I took this photo on Memorial Day as I walked the path to the Benson Bridge at Multnomah Falls, on a quest to celebrate my new-found-self by making a steadfast effort to overcome my fear of heights. I had to get in enough steps to burn off those pancakes that I had for breakfast and knew that walking circles in the crowd of people trying to see the falls from that viewpoint wouldn’t cut it. The only way to get those steps was to take the two-tenths-of-a-mile paved path through the woods, switchbacks and all.
The photo illustrates how I see my life today. There on the right is a bridge, a pathway, that has been somewhat blocked--that's what my life was like while undergoing two surgeries, six rounds of chemo, and 28 radiation treatments with the fear of not getting rid of the cancer hanging over my head. I had a visible path in my life, but it was blocked by the cancer. Those medical procedures I listed opened up the block by doing away with the cancer in my body. Now I see my life as that wide-open bridge, a pathway, that you see on the left. I'm on my way to my future, one step at a time, one correct bite of food at a time, one sip of life-giving water at a time, one round of laughter mixed with smiles at a time, one out-and-about enjoying life at a time, one realization how much God loves me at a time, one heart full of joy at a time because my sons are so close by, and one warm feeling when I think of so many folks who love and care about me.
Monday morning I had an appointment with my oncology surgeon. She was pleased about my CT scan from May 2 with no abnormalities; pleased with my exercise, weight loss, and eating right efforts; pleased with my attitude and outlook; pleased that I had used my new-found-self in overcoming my fear of heights. She said something along the lines of what we hope for each of our patients is that they come to a point where they realize they’ve looked their mortality in the eye and have gone on to regain joy in their lives. She told me she knows that I’ve done that, a sweet smile all over her face.
I myself am pleased that she said she'd see me in three months, no CT scan scheduled prior to that appointment. The only thing I have to watch for is any change in my health, such as increasing fatigue. She knows that my level of fatigue will continue to fluctuate for some time to come, but if I go downhill, I'm to contact her then, not wait for the three-months-off appointment.
I don’t believe I’ll have to call ahead. I told her that over the three-day Memorial Day weekend, I went for a late evening walk on the Sunday, came in and sat down in the recliner, not out of breath, not tired, and this thought popped into my head: I feel younger. Shocked, I let myself say it out loud: I feel younger. Then I told her that I’d not mentioned this to anyone else, that I’d saved it to share with her. She smiled again. When Lamont came back into the exam room, I shared it with him and we all three smiled. Now I’m sharing it with y’all and know in my heart that as you read this, you’re smiling, too.
I'm pleased to be able to report this to y'all and to say again, thank you for your continued prayers, love, and concern.