Nashville or Bust

The trip that started a longer journey

Good-bye. Hello.

Summer is winding down. This family has been busy taking in the last of its carefree days while preparing for new life adventures. A week ago, we were driving back from Hilton Head — tan and sand encrusted. We quickly flipped some laundry and repacked the car to get Brandon to EKU mid-week. It didn’t take long for him to settle into his dorm room and reconnect with his buds. Such a different experience compared to a year ago but still, a few bittersweet seconds in there as we say good-bye to one phase and hello to another.

James and Tess also had many things to do — back-to-school haircuts, school supply shopping with Dave, orientation, etc. Their backpacks are ready to go and despite the fun of summer, they are looking forward to the academic routine. We have one going into high school and one going into fourth grade. It doesn’t seem right but then again, the years have been rushing past us.

Perhaps the biggest transition this summer was the ability to say good-bye to the shadows of cancer.

June was a tough month. It started with Dave getting a great report of continued remission but it blended into the last phase of pain management and full-blown withdrawal. While he still had pain in his back (sometimes debilitating, but he wouldn’t let you know that) Dave made the conscious decision to step away from all the prescribed pain killers. He didn’t want to live that way and honestly, things weren’t improving. Doctors weren’t helping his body re-calibrate. Instead, they were maintaining a dependency which, after he went through hell, we realized was an internal broken cycle of systemic craving inducing more pain. The process was slow — beginning in the early part of the year. As Dave stepped away from one prescription and tackled the tapering of a different one, he had to readjust and deal with plateaus as his body worked to keep up. But then “the event” happened. Due to a pharmaceutical shortage and a weekend delay, his prescription for the last bit of junk he was still on, couldn’t get filled. A body off schedule and lacking its ‘fix’ has a mind of its own. The withdraw had begun and Dave elected to ride it out. He wanted to be done. Mid-June into July was a blur as his whole system dealt with a nightmarish state. Plans we were making for summer were put on pause. While not cancer in its clinical form, this was, in my opinion, just as sinister and ugly. If you ever had to break any type of addiction and/or systemic dependency or were there with someone while they detoxed, you will know what a dark, scary, lonely and horribly excruciating road has to be traveled. To our friends and family who were there to help, I don’t believe there are words to express the gratitude we felt then and still do today. It was not what we had planned for those summer weeks, yet it was a necessary evil. Thank you for helping us through.

 

Dave took the opportunity of this medicinal break to seek out some alternative help. We had been researching acupuncture since spring but he had not had a chance to make an appointment. As things tend to work, the time was right and the right practitioner presented himself to Dave. The result? Well, exactly one month after the onset of withdrawal, Dave was able to hike up to Natural Bridge in the mountains of Kentucky. Twice.

 

He then was able to play like one of the kids on the beach for a week and kayak for miles. He’s now signed up to run the Hudy 7k with me next month. He laughs and smiles and nowhere in those actions are the spurts of pain he previously would try to shield behind his eyes. He’s back and he’s healthy — finally — in body, mind and spirit. It’s so good to see him this way. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again — I’m one lucky girl to have him as my soulmate.

There will always be reminders of the past two years. We find things from that period tucked away in odd places in the house. We have loved ones and friends who are in the middle of their cancer treatments. Chatter of radiation and chemo will never go away. But they won’t have the same intensity.

 

Last night, we had a chance to finally watch the movie 50/50 — a gift from Brandon and honestly one of the best movies we have seen in some time. Let’s just say that if we  had seen this in a theater full of people they would have thought we were deranged. We laughed out loud at scenes that most people would not see as ‘funny.’ We recalled times of fear. We remembered how sick Dave was. We yelled back at the characters on screen. And we said good-bye to it all. An odd way to close it down but so very us.

Yes, there will be check-ups and oncology appointments…continious scans and blood draws. But, there will not be the fear. The shadow of ‘Roger’ and its sinister pain parade have finally been diminished in our hearts and minds. We’ve conquered. We’re saying hello again to our lives. Living free is so much more fun.

 

 

So, with all that, I’m not sure where this blog is going next. We’ve got some trips to Nashville on the radar so most likely it will be back to its roots: crazy road trips and even crazier dreams. We’ll make sure to post from time to time. Read as you desire. Until then, take care and be good. Live, love and laugh. ~ Jacqui

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August 18, 2012 Posted by | Dave, Everyday | 1 Comment