Living well is the best revenge

As I stated in a recent entry, a clean CT scan doesn’t mark the end of a story. More than anything it merely marks the beginning of a new chapter. You do not just go back to your former pre-cancer self. You begin to process your experiences differently and in turn truly live differently. You are still you, just a better you (or maybe I’m just a giant narcissist). Cancer didn’t give me a magical power that others do not possess. It just gave me perspective.

As I have progressively improved my physical health, I’ve included a lot of pictures and updates in my blog about non-cancer related activities. It’s not because I’m doing anything especially wild or unique. I post these things because these normal, positive, uplifting experiences are what carry you out of that “cancer patient” role and into a “living well despite a bullshit disease” role. I want to document my experience in its entirety and for myself, it’s just as important to me to highlight the highs as it is the lows. Life with/after cancer isn’t always so bad- at least I still have a life to speak of.

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(This is legitimately the fortune cookie I got on Friday. Even chinese food supports my living well initiative)

So in the spirit of celebrating all things that bring joy to my life, here is a highlight from last weekend. My friends had a spare ticket to see Brad Paisley at the Comcast Center in Hartford. Do I have any interest in country music? Not really. Have I ever listened to Braid Paisley before? Not intentionally. BUT it was a great opportunity to spend time with good friends and who doesn’t like live music? Regardless of genre if you don’t like sitting outside in the grass on a beautiful night to listen to live music, it’s possible that you are soulless. Despite being exhausted earlier than I would like to admit for my age, the concert was great. Thanks Katie & Bobby!

bradpaisley

(The only real wrinkle in the night was when at the hotel I realized that I forgot to pack pants and was missing one sock. We had to take an emergency trip to TJMaxx to save the day. This mishap resulted in the quote of the night: “Wait- so you can beat cancer but you can’t even remember to bring pants?”)

In other news…

The minor surgery I had last week to remove my intraperitoneal port did not keep me down for long. I went back to work the next day, no pain medication needed, and by Monday I was exercising again. I want to take a second to thank Jacque for waiting with me pre-surgery until they gave me “happy medicine” and wheeled me into the OR. I would also like to thank Tom Tom Blythe for picking me up and Katie for facilitating the process (aka volunteering Tom Tom to help). Getting a ride midweek can be tricky because most people work a normal 9-5 so thank you for interrupting your day to help me. Anyway, the surgery went well and according to my Onc the catheter slid right out with no problem. I have a new scar to add to the collection and I’m good to go.

Physically I’ve been making great strides. This week my trainer is on vacation but my friend Brian was a rockstar yesterday and filled in. One thing that I have missed tremendously is running (I’m now thinking of every high school gym class that I cursed running). Last summer Brian was my running buddy and I was able to run farther and faster than I ever had before. Cancer and my left leg’s resulting stretched nerve kind of put a damper on my running and fitness goals BUT THOSE DAYS ARE LONG GONE! Yesterday we determined that my leg was strong enough to attempt a “test run”. Brian and I went to the Hope High School track and slowly jogged small stretches and walked on and off. Brian commented that at first my left leg was really stiff. It was as if I was jogging with a weirdo limp. It’s because it’s not totally there yet and I don’t trust it to support me fully. To help, Brian had me hold onto his arm while I jogged and having him as a spotter helped me transition into a more natural stride. Even though we looked like idiots, I was very proud of my bum leg and how far it’s come from December 5th when I walked two and a half steps with two nurse supporting me under each arm. Brian was kind enough to document my first solo jog:

(I was also nerdy enough to set it to music)

After our little jog session we hit the gym and I with the help of my substitute “trainer” I was able to add a few new things to my strength training repertoire. I bench pressed for the first time in my life. The bar alone was a little less than half my body weight so it was not easy by any means. At one point in time I would be too insecure to even attempt this buuuuuuut at this point, as long as the bar doesn’t fall on my chest, who cares? I bet I looked ridiculous but I took far more pride in the fact that I tried something new and succeeded. Brian was sneaky and captured me mid-fly. I am appreciative that he didn’t document how unflattering I looked bench pressing a bar (sans additional weight)

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All in all it is nice to feel healthy again.

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8 thoughts on “Living well is the best revenge

  1. you did iron a hole in your guard pants in DC…. at least Danielle had an extra pair or the bus would have been taking us to the mall šŸ˜›
    Glad your feeling stronger!
    and o yea….screw cancer šŸ™‚

  2. Wow! and I like the fortune cookie and the music video…more videos!!! Keep on going Jess! We haven’t met ( I enjoy drumming with your folks in Salisbury) but you might have been in my dream the other night. You are an inspiration…and let it get to you!
    Continued best wishes, Deborah

  3. After you turned down the ice cream on the way home from the hospital, it was stuck in my mind, so I stopped at McD’s and got a hot fudge sundae before returning to work. You made a big mistake, it really hit the spot!

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