Wednesday, November 14, 2012
: to walk or march steadily and usually laboriously
or as I have heard it defined most accurately:
To trudge: the slow, weary, depressing yet determined walk of a man who has nothing left in life except the impulse to simply soldier on.
We've been doing a lot of trudging lately, here, in the Thies house, or at least if feels that way. I had a decent check up at Mayo a few months ago. My liver is still looking good and though my lung tumors are still growing, they are doing so at a slow pace. There was some discussion with my oncologist about possible treatments for my lung tumors and a clinical trial was proposed, but I left undecided... and I am still undecided. I return to Mayo in a couple of weeks for my normal scans and check-up and I expect the trial will be discussed again.
Back at home, I decided to return to work on "a limited basis", and since it is near impossible to have your own classroom on "a limited basis", I am substitute teaching 2 - 3 days a week. I decided to return to work mostly in efforts to help make ends meet financially around here, but also partly because I miss being in the classroom. Let me tell you, working again has been a huge adjustment, not just for me, but for Kylynn as well. Subbing is tough, not that I thought it would be a breeze, but some days... Wow! And I can't even begin to tell you how exhausted I am. Most evenings, by 8:00 (8:00 folks! What the heck!), I am ready to go to bed, and often do. This is a tiredness that I have never felt before. I don't like it. But I trudge on.
And worse than my trudging, and likely adding to my trudging, is that fact that Kylynn seems to be trudging too. Since school has started, Kylynn has been having a rough time. I can't recall a time when I have ever seen Kylynn this out of sorts. She has a lot going on, my wee one. Respecting her privacy I will just say this, I can only imagine what it must be like to be 8 years old and to know your mom has cancer and to understand all that that could mean (and make no mistake, Kylynn understands). And on top of that worry she has normal 8 year old stuff going on, school issues, friend issues, normal kid stuff. My baby is trudging, it breaks my heart.
Now, this may seem off topic, but bear with me:
The philosopher Friedrich, Nietzsche once said: “If you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.” Now to be fair, that is really only half the quote, and taken as a whole means something a little different than what I'm getting at but, taking just that part I get this from it: Dwell for too long on any one thing and it can consume you or define you. There are many different "abysses" that we could gaze into in our lives but around here the biggest abyss is cancer. And it is a dangerous abyss to say the least, full of whys, hows, and what ifs. Gazing into that abyss never produces any answers, only more questions and uncertainties, and it is an abyss that gazes almost instantly back into you. Now, I am an adult, I know that it doesn't do to dwell on cancer (though every caner fighter is entitled to from time to time, in my opinion) and so I keep busy, and Kylynn keeps me busy, and more often than not I am able to skirt the edge of the abyss without too much gazing into it. Kylynn, however, is just a child, a fact which neither protects her from the abyss of cancer nor equips her with any weapons to fight its gaze. So we, the adults in her life, do our best to give her distractions while trying to teach her ways to fight the abyss on her own. But she is a small warrior. Brave. Strong. But small, and still learning. She revels in her dancing and karate, both of which provide her with an armor or sorts against the abyss of cancer, and she enjoys being with her friends and family which also give her some safety, for those things I am grateful beyond words. But her abyss defenses are not fully formed yet.
And so we trudge on, one foot in front of the other, me trying to guide my girl's steps away from the abyss even as my own falter. But even on the rainiest day, when the abyss yawns greater and more immense than ever and our heavy hearts cause use to trudge, there are friends, true friends, who lighten our burdens, and family whose ever present love gently pushes us away from the abyss. We are blessed, even in our struggles.
Sunday, May 20, 2012
|Kylynn and Me|
The second item that I recently crossed off my bucket list was seeing my little Aria in her first feis. (A feis is an Irish dance competition.) Kylynn loves Irish dancing and, in my humble and perhaps a little biased opinion, she is really quite good. I thought that perhaps competing might make Ari a little nervous but it didn't seem to faze her at all. In fact, my little dancer has told me a few times how much she likes to be on stage. I am so proud of Kylynn and her dancing and I love the confidence that it has given her and all the wonderful dance friends that she has made. Kylynn's circle of support has been growing by leaps and bounds and, while that is an item that will never be fully crossed off my list, it makes my heart happy to know that she continues to gain true friends who will be there for her if I have to leave her earlier than I would like.
|Neil, Me, & Ryan!|
|Neil & Ryan holding a message for Kylynn|
Sunday, March 18, 2012
Wow! It really has been a long time since I last posted. So much has been going on, and I am happy to report that is mostly good stuff!
First, I returned to Mayo in January for a check-up. It was four months since my last check so I was quite nervous. However, everything still looks stable! My liver is still full of big holes from tumors being removed but there is no sign of new tumor growth. YEA!!!! My lungs still have all of the tumors that were the before, but they are growing at a such a slow rate that my doctor feels that there is no need to restart chemo right now. And here is the most surprising news, my doctor said I can go six, count them, SIX, months before I have to return for another check-up. That means the rest of Kylynn's school year will not have to be disrupted by my being away at the doctor. In fact, this school year has been Kylynn's first since she started school that I have only had to make two trips up to Mayo Clinic. That makes me smile.
In other news, Kylynn has been keeping me quite busy with her Irish dancing. We just finished up the St. Patrick's Day marathon of performances where my Aria was in ten shows over the course of a week. It was a lot of fun and I am so proud of my girl, but I am also exhausted. Now it is on to the Spring Performance and Kylynn's first feis (Irish dance competition) in May!
So there you have it. A happy little girl and six months before I have to return to Mayo. Many people have been asking me what I am doing about my cancer and the best answer I can think of to sum up what I am doing right now is a quote from my man, Han Solo in Return of the Jedi:
Luke: Vader's on that ship.
Han Solo: Now don't get jittery, Luke. There are a lot of command ships. Keep your distance, though, Chewie, but don't look like you're trying to keeping your distance.
Chewbacca: [barks something]
Han Solo: I don't know. Fly casual.
That's me, I'm flying casual, keeping my distance from cancer and Mayo without looking like I'm trying to keep my distance. :)
So it would seem that even the worst storm has to recede sometime and though it almost certainly will return, you learn to enjoy the sun when it shines and master the art of flying casual!