The last few months I have had a lot of firsts. Much like a baby who learns to do new things during her first year, I am learning to do new things during my first year post CAR-T Cell infusion. On September 14 it will be a year since they sang me Happy Birthday in the BMT (Bone Marrow Transplant) unit at Stanford Hospital. It is really hard to believe that next Thursday will be my one year PET scan.
The benefit of having PET scans every three months, is that I take the time to look at the past 3 months and all that I have been blessed to experience in 90 days. My life feels like it’s back to “normal”, only it’s definitely a new normal. One where I have taken on health and nutrition like a career and eat like my life depends on it… which in my case it does. Every day I thank God for allowing me to still be here.
During March through May, I was pretty strict on my “no processed sugar, whole food, plant-based diet.” I was faithful to my Budwig Protocol (the cottage cheese/flaxseed oil concoction that my friend Ryan so eloquently termed a “parfait”). It actually started to grow on me and even my sister Karin (who could be a food critic), thought it wasn’t bad.
I was diligent with packing kale and cabbage salads in my suitcase to Iowa in May, but I also relaxed a little in April during a girl’s trip in Sedona with my friend Shelley!
At times I would get a little obsessed about having to be perfect that it caused me anxiety when I wasn’t. So getting a good report in June (tumors shrinking) was beyond exciting and it made me realize that my goal should be Progress, not perfection.
Going through the summer in cancer-fighting mode was challenging. I traveled for 3 weeks during July to Idaho and California for vacation. Again, packing my food but trying not to be so rigid that I ruin a nice vacation. June-August definitely felt more indulgent than in the previous 6 months, because who doesn’t go on vacation and eat for fun? I did find these lovely little Vegan snacks… 😋
These are like Vegan Cheetos…
We had so much fun seeing friends in Idaho and I was back to playing golf… which felt so great. I even played in the Ladies’ Member-Guest with my buddy Shari and we took 4th place… Woo Hoo! Not bad since I haven’t been playing in a while!
I also took a trip to Palo Alto to see my cousins Liz and Janet whom I hadn’t seen in 8 years! It was so nice to reconnect with them and hang with their kiddos! And in LA, we got a special impromptu treat to see an old family Friend, Cathy Mao who lives on Hermosa Beach 🙂
But by far the most exciting thing I did this summer was going to Disneyland for Trinity’s dance competition.
It was so fun to be there and it made me so grateful to have the energy to run around the amusement park all day.
I even found humor in some t-shirts I could relate to…
In the past I would opt out from some of the rides (particularly the dropsy ones), but not this time. I rode them all… and it was exhilarating and awesome. Despite my strong dislike of that “dropping sensation”, I embraced that Tower of Terror, turned Guardians of the Galaxy ride and found myself starting to crave that thrill versus being afraid of it.
It made me draw this analogy: Isn’t life one big roller coaster though?
With highs and lows and loops that get thrown at you when you least expect it. My personal experience is that when I am on a roller coaster ride, if I relax and let myself go with the energy and motions of the ride versus tensing up and resisting what’s coming next, it’s a lot easier and more fun. Each time we loaded onto a ride, I noticed how faithfully the ride operators did their safety checks on each passenger, making sure the restraints are properly locked and in place. Can you imagine if you didn’t have yours in place before riding the Incredicoaster?
After almost two years of dealing with cancer, I can say that God is my safety restraint that I have pulled tight around me so that instead of falling when my life gets turned upside down, I can relax and enjoy the ride.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.” Psalms 91:2
I have one week before my next PET scan. Rather than using the phrase “fighting cancer”, I had a woman share with me that perhaps I could use a less antagonistic phrase like “experiencing cancer” because when we fight something, it has the tendency to “fight back”. I liked her recommendation because honestly this “experience” hasn’t been all bad. So for now, I will tighten my safety restraint, keep doing what I can, and realize that God is ultimately in the driver’s seat as I continue this “experience”.
Please be praying next Thursday for a good scan report. I love new normal and hope that I can stay in this moment for a while.
Onward and Upward,