Its been a little while since a post again, partly I think I needed a recharge and also cause I’ve been away back down in Florida where I did plan on writing, but the wifi was spotty at best for some reason this time. I’ve been thinking about this one for a while now and want to try to word this post properly. If you’ve followed this blog for a bit, it’s almost been a year now and 67 posts in I’ve tried to capture my life and how I live with a stage IV cancer diagnosis. Trying my best to spread awareness of this rare type cancer, neuroendricrine tumors and how sneaky it was spreading through my body at my best guess over the past ten years or maybe less, maybe more? That’s a question I’ll never have an answer for, to see where it spread to I’ll refer you to this post http://stephenmedhurst.ca/2021/04/13/how-serious-it-is/ now that post is about a year old and with the treatment I’ve had and my lifestyle the cancer has remained relatively stable.
A few times in posts I’ve made over the past year I talk about enjoying the journey, not just the destination and whatever that means to you. Whether it’s getting to trailer or cottage now that spring is upon us or going to your favourite vacation destination, even the hard work it took you to maybe get the job of your dreams, it’s remembering the journey that got you there. So, it seems kind of fitting that on the anniversary of my cancer diagnosis I spent the whole day in our vehicle, with Tracy driving back from one of our favourite destinations our timeshare in Florida.
For two years now I have lived with a very rare and complex disease and what a journey it has been. It seems so surreal to me as I write this that much time has already gone by and how much I’ve learned, changed, cried, screamed and most of all tried to relearn how to live and enjoy the moments no matter how small or large. I’m a classic over-thinker when it comes to stuff like this and find myself asking questions quietly like does this mean I could possibly be down to 8 to 13 years of life left? It’s hard not to think this way and continually I am trying to retrain my mind to move those thoughts to the back of the line, always being aware, but trying not to let them overwhelm me, somedays easier than others.
I try to focus on the fact that I feel well today, still a little tired from the long journey, but with clearer picture of where I am in life and who I want to be. As for the journey I speak about of coarse its not going to be enjoyable all the time, such as the start of my drive home from Florida to Atlanta it was stop and go traffic a lot of the way, the beginning of the journey with cancer was the same way test here, scan there, countless times until surgery. The beginning was frustrating, scary and time consuming…unknown what was ahead, just like the drive. Then after a while later the road clears and the drive becomes smoother, we are able to pick up speed and make some time up. Which can be related to when the doctors were able to finally diagnosis me and find the extent of the cancer, with proper testing and continued lab work and get me on the correct dosage of medicine to keep my widespread disease at least stable for the time being, able to live a fairly normal life, for now. Then after a very long drive we arrive home and after a good nights sleep, I come downstairs and on the fridge door is the reminders of my upcoming appointments I turn my phone off airplane mode and there’s messages from the drug company about my upcoming treatment and this is the new normal. I take a deep breath and realize everything will be fine, all these appointments and treatments are to keep me stable and keeping up my quality of life.
April 9th, 2020 is a date that will live with me forever, the day that changed my life. I will never forget sitting on the edge of my bed as the hospital called with an oncologist on the line, that part didn’t really shock me as I figured there could possibly be some follow up treatments to put this story to rest. I had no idea the severity of this disease, which I never heard of, had already spread throughout my body, when you hear metastasis to the liver and bones you really can’t help but think the worst. After doing some research and joining a great organization (CNETS) filled with great people and two I have to mention that have now become, to me anyway great friends Vanessa Mann and Jackie Herman, along with countless other who offer support and reassurance I have learned that although we have bad days we can learn to live meaningful lives and in a strange way cancer has to live a better life, to squeeze the most out of every moment and to be grateful for the small things in life.
My blog is now one year old and although it doesn’t reach a lot of people I want to thank everyone who has followed along and I hope my writing will maybe a least make you think about what is really important to you. We are all only here once, I used to work and stress about so many things…not worth it. I’m far from perfect and continue to catch myself angry, upset or stressed over very trivial things when I take a step back from certain situations.
One last thing to mention here is one of my biggest worries before cancer was how on earth will I ever be able to afford to retire? Given my time-line and I don’t mean to be morbid here cancer has actually taken that stress away, helping me with the ability to just enjoy a day to day life and I can’t wait for it to warm up more. But, hey if I make it to 65 I’ll worry about it then, life will have a way of sorting itself out and trust mean I’m far from rich, money-wise. I plan to be rich by taking in all I can before it’s too late and enjoying my time now…we all should. We will all be here only once.
Thank you for reading over the past year, this blogging thing is still something I continue to sort out. One day when I am gone this story will still be here and hopefully can help someone else along a difficult journey. But don’t worry I still plan on adding a lot more over many years!
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