I was a bit shocked to see that my last post was back in November, because in my mind, I have written hundreds of posts since then.
It seems like every time I was sufficiently motivated to sit down and start typing I found a reason to wait a little longer in order to include more relevant information; I will wait until after my cancer follow-up appointment, I will wait until after my next pulmonology appointment, I will wait until after I drink one more cup of coffee, etc.
If you wait enough times, you never get around to writing. Which seems obvious, on one hand, but deceptively enlightening as well.
The downside to letting so much time and so many details pass before writing about them is that you end up losing a great number of them along the way. Or perhaps one could argue that that is an upside, for you, the reader, to not have to be subjected to the minutiae of it all, even though it is sometimes in those details where the meat (and entertainment) of an issue lies.
At the same time, I am rapidly approaching a day by which I HAVE to have this posted, because after that, the world turns upside down. So let's just skip all of the witty, creative filler and get right to the heart of things.
N.E.D. (yeah, you know me)
That's right. I had my 18 month follow up with Dr. Foster on May 5th and my MRI and lab work show that I am still cancer-free. This cannot be taken too lightly. While I don't write about it a lot, I am super thankful for the result.
I started this blog as the result of my cancer diagnosis, and writing about the experience has given me an opportunity to not only pay more attention to the deeper aspects of life, but it has also allowed me to share my insights and opinions with all of you. One of the unintended by-products of this is that a number of people who are confronting this same type of cancer and/or surgery have reached out to me for advice and support.
It has been an unexpected gift to be able to provide this service to others, and I owe a lot to a great number of people. I owe a lot to Dr. Foster and Nebraska Medicine for the incredible care I received there. I owe a lot to all of those people who showered me with love and support throughout my surgery and recovery, especially Rose and my family. I also owe a lot to all of the people who helped make me who I am today, because much of who I am and how I look at the world is a function of my life experiences, and the impact that other people have on our lives via those experiences often goes under-appreciated (if not unnoticed).
This isn't to discount all of the work I have done as well, it is just to acknowledge the multitude of variables that go in to creating "our lives." We say "our" because we are the only ones who have a first person perspective and experience of it all, but it is still deeply intertwined with (and as a result of) all of those around us.
My mysterious breathing issue remains. Unfortunately.
For months I have been wanting to share all of the frustrating stories. Stories like doctors telling me that my breathing issue is just due to the fact that I am 50 years old, or telling me it is asthma, even though no steroidal inhaler or albuterol seem to improve the situation. Stories like me fighting my way through a cardio pulmonary exercise test, struggling, at what feels to be about 60-70% of my normal capacity, only to be told that I "did better than predicted" based on "average 50 year old males in the U.S." (duh). Stories like one doctor explaining how things "just got harder for him when he was in his 50s, too" (by the way, he also said he uses a steroidal inhaler and albuterol every day).
A few weeks ago I decided I needed to do two things: 1) I needed to go a little deeper in to the woo-woo and investigate all possible mental/emotional/spiritual avenues, and 2) I needed to take a break from specialists and give inquisitive students a chance.
The student path has been fun. There is a Naturopathic medical school in the Seattle area called Bastyr. They run a community clinic staffed with students and attending NDs. I decided I was going to go in and challenge them. I told Rose, "I want this case to keep them awake at night."
The first appointment did not disappoint, as they were captivated by my case. Later that night, after I was already in bed, I heard my phone ring. It was probably around 11:30pm or so. Concerned it might be something serious I looked at my phone and it said No Caller ID, so I just put it back down and went back to bed. In the morning I saw that whoever called had left a message. Guess who? One of the student doctors, calling about something regarding my case. It gave me a big smile.
I have had a couple of appointments with them so far. Any big revelations? No, not yet, but they continue to be intrigued and they find new avenues to try.
As for investigating deeper mental/emotional/spiritual issues, well, we all have plenty of areas to pursue there. I have been a deeply reflective and contemplative person for most of my life, so it is pretty easy for me to dig through the past, looking for unresolved things. And yet, being trained in hypnotherapy, I know that we all have blind spots.
Trying to discover our blind spots is about as tricky as it gets. You can try hypnotherapy or some other non-cognitive technique, but sometimes, if you are really paying attention, you might be able to notice little aberrations. Things that, when taken by themselves, are easy to look over, but when taken with a bunch of other random observations, may start to point in a similar direction.
I have recently discovered a few of these peculiarities. They may not indicate anything at all, but they may be guideposts to a path I can't quite make out through the darkness. My goal is to just start writing everything down, in some organized way, to see if something pieces together.(And don't worry, I won't do it here in the blog.)
There is no denying that our genetic makeup and our exposure to environmental elements play some role in the things that happen to us. But I have become more and more fascinated by those aspects that are a result of our thoughts and emotions. You don't have to get all New Agey to prove this. We already know that our thoughts and emotions affect numerous aspects of our chemistry and physiology. We like to pretend we understand this by using phrases like "mind-body," but I don't think that most of us realize just how powerful this influence can be.
My gut feeling is that this is a "wounded healer" situation for me. Not only is it something I need to work through to resolve my physical issue, but I expect that the meaning that arises out of the search, and the result, will propel me in to the next orbit of my own personal evolution.
And speaking of....
AND BABY MAKES THREE
Just how long has it been since my last post? Well, I know that it has been at least nine months ago, because when last I wrote, Rose was not pregnant. And our due date is this week. How could I have not written for nine months???
More importantly...holy cow! Life is about to change.
Upside down, inside out, and all of that other stuff. It is both exciting and terrifying at the same time. And yet, our plans are to keep moving forward on the path that we started three years ago; Rose wants to continue to pursue being an athlete in the OCR/ninja sports world, I want to continue to pursue my own business endeavors, and, I will continue being the Race Sherpa.
Race Sherpa with a Baby Bjorn.
This little girl will love us or hate us for all of the travel and racing that lies ahead, but it is such a great life, and a great community, how can we not introduce her to this world and these people?
So as you can imagine, Race Sherpa Rises is about to make a giant pivot. A pivot in to parenthood.
A number of people have suggested that I update my blog to make it a bit more, uummm, visually appealing. I think that is a great, and needed, suggestion. So hopefully, as we move forward, we can make all of this look pretty and add lots and lots of photos. Oh, and remember that you can follow the Race Sherpa Rises Instagram account as well! There are always plenty of photos over there. :)
Oh, as for dragging the pivot foot...
To me, dragging the pivot foot is a hesitation or uncertainty. When you plant your pivot foot you are committing; whether that commitment was the result of something proactive or reactive doesn't matter much the moment after you do it. What matters is what you do next. You shoot, you pass, or, if you still have your dribble, you determine which direction you want to go and you go there. Either way, it is a powerful moment that demands action.
There is no dragging, no hesitancy. We pivot on this spot and we start out on the direction of our next choice.
And very, very soon, we do it as a family of three.