Nashville or Bust

The trip that started a longer journey

Half-Way Point

We used to live around the corner from this. It’s the finish line for the Boston Marathon. In April, as the race would wind into the Back Bay, we’d wander around the corner to catch a glimpse of those coming into the last mile. Most inspiring always were the wheelchair participants. We couldn’t fathom how they did it. We were in our 20s and still so young and sheltered. But as we watched participants come around the bend exhausted, determined, in pain… we couldn’t help but yell out to these strangers “Keep going!” “You can do it!” “The line is there — you’re almost home!” I recall telling Dave that someday WE were going to run this race and cross that line only to laugh knowing marathon runners we were not. Funny where life takes you and how marathons become metaphors for other things.

Yesterday, Dave completed his 10th radiation treatment. Over the next two weeks, he will have 10 more. And then, on April 8, he will be done.

He can see his finish line.

Also on that day, we’ll be having a consultation with the team at Childrens regarding Brandon. Funny how the calendar collided. Or not. I’ve learned not to question.

But treatment conclusions and diagnostic reviews do not mean things are over. Far from it. We are always going to have these things in our lives. Perhaps not in the first person sense of needles and therapies and instant reactions — but in memories and check-ups and fighting on for others. We’ve met so many people during this span of time who need our cheers and support. It’s a community we will never leave.

To that, Dave decided a while back that as soon as he got to remission, he wanted to do something to give back. So on June 17 – 18, we will all be participating in a local leg of the Relay for Life. Dave has put together a team and a goal. Together our band of ‘Nashville or Bust’ folks will walk a 12-hour track to raise awareness and funds for cancer research and treatment. I guess in some ways, we found our race after all. *smile* ~ Jacqui

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March 26, 2011 Posted by | Brandon, Dave, Everyday | 1 Comment

More Birthdays

Perhaps you’ve seen the ads for the More Birthdays campaign from the American Cancer Society.

I initially became aware of this campaign a few months ago when the days were really dark. [Recall, I was a member of the 24/7 ‘cancer search’ club on the Internet.] I remember thinking what an interesting twist on a position — more birthdays — instead of just stating the obvious, survival. It was human and of course I liked it but I didn’t stop and think about it too much. It was winter and I really wasn’t connecting with, nor projecting to, Dave’s next birthday. I was in a different place.

Ironically, the TV campaign has kicked up as we are getting into March and …a certain somebody’s birthday. As freak timing of many things seems to follow me, seeing the ads now has kicked up a new awareness inside of me. It’s curious, really.  I realize now that for a time I wasn’t sure if the future would bear this birthday or not. I realize now that prior to all of this, I took a lot for granted in that hamster-wheel of life sort of way. I realize now that while there still is work to do, so much has been accomplished and it is okay to reflect on progress. While friends had always teased me about these things (and I laughed with them) I realize I was the sort of person who always kept trudging forward without  pausing to enjoy the moment or celebrate the endeavor. Sad, really how life got in the way of life. And sad that it took a winter of winters to wake me up and an advertising campaign of all things to bring it home.

Also from the irony bin — did you know the official color of Lymphoma awareness is lime green? (Yes, same color as Dave’s car and possibly most food and drink when you apply the right amount of food coloring.) So when you are donning your green on the 17th think about your favorite Leprechaun and know how instrumental you — yes every one of you — has been to his fight and sense of wellness. Your love and cheer have made sure that more birthdays would be celebrated and life enjoyed. Thank you. — Jacqui

P.S. This is one of my favorites from Jack Johnson. And this one from Devo cracks me up. If you have some time later, scroll through and enjoy the many and varied contributions from the music industry towards the cause. You’ll never hear the Happy Birthday song the same way again.

 

March 14, 2011 Posted by | Dave, Everyday | Leave a comment

Green Light Ahead

It’s been an interesting week. Last Wednesday, Dave met with one of the radiation oncologists in the group to learn about radiation therapy and more importantly, find out when he could migrate from the Chemo Lounge to the Rad Booth. We knew we were up for some good news when one of Dave’s chemo nurses saw us in the adjoining waiting room, burst over, and gave him a hug and a big thumb’s up. With a smile she simply said, “I saw a report today but I’m not going to be the one to ruin your surprise.” I had to laugh. For once it was nice to get a tip of something good while stuck in the waiting room.

I’m not sure if you are supposed to be happy or giddy when you’re learning about radiation therapy. But we were. During that hour of discussion we realized how far we’ve each come in this journey — as a team and as individuals. We finally saw the pictures of Roger and we were stunned. He didn’t look like what we had imagined this entire time and that’s really a good thing. Let’s just say, science is amazing.

So what’s next? Well, a lot of things. The scans are probably as clean as they are going to be. There still is a little something inside of Dave but we’ve been told it is most likely scar tissue. A tumor of his size doesn’t really completely go away. To make sure that there really are no active cancer cells remaining, four weeks of radiation — every day —  targeted at the remaining “stuff” should give Dave the insurance he needs to move to the next gate: Remission. While his PET scan showed no activity, Dave needs to go this route because his initial PET scans (the control series) didn’t “light up” either. Remember, that was one of many little mysteries in the beginning.

The radiation begins on Monday, March 14. He’ll be tired and we’ll learn of other side-effects as we go through the month. But the next six months of recovery are looking good. Actually, they are looking pretty darned great.

As a side note, each of us is dealing with this change of scenery in different ways. We’re different people and while we’ve gone through this as “together” as two people can, we’ve been sitting in different seats. You don’t just don’t shift into a high gear of happy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s there, but so too are a lot of other feelings. I suppose the next six months of healing won’t just be centered within the body. The mind and soul need to adjust as well.

So for all of you still out there cheering Dave on, thank you. He feels it and uses it not only to keep himself going but also encourage others we’ve met along the way. Every day my little litany of names that I whisper unfortunately grows longer. There are so many people we’ve met in this short time who are fighting, too. Keep going. Green lights are ahead.

 

March 9, 2011 Posted by | Dave | 2 Comments