I’m a young woman, like many of you perhaps. I am a wife. I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am a friend. I am a farmer. I am a yogi. I am a kayaker and a hiker; a lover of plants and a gazer of birds. I am dreamer and also a realist. I am a teacher. I am a student. I love to be outside, doing things physically with my body and in nature. I’ve been called a lizard because I find the sun spots and relish when it settles on and warms my skin. I love starry nights and rain storms. I love my dog, Vida, who found me when I lived in Costa Rica. I love how her ears flip and flop about with her mood. I adore my husband, Steve, whose blue eyes that I quickly fell in love with, now look deep into my soul as though they will cure my cancer magically – and they just might. I enjoy eating and I relish in the foods grown by the good people around where we live. I love a good cup of coffee. And a hoppy-ass beer.
And I have cancer. Colon cancer, specifically. That’s one of the “good” cancers, I’m told – like that’s supposed to help. And to be honest, I had cancer but they don’t know if I have it anymore because maybe – maybe they “got it all”. But cancer is NOT and WILL NOT be what my life is about, not now or ever. Cancer cannot and will not have my life. It can only distract me momentarily, and even those moments will not be long. My life has too many wonderful things filling it up that will out complete cancer. There is just no space or time for downers like cancer.
The back story: The night before our wedding, August 15th, 2014, I started feeling stomach pains. Assuming it was nerves, I fell asleep and ate little the next day. For the 11 months that followed, the discomfort continued. Being farmers and healthful people, my diet was quite good, but decided to make some changes. I went off gluten. No change. Went back on. Went off coffee. Alcohol, refined sugar. All no change. I kept a food journal. I followed an Ayurvedic diet for my Dosha. I ate chia seeds and psyllium. I drank more ginger tea than normal, and mint tea! But my stomach pains seemed almost completely disconnected to what I put in my mouth. I saw my primary care doctors several times during these 11 months. I saw a GI doctor too. Other than the GI passively suggesting that I get colonoscopy, the doctors seemed to have little concern because I’m “not the type of person who gets colon cancer”. I’m 35 years old. I’m a healthy, active farmer and yoga teacher. There is no colon cancer in family history. Colonoscopies are rather invasive, as you may know. And though I wasn’t opposed to getting one, I asked the doctors three things: what could we possibly find on a colonoscopy and how would we treat it if we found it and 3, is there any other test we can do that might give us a glimpse at why I’m in pain. Their answers were wishy washy and “there wasn’t another test to do”.
Unfortunately, they weren’t exactly correct. Early July my discomfort turned into sharp pain. I hadn’t gone to the bathroom for days. And on Thursday, July 16 went to the ER for pain I could no longer tolerate. I was admitted for surgery to remove a rather large tumor that had formed in my colon. With the tumor, 17 of 29 lymph nodes also had cancer, and so I have started the path of 6-months of chemotherapy to hopefully kick this cancer in the ass – literally! This blog will be whatever I want it to be, I guess. Thoughts I have, whether wise or random, updates on my health or diagnosis, pictures or poems that make me happy… and anything else in between, about nothing and everything.
Sharing thoughts and stories makes us real humans and connect us more deeply to each other as sentient beings. Thanks for reading and being interested in my story.