As most know, NATE IS DONE WITH TREATMENT!!!!!!!! A week ago he finished and it was possibly the best day of our lives! February 24th is the day that, as far we know, he is officially cancer free!! You def can believe we will be celebrating every Feb. 24th for the rest of our lives! We spent the day celebrating which included a surprise party with his family (thanks, guys!)! I truly hope that we actually can celebrate every year as another cancer free year. As it stands right now he has around a 40% chance of it coming back. But with each passing day, week, month, year those odds go down. Though I have heard so many sad stories of the cancer coming back 5, 10, 15 years later, Nate and I promised each other that we are going to live as if it will never come back. Living in fear of it coming back would be the worst. So here’s to adventurous lives with no thought of cancer!
A few pictures of what radiation looks like!
Though, we can’t quite push it out of our minds quite yet. He still has to get surgery on his jaw, 2 surgeries on his eye, get teeth implanted, and possibly just a touch up one for the roof of his mouth. We have an appointment next week and hopefully we’ll get a better timeline on when all of those will happen. We know that Nate at least has a couple months of time away from hospitals and doctors to just heal! We are very grateful for that.
Speaking of Nate healing, he is still doing well. I wish I could say he made it through all of radiation scotch free, but unfortunately the last few weeks have hit him pretty hard. Most food still makes him sick & his mouth and throat have so many sores on them. I am a baby when I get one canker sore…I can’t even imagine having my whole mouth and throat covered in them! As you can imagine, eating is a super hard chore these days and he has lost some weight. Still a few pounds above where he was post surgery, but he is working hard to not lose more! Other than the mouth issues, he says that his face in general just hurts. Fortunately it’s not constant, but every once in a while he’ll grimace and say that it feels like someone is stabbing his face. And on top of everything, his whole body generally just feels sickish most of the time. Luckily he can relax enough that he can sleep. And he definitely sleeps a lot! I feel like he is a new borne babe – he sleeps more than he is awake! Though these past weeks have been hard, we are both super grateful that he made it through treatment better than most. And I gotta give major props to Nate. I know he is uncomfortable all the time, but he still tries to get out and be a normal person for at least a little each day. I think it helps him, but it helps me even more. I need a few hours each day where I can feel like there is nothing wrong with my Husband. Thanks, Hun, you’re such a boss.
Some pictures of our days at home…
|playing outside and watching the “truchs” (trucks). Ames’ obsession in life.|
|One of Nate’s activities is playing with Ames. Ames LOVES tents, so Nate set our up and they have spent many hours playing in there.|
As I mentioned above, I often think of writing posts. I’ve been thinking of why sometimes it seems so easy for me to write often, and other times I just can’t bring myself to do it. And although most of the time I can ride it off as busyness, this time I can’t. We really aren’t too busy. I have come to realize that I just go through phases of ‘coping’. Now, again, it’s not like I’m sitting in a closet crying the days away, but our lives are a little harder & complicated than normal. And being the analyzer that I am, I’ve realized that with the different stages of this ‘cancer process’ I’ve gone through different stages of handling it. When he was first diagnosed I wanted to talk about it and share it. I needed y’alls comments & support. It helped me wrap my head around what was about to happen and reassured we had a TON of people right with us. Then during his surgery and the few weeks after I seriously wanted nothing more than to hunker down and wait out the storm. The day of his surgery I literally did this, but the following weeks after I did it internally. I had to just put all of my emotions in a storm cellar in order to take care of Nate – he was feeling all the yucky emotions enough for the both of us! As he was getting back to himself post surgery, I feel like I was more or less my normal, semi-emotional self. Emotions came and went normally. Then radiation started and we were back in the cancer world. This time around my coping was physical…
Running has been a big part of my life the past 10 years. At different times in my life it has meant different things to me. Sometimes it was all about times, getting faster, and winning. Other times it was only about getting outside to enjoy nature. Sometimes it was to think and process my life. Sometimes it was to gain & strengthen friendships.
This time around it has been everything. I’ve run because I need to be outside in nature – away from hospitals or cooped up houses. I run because I need to ‘girl talk’ and vent (thanks, Heidi). I run because I have more thoughts, worries, and “life” on my mind than ever before. I run because I have the Boston Marathon & some track races planned & I really want to PR so I can have that conquering feeling that I need in my life right now. And I have a new reason why I run now…
I run because Nate can’t.
|A little track action from a couple weeks ago.|
Nate is the most passionate person I know & one of his biggest passions is running. Right before he was diagnosed with cancer he had actually decided to ‘go for it’ one more time and seriously train to see if he could do something with it. I have a crystal clear picture of a run we went on just a few days before we found out about his cancer – his last real run to date. We had gotten into trail running a bit and we were able to go on a little trail run after he got off of work one evening. I was running behind him as we were descending &, besides checking him out, I remember thinking how effortless he looked. He has a body that was built to run and a passion to fuel it. He legit looked like he was just flying down a rocky, single track trail.
Then cancer happened. And although the docs say he’ll be able to run…he is missing his whole fibula bone and a good chunk of muscle. We aren’t sure if he’ll be able to ever run how he likes to run again. We can’t be sure that he’ll be able to look like he’s merely floating around a track while running a 46 sec. 400. And even if he will be able to (I pray that he will), it won’t be for a long time. He has a good long while of more surgeries and more healing ahead. Luckily, however, he is also SO passionate about coaching. Like, I don’t know if you’ve seen this kind of passion. With his spare time these days he reads articles upon articles of human physiology and coaching philosophies. He has started to combine all his experience and knowledge into a philosophy of his own and has a word document to prove it.
I run because I am running for Nate. I am letting him at least get a taste of it by virtue of coaching me. I’m letting him try all of his coaching experiments on me so he can see how I adapt (and believe me, he doesn’t hold back because I am his wife – hello 16 miles averaging 7:06 pace). I am trying to keep his passion burning bright at a time where he doesn’t have energy to do much.
I mentioned above that he has a few hours each day where he tries to be normal…a few days a week those hours are timing me & his sister Heidi during our prescribed workouts. And it’s not only me, Heidi and all of his Forca running athletes have seriously helped him a ton these past few months. It’s been so good for him (and me) to have his coaching passion to distract him! (P.S. he has an online coaching business called Forca Running….you can check it out here: http://forcarunning.com/)
|Nate timing & taking pictures of Heidi & I doing some 1ks in a blizzard.|
Running has once again proved to make life fuller & clearer.
I’m sure that as life goes on running will ebb and flow and have different meanings to me.
But one thing can always be certain…