Thursday, January 8, 2009

Community Through Suffering

Well it has been a lot longer than I would have liked… apologies. I have been working on another writing project that has dominated my time. It is over now and I am glad to have it done and very happy with the outcome. I was writing a letter of recommendation for a friend of mine who is applying to Stanford’s MBA program. I am really proud of him and hope that gets in to that very competitive program.
I thought I would share what is on my mind lately. I have been a bit of a hermit. I’ve really only spent time with my immediate family for the last couple of weeks. I am not sure why but I have wanted to keep things low key. The people that I have talked with have all been very complimentary with me about how I have handled the last year. It has been nice but at a certain point I get uncomfortable with a lot of praise. The fact of the matter is that I did what anyone else would do in my position. I fought with everything I had. I think the only thing I did differently than the average cancer patient is that I shared as much as I could. I stated my goals almost as soon as I got diagnosed. I wanted to share the experience with as many people as I could and bring them in to it as much as they wanted to go. I got a real benefit from doing that. In fact I think it saved my life. The people that got involved with my illness stepped up and gave help of all sorts. It was an amazing showing of support. Everyone that got involved, over 100 people, contributed in the way that they knew how. Some folks worked on our house, some stayed with me sometimes for days and days so that the ChickenHawk could get out, some watched the kids, a garden was made, some brought meals, some came and ran our house for a week or two, some just gave us money, countless tasks that we just couldn’t get to were taken care of.
My Cancer became a community event in the Coloma Lotus Valley with many hands making light work. We all did it we all got me through the cancer. The Chickenhawk and I did the heavy lifting but we all did it. When I was in the hospital during the dark days of the transplant, I had a poster in my room. It was an enlarged group photo from the burrito party that we threw right before I went into the hospital for the BMT. There are about 60 people from the community in the picture. It made me feel really good. When I was deep in the pains of cancer, I would look up at that photo and feel the warmth of all the faces smiling at me and supporting me and telling me to come home. It really worked, I knew that I was loved and supported and I would redouble my effort at whatever I was doing at the moment. It was a group effort that got me through. So if you were one of the folks involved in the whole Spencer has Cancer Process, I want to say thank you for your help in saving my life.
The Latest Update:
I am continuing to feel better. I have been tapering my prednisone dose by smaller amounts and that seems to help with the withdrawals. My legs are working really well. I am starting to walk pretty much with a normal gate. My lungs are clear but still impaired. I am doing yoga, riding the stationary bike and doing some resistance workouts. I am still dealing with major fatigue, I slept 13 hours the night before last. I often just shut down and snooze so no long drives… The pain in my ribs and shoulder is almost gone.
I am starting to think about going for a bike ride, I wonder if I still remember how or will it be another thing I have to re-learn.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing buddy boy-great to see you today,
tom

Heather said...

sooo good to "hear" your voice again. Rest up - adventure awaits!
love,
H

Ray said...

I'm so glad things are going well Spence. Let me know when you go on that bike ride, I'll do the pulling!

Ray

Anonymous said...

Hey Spence! So good to hear you're up on the trainer and sleeping well! Let us know if you need any fitments to make the spinning more comfy.

-M

bikesgonewild said...

...glad to hear you're getting back to being a "regular joe", spencer...

...but then again, if you've inspired others, hey, it just is what it is...
...(look at that...i managed to work in a trendy, 'au courant' colloquialism)...

...keep spinnin', keep getting stronger & remember: spring time bike rides...just around the corner...