Our New Journey

On June 9th, my husband was feeling ill. He said that he was dehydrated and needed to go to the hospital for fluids. I mentioned to the nurses that I was concerned because he had seemed a little different over the past week. After a few tests, it was revealed that a tumor had taken up residence in his brain. A biopsy soon followed. As the surgeon talked about the results of the biopsy, the dreadful word "cancer" was born into our lives, changing it forever.

Through this blog, I will be sharing my journey.

Thank you all for your love, support, and prayers.

-Gilly

Monday, August 29, 2011

Last Radiation Treatment

I know that it's been a bit since I've written about our journey. I appreciate your patience and understanding. It's crazy how one day can turn into many days before you know it. It seems like just yesterday that I said good bye to my kids for the summer, and today I found myself back at school in a staff meeting. It also seems like just yesterday when we were struggling to find a way through treatments with the dreaded mask. And today I took Joe to his 33rd and last treatment. Where did the summer go?

Overall, I think that Joe has done very well during these many weeks of radiation and chemo. Physically the worst has been feeling tired, which is annoying and at many times frustrating, but mild compared to the many things that we were warned about.

Today we went to the last treatment. He feels like he really got zapped today. We were also told to expect the effects of the radiation will last over the next several weeks. So it is to be expected that he'll be tired, but  the radiation is still killing the nasty tumor in his brain. So, that's a good thing.

He has an appointment with the doctor in a couple of weeks, and he'll have an MRI towards the end of September. The images from that MRI will let us know how the tumor responded to the radiation and chemo. So, for the next several weeks we'll have a rest from appointments, medications, and as much as we love them, doctors.

Thank you for following our journey and sending you prayers and warm wishes. I feel like one chapter has come to a close, and we are beginning another one. I'm grateful for the period of rest ahead of us.


on another note...

I'm excited for the new school year as well. I'll get to enjoy a new classroom, new partner, new grade, new curriculum, and some new students (Since I'm moving up to 6th grade from 5th, I look forward to continuing with some of my students from last year).

Monday, August 1, 2011

My Birthday!

In yesterday's post I talked about perspective. And today was my birthday.

It started out with a wonderful ride on Payton after taking Joe to work. I did not make it out before the heat in east county, but it was a great ride. I was grateful to see Bree waving an ice-cold water in my direction at the end of my ride. After Payton, I rode Cinco, and had another great time. :)

Then I took Joe for his weekly labs to monitor his counts, and then to radiation. Getting him back from radiation, he was ready for a long nap. After getting him settled, I took advantage of the beautiful day in San Diego to spent some time on the beach.

The warmth of the sand and the hypnotic sound of the waves reminded me that even when things in my life seem to be spinning out of control, the world around me is still going on. When I went out into the water I found dozens of live sand-dollars! They are purple and fuzzy. They were so neat!

My wonderful sister had invited me to dinner earlier, but needed to postpone. "No worries," I told her. "It's my birthday month!" So, Joe and I went to Olive Garden. I was craving gluten free pasta and wine. It was delicious!

All in all, it was great to have such a wonderful birthday! Although a lot in my life has changed since June 10th, it was really nice to feel like some things are the same... ish... :)

Perspective

Last week I was blessed to be able to spend time at the IDEAS science training. As in an activity we looked at several pictures taken up close of everyday objects. Some were really difficult to figure out.

I've been thinking a lot about Cheryl's comment to my last post about not always being Polyanna. She really helped me put the situation into perspective. She reminded me that a couple of weeks ago I wouldn't be worrying about someone taking Joe to his radiation appointment because neither Joe nor I were at a place where we would allow that to happen. We have made it to another part of our journey.

Looking back at the week, we both made a lot of progress. Monday was quite rocky as Joe ended up in the ER because his vision went a bit crazy, but made it to his radiation appointment after his vision returned to "normal"and everything checked out okay in the ER. Throughout Monday I checked my phone about a billion times worrying about him. It was a big relief when Andy (his dad) texted me that he was home safe from the "ray gun" appointment.

I was nervous on Tuesday as well, not because I didn't trust Tony (Tuesday's driver), but because it was out of my hands, my control. Again I checked my phone continuously throughout the day, and wasn't able to breathe deeply until hearing that he was home safe. Wednesday was the same. But by Thursday, I was able to let go of that worry as I realized that I could let go of that control and things would be okay. At the end of the day on Friday, I realized that I hadn't compulsively checked my phone at all during the day. Even more liberating at that moment was realizing that I wasn't anxious about checking it. :) YAY!

Since the diagnosis, so many people from so many different parts of our lives have not only sent warm thoughts, powerful prayers, and encouraging words, but they've offered to help. Over and over, the offer has been, "... whatever you need..." The offers have been so kind, but I haven't known where I need help nor have felt comfortable letting go of some of the responsibility.

This past week was a great exercise in both. As Cheryl pointed out, we were both at a point where this opportunity could happen.  I had a training providing the purpose for such an opportunity as it created a need from which I asked for help and found out that it was okay not only in theory, but also in practice.

Perspective can make all the difference in processing a situation.