Well here are we are - heading in for battle number 2. The past few weeks off have been amazing spending time relaxing and just hanging out - and finally being able to go out instead of being locked up.
Last week Christa and I went for a little camping trip in the Kananaskis Country and who would have ever thought camping could have such a unique twist on marriage and teach you things you never knew. But it doesn't take camping to realize this one. You know you are married when...
Your clothes have gone missing from their usual spot and have now been placed elsewhere, making room for "guess who's" clothes. When your closet used to be yours but now it is taken over by purses and clothes which definitely aren't yours. When the bathroom cabinet is filled 2/3 with products that aren't yours. When the toilet paper roll for some reason always seems to be empty. When the mail box is full - but not one piece of mail is for you. Ha-ha...but it's all good...it is absolutely worth it!
I am sure Christa will share her experience of camping on her blog - but I personally thought the trip was awesome. But this is what I discovered about the word camping. When a man says or hears the word camping - he thinks of tenting, BBQing some burgers, cooking over the fire (he created), exploring the wilderness, and enjoying it no matter what the weather. This is what women think of when they hear or say the word camping. Having internal chills, miserable weather, sleeping in a spider filled tent, eating food that taste like charcoal, and using toilets that appear to lead us to the core of the earth but are actually so filled with waste that it just so happens to appear like a distant black space.
Thursday we pulled out and we weren't far down the road before the rain started. This isn't bad I thought as I played back the memory of when myself and a few buddies went camping in Kananaskis a few years ago and it poured rain on us almost all weekend but yet we cooked outside in the pouring rain, played some football, and even brought out the guitars for a little koom-by-ya.
However, setting up the tent in the rain and cold condition isn't quite what Christa would call ideal camping conditions. However we made the best of it, shared some laughs, and put the weekend in our book of never to do again (in the pouring rain that is...) and our other book of stupid memories (which I'm sure will be refreshed into our minds quite often).
Mind you, the rain and colder conditions wasn't the only thing that brought a unique twist. On Thursday evening Christa and I thought we would kick off our romantic retreat (or so I thought) with a nice hike in the wilderness before sun set. Nope. Not happening. While dressing in layers and bundling ourselves up (I will refrain from using names to protect the sacredness of our marriage), somehow our wilderness tour turned into a scavenger hunt for our car keys. Back tracking our way through the campground they were no where to be found. By the grace of God there just happened to be a little girl skipping just along our campsite and heard me asking Christa where our cell phones were - in the car of course. I knew we were in the middle of no where and a tow truck would cost 4 arms and 4 legs so I tried the old man's trick with a roasting stick and a screw driver. No luck. Next thing you know...Fire and Rescue pulls up (the little girls father who so happens to live up the road from us in Edmonton) and by my amazement happens to somehow peal the rubber back on the driver window and to push his roasting stick in far enough where he managed to loop it around the trunk lever and pop it open. Where were the keys - sitting right there in the trunk. How did they get there? I have no idea :)
The rest of our camping trip turned out to be decent as the sun came around and we built a great friendship with our lifesavers who invited us over for a fire and tea as we learnt each others stories and shared some good times.
Camping is definitely one of my getaways as it gives me time to reflect and enjoy the peace of the outdoors and it surely was a great time to spend with Christa and recharge ourselves for battle again.
This morning I received my last dose of Chemo which I must admit - was so strong that as it was going in I could taste the strong sense in my mouth and felt like my body had a 100 pound weight thrown on it. The feeling eventually subsided but showed me how powerful this drug really is - but like before, we are continuing to believe for a power and strength to keep fighting and push through this round as strong if not stronger than last time; with minimal to no side effects and hopefully be released earlier then expected.
And as for the good news your all waiting for me to share: During my check up last week at Tom Baker the nurse kept referring to me as their poster boy as she says they have never really seen anyone push through everything so easily before. She was shocked to hear that I haven't been sick, I've been maintaining my diet and weight - in fact I am actually starting to get a little chunky in the face and the belt seems to be switching holes every so often. Besides from loosing my hair I have been feeling great and actually feel better than before I was diagnosed - strange. Not only is that good news but we also learnt that my PET/CT SCAN came back showing that the cancer has been killed and the Doctor thinks I will cruise through this round again with very little symptoms - this is play stuff compared to what I've been through in the past. AND, when once thought I would have 4 -6 months of follow up treatments I could now possibly be released by end of next week with no more chemo treatments and will have my central line out in a month or two and be back to living a normal life. Wow!
So thank you for your continued prayers and support. We greatly appreciate them. This has been a softening time on my heart and has been an experience that I will never forget for I have learnt SO many things in such a short time frame. My hope is that our story will continue to inspire and encourage us all to live life to it's fullest, appreciating it for what it really is, and even continue to remind me of some very important but simple things that help bring such a greater meaning to life!
As for now, 1 chemo down, 1 radiation to go tomorrow morning, stem cell transplant in afternoon and score board says: