you realize how much good really is in the world, feeling immensely appreciated for what you do, and basically just the overbearing love that is felt type of tears.

As part of both Kristine and I’s personality, we are never quick to ask for help. Not because we think it’s a weakness or anything like that, but just because we know everyone has their things in life and never feel like we should be bothering someone else with it. So then to even have TEAMjeff set up a gofundme for us, is a whole other level. But I am also well aware that the financial piece is something I struggle with mentally a lot. In the end, I would hate to be a burden on my family, so I did welcome the effort on our behalf. This journey isn’t going to be easy and insurance hasn’t been great so far, so in the end, we just don’t know what that cost is going to be to try to help cover everything we will need to go through, but to have your amazing supports definitely helps me.

With all of that said, THANK YOU so much for your incredible support! You give me peace of mind and allow me to be able to fight this with a positive mindset and eliminate at least a number of the worries. I look through the list and I just feel so blessed. Names from the past and from the present, from the swimming world as a swimmer and as a coach, from Jr high classmates all the way through college, and from all the worlds in between, like the medical world from my previous  journey, it’s very hard to feel anything but humbled, and makes me feel like I better beat this thing, as I think I have some work to do still in this world to deserve the blessings and support you have all given me. 😊 Thank you everyone that is in a place to help, it really means a lot.

Then to all of the notes that I have received from Rose Bowl swimmers and their very kind thoughts expressed. The things like rides, which I had to take advantage of today, make this so much easier to manage. (Thanks Leah) To being so supported by the RBAC Board, TEAM, Coaches, and Families. Being very thankful to be a part of the Speedo Family and all of the support they have shown. And even for some thinking of what we may need and how it could work, and thanks to that, I may get my first haircut since February soon. Thank you all for everything you have done. The quick emails, texts, or messages, just wanting to connect without expectations, all mean so much, and you’d be surprised how often come through at such needed times. Thank you all for everything.

Update: Okay, we seem to be making progress and wanted to give a quick update here as well. We are all aware of the aforementioned issues with insurance (and luckily I have someone like my sister on my side, both the for fight itself and the decrease on stress on my side), so I’m not going to get into too much detail there. Basically after my doctor and his staff working really hard and our connections at BMS to point us in the right direction for other options, we have been able to be approved for the planned treatment of Opdivo (immunotherapy) and Folfox (chemo). I’ll start with at very least the chemo on Wednesday, and crossing our fingers they are able to get things set up in time (quick turnaround there, so I’m not having expectations), we’ll do immuno as well. Otherwise we’ll just set up when to start the immuno piece.

So, that meant we needed to get ready. Today was the start of that by having my port put in this morning. While I am definitely in a bit of pain following the procedure, all went very smooth and we should be ready to go for Wednesday. Then I was also finally able to get in to do my post-op follow up and get the staples removed. Again, very smooth and very quick at USC. So, all in all a good day, but I am also realizing that these days definitely take it out of me. By the time I got home I just need to lay down in bed and take a nap. Feeling much better now and ready to take tomorrow as a full recovery day, before we get started kicking cancers butt on Wednesday.

Thank you all once again for your support. It means so much more that you likely realize and I just hope I was able to express some of my appreciation in this blog.

Thank you TEAMjeff!

Your mindset, your choice…

Over the past couple days I have been thinking a lot about Monday, the hopes to have started treatment, the mindset I had been in before, and where I find myself now. The mindset being the specific piece of that, and maybe some intention added in there. I was hoping today just to share some of my thoughts along this journey, and in doing so, I hope I can help inspire each of you do decide to not just go through the motions but to live your life to the fullest each day.

Now, if you know me well enough, you know I’m not pretending to have all the answers, and I am definitely not stating that there is only one way to go through the struggles we do in life. That said, I do believe there are things that we can do to help us live our lives with more appreciation for the day we have in front of us now. Those are some of the things I hope I can share today.

I was asked yesterday in an interview where I believe I got my sense of optimism and hope, and I find it an interesting question. I think when most people think of optimistic/positive people, they think the energy, always happy, and think they are just “wired” differently. And while I am not Mr. Outgoing in my personality, I do hope that people see a good energy and smile on my face. If you were in my head though, you’d experience an entirely different experience of social anxiety (worry about “saying the right thing” in conversations, etc) or any number of other thoughts of what could go wrong in these situations? First off, I’ll continue to work on letting those negative, self-judging, worries go, but I think it’s also important to understand what we do with those thoughts. I think through those things, not to dwell on the negative, but to instead feel prepared for the response that I would want. In life it can’t be about the negatives, as there are just too many potential or maybe even assumed negatives for us to ever enjoy life, but instead it must be about our reactions to situations that define us. It’s why optimism and hope are so strongly tied together. It’s the hope in a better tomorrow, through the optimism of being able to make the best of today.

The simple answer by the way was my mom. The forever champion of the underdog, believing that nothing was impossible in sport or life, the person who showed me what it’s like to refuse to give up no matter the odds.

All of that said in hopes of explaining a bit of how I have felt over the past few days. It’s been a bit of an awakening, so to speak. I think I’ve shown that I have kept my hope and optimism throughout this fight, but there’s a difference in what I’ll call intention here. And I’ll also start here by stating this isn’t about action or day-to-day thoughts. Sometimes we need to rest, do nothing, and have down days, in order to get back up and be ready to go. I started this fight from the ground for sure. Knocked down 30 lbs before even knowing what was going on, needing surgery to be able to eat again, and then starting a stage 3 or 4 (still some questions there, we seem to be on the line of more lymph nodes but still regionally close together, so surgery still potential option if we get a response from treatment) cancer journey in itself. I needed time to rest, I needed time to process, so I am not judging anything, but I wasn’t really in the best mindset yet.

It took Monday and a failed start to treatment for me to realize that I had been acting like a victim and waiting for some other event to happen to have me take on the fighter mindset. Yes, I’m a victim of being dealt some pretty bad cards, but I can’t live life like I am a victim. I can’t wait for something else to make it okay for me to fight. It was an awaking Monday in that I became aware that I cannot rely on outside things to motivate the fighter inside. It’s time for me to take control and live life my way.

So I will still work to recover, gain weight, improve strength and prepare myself mentally and physically for the fight ahead, but I will now do it knowing that I will control my daily life, I will not only remain optimistic and hopeful about the future, but I will live today with that same optimism and hope. It’s a great feeling to be back to attacking each day for the future I want vs living each day with the hurdle I have in front of me. That intention must be there for all of us in order for us to enjoy the process of life.

So whether it’s dealing with COVID or just some other hurdle in life, I hope that you will learn from my experiences and never let anything take away how you live your life. It may change actions or any number of things, but nothing can change your mindset and finding the moments in life that mean everything, if you don’t let it. Live your life your way!

Thanks for reading and allowing me to share some of my thoughts along the way. I hope it can help some of you as you go through any hurdles that life throws our way.

#TEAMjeff

A start nonetheless…

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 believe…!
I am strong…!
I am ready…!
And I will WIN!

Thank you all for being there! TEAMjeff rocks!

Oct 10th Update – Getting ready to fight!

It’s an odd time for me right now. On one hand I am recovering from surgery and getting stronger it seems each and every day. I’ve been able to put on a solid 20lbs since walking into the emergency room over 3 weeks ago. So, in a number of ways, I feel that much better and stronger than I have in a while, but then on the other side I now realize that I am again up against a stage 4 cancer battle.

And I guess that’s where things become odd for me. I don’t know exactly how to explain it, but going through this a second time is hard to process. I’m ready to fight and believe I can win, so it’s not a lack of optimism. On the other hand, I understand the hill I must climb once again. It’s a daunting thing, with the most dire of results possible, but, in the end, I am just finding myself ready to get down to the business of beating cancer.

I guess that is what it comes down to, I am just ready to focus on the process that I need to take and fighting for everything we can get. To worry about the other things would be way too daunting to take, so instead it is this focus on taking care of me and being focused on getting the things done to start fighting. It’s that focus on process over anything else, because that is all I can impact.

TEAMjeff continues to touch my heart. The TEAM asked if a gofundme page would be helpful for us, and, with the financial piece always being of concern for me, we agreed that it would really help us be prepared for the fight ahead of us. To see the support that has come in, even during this crazy pandemic time, makes me tear up just thinking about it. To hear from the Dors and their thoughts of my being on deck and seeing their support through social media has only strengthened my resolve that much more as well. And all of the support from Rose Bowl Aquatics that means so much.  

It’s time to fight. We now know the bully in front of us, but we’ve never been one to step back from a bully. So we fight instead. We start Monday with the first treatment of Opdivo, and we’ll just keep attacking from there based on how things go.

Thank you TEAMjeff, for everything you do. From those that are in a position to help us with gifts, to those offering their prayers, love, and support, you are all keeping me strong and ready for this fight and I could never thank you enough.

#TEAMjeff rocks!

Oct 8th Update – A wild ride indeed…

It’s been over a week being home now, and the balance between days flying by and other days of feeling stuck recovering and time going by very slowly has been an odd feeling for sure. I am feeling much better from the surgery, and I’ve been able to put on about 20lbs in the last 3 weeks now, so that is a good thing in itself.

As I have said, I have my sister helping me out with Doctor appointments, etc. and she’s been hard at work. Focus this week was putting a port in, so we got a Covid test yesterday and again came back negative today. Labs taken. We were ready to go for the morning, until yet another change. I’ve come to expect changes during this journey, so we rolled with it. Turns out I am approved through insurance for the procedure, but not at UCLA. So the scramble ensues and we get it set up for Tuesday, Oct 13th. Then another Doctor discussion today and hearing more about options and why things might make sense for me. Back to Dr. Goldman and now we are set up to start with immunotherapy on Monday, Oct 12th, which is when I get to start winning this fight. So a wild ride on so many levels, but in the end we are right on path to starting this fight. We’ll see when we take a next step, but for now things are looking to start on Monday and we are pretty excited about it.

Then I also have to share some gifts shared today. The first one is the National Group sharing that they have my back, and each signed the back. But then if you notice the second shirt, way down at the bottom of the back of the shirt, simply states, “I farted!”. Haha, I love it! The second a reminder of Hope through this journey. I am ready….

Thank you all for your incredible support, #TEAMjeff rocks!

Made me laugh and smile

Alright, I’ve received a great number of cards during this time and so many of them really touch my heart. But this one made me laugh and smile. Talk about being on topic and on theme (quite obviously follows the blog…. “I farted” episode, oh and I failed to mention K’s response, “🎉💨 “ haha). I laugh at how great a card this is and I keep smiling thinking about being able to inspire someone by living my life.

Oct 6th Update

It’s been a couple days now, and we are now in full BEATCANCER mode. I’ve re-enlisted my sister to handle the medical intake and help deal with appointments, insurance, etc. So, now we march forward.

Monday was my appointment with Dr Goldman (oncologist that treated me for my lung cancer), and it went about as expected. It looks like with insurance it is easier to work with him and have him being consulting with the Gastric team at UCLA along the way. The results of the Foundation test came back, and had a mix of results, with some missing. The PET scan report wasn’t available to me yet and Dr. Goldman was uploading the scan itself, so those results didn’t come on Monday either. We do have an initial plan (not yet finalized) of a combo chemo and immunotherapy for 3 months, surgery if still needed from treatment, and 3 months of treatment. Interestingly it seems it was one of the reports that BMS had sent over as well.

All in all it was a good appointment and I really like Dr.Goldman, but we’re making sure we can talk to a few opinions on the best steps for my case. It looks like it would be late next week or the week after that I would start my treatment at this point.  

Then came today and getting ready for a port procedure that is on Friday and all of the hurdles associated. We did get a chance to see the report from the PET scan, and while it didn’t appear to be in any other organs, it did appear that it has spread to more than just the two lymph nodes. Otherwise, Jaimi starting the process of no stone unturned and working quickly through it. I’m blessed with the TEAM behind me.

And that leaves me to take care of myself and be ready to fight. It’s already been a bumpier ride than last time and may prove itself to be even more going forward, but I know any price I pay is worth the chance of living life. So I must prepare my body. I ‘m gaining weight as I am home eating now, starting to be able to move around a little better overall, and getting myself mentally strong. I am building my process to the point there’s no way I can lose. That’s my job now and I’m getting to work.

Thank You TEAMjeff, you give me strength when I need it most.

Oct 4th Update

Overall a good weekend of rest. I really don’t have much to report, other than maybe just the concept of rest and recovery and how it catches me off guard almost every time. I guess it’s just my optimistic and hopeful self that thinks every time I get a chance to rest and recover, because I know I am to the point of needing it, I always think it’s going to be this great thing and a straight line to feeling better. When, in reality, I have never really had that be the case. Okay, this time I have a legitimate reason it may not have been a straight line, but even those times I push too much in coaching, etc and think I’ll just rest and I’ll feel better in no time. Really that slow down helps my body to recover, yes, but it doesn’t always mean you’ll feel better right away. K and I refer to it as a crash. We’d been pushing through to get whatever it is done to our standards, and then it’s like our bodies go, “oh, we stopping now? Cause this is how I really feel”, and down I go. Which too often leads to the mind spinning out of control.

I’ve been working on all of that for years now, and I think I am much better overall. But sometimes things just aren’t great, and we still need to find a way through. Being home is awesome, and I don’t know what I would do without K by my side. But it’s also allowed me to relax more. Which, as I stated above, is great, but also leads to that let down in the process. I was no longer in the hospital getting myself up for whatever came next to get myself stronger. I can just relax and my body both appreciates it and hates it at the same time.

Then the mind starts chirping in. “Hey, what about that scan last Thursday? What do you think it says? Is there more to battle or are we now aware of the main cancer and the localized spread?” It’s not the same as the first time around for sure. I remind myself of TEAM that I have behind me and the options to attack this thing that I am lucky enough to have available now, but it’s hard to ignore it as you sit around recovering.

All that aside, we take the first steps in fighting this tomorrow. I go back to my old oncologist to talk things through, and then hopefully get a chance to meet with the gastric cancer specialists as well. We will take the no stones unturned approach as much as possible, we’ll just do it a little faster this time around I believe. Experience does come in handy I guess, I just wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

So, I will continue to rest, recover, and be ready to fight when the time comes. No doubt a long road ahead, but with my hope fully intact, I am ready to fight this with everything I have in me and believe I can win!

Thank you TEAMjeff! You help more than you could possibly know.