Sunday, July 19, 2009

Victory is ours!!!

Well - here we are in what seems like the blink of an eye. On Monday the 13th I was officially discharged from hospital with a follow up appointment the next day on Tuesday. It felt great walking into clinic that day. There was a total different feeling and vibe floating on Christa and I. About a month prior we had just walked into that very same building and seeing the big blue block letters on the front which read - TOM BAKER CANCER CENTER. So many thoughts went through my head that day as we walked into that building hand in hand to learn what my exact diagnosis was. I remember meeting one couple that day who was just finishing up treatments. He had stage 4 and a stem cell transplant as well and they were doing great - however it seemed so far away, not even worth dreaming about.

But walking into that building this past week was refreshing, and now we had a chance to talk to people who were just starting this journey and to give them a glimpse of hope when everything around them seemed so hopeless.

I know I've spoken a lot about attitude; and it's true, attitude does go a long way and does play a vital role in recovery, isn't everything. We still have other responsibilities in looking after ourselves and doing what the doctors, nurses, and staff say. I remember one morning that I just wasn't feeling up to anything. Just leave me alone, let me sleep, don't talk to me, just pop some gravol into my line and knock me out. I felt like I wanted to hibernate for a month and wake up when this is all done. In walks the nutritionist to see how I was holding up and if I was eating enough - which was obvious I wasn't. I was dehydrated and had lost about 10 lbs and just didn't feel like eating squat. But she came in a bagged me to drink a protein smoothie. Knowing that they weren't the best taste in the world I knew though that this was for my own good. I had to try. Pinch my nose and do anything I could to get something into my stomach - I knew that the sooner I started eating and getting my weight up, the better chance my body would have at fighting off this infection and then the sooner I would be released.

I cannot just lay in bed all day and tell myself 50 times that I am going to do well and feel better. Nope, I have work to do to. I have to get out of bed, shower up even when I feel like being a slob, go for a walk around the unit even when my body aches from the medications, order my meals even when I feel like crap, and eat my meals even when my stomach just wants to hurl...I have to fight too! And let me tell you - it ain't always easy.

It blows my mind away at how much the body can take. Even though I had my treatments almost 3 weeks ago, still my body is recovering. The first round of chemo didn't even touch me. We went for walks, ate lots of food, went camping, biking, throwing the frisbee around, I was driving name it. This round of chemo - not so much. I still have dry mouth from the chemo and radiation which feels like Ive been sucking on a mouthful of soda crackers all day. Everything I ate yesterday ended up in our city's sewer lines. And I feel like I have weighted bean bags hanging from my body - I move like a snail. But each and everyday will get better. I will get stronger. I will continue to stuff my face with food and keep it down. And life will return to normal.

It was a great feeling leaving that clinic on Tuesday. The doctor and nurses all said how shocked they were to see me so soon and that I just had to go and prove them all wrong. Even on Friday I had my central line removed and the nurse who was helping do the procedure said, what makes you so special to get your line our so soon? haha!

Friends - it has been a blast and a half. Thank you for your support and love. Thank you for checking in and fighting this battle with us. Thank you for the visits and phone calls, emails and messages. I feel honored to have done the things I have done. I never thought my life would include 2 battles with cancer, a ride across the country, speaking to thousands all over, and inspiring many. And who knows - maybe a jog across Alberta will be my next adventure...just to prove yet again to myself that cancer cannot get me down. Wherever my future leads me, I am excited to do it now with the most amazing person ever - Christa who has a powerful story herself. We are people, we are human - and we are being molded and crafted each and every single day...and we just want to be tools to build what we are called to build!

And remember: Victory is ours...and yours :)

Tim Harriman

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