I have been living a full life these past few months and loving it. But it wasn't always that way.
For six months I endured hospital stays, emergency room visits, many surgeries and painful pancreatic/bile duct adventures, all culminating in some very scary moments and a weight loss of 25 pounds.
Looking back I can now see that during that time I honestly didn't realize how much I had removed myself from, well, myself. I really wasn't the Jim I was before, nor was I the Jim I am today. I was the Jim of those difficult days. A Jim that did what he needed to do to get better. The Jim that saw the edge and came back.
And I think only those around me really could see that. I knew I was sick, but I was fighting so hard to get better (or just stay alive) that I was inwardly focused. I'm no doctor, but I think that's just nature's way of dealing with disease and death - probably not unlike the way pregnant women don't remember how bad child birth was. The thousands of years of DNA stories put our bodies in autopilot. So I fought.
I guess we all have our part. My body and mind go inward and focus a fight while those around me pick up the slack, as well as do whatever they can to help me physically and mentally.
Tracey did yeomens work indeed. Still does.
Neither of us want our parts but as a team we do what we can to get through the shit-storm.
Now that I am the Jim that has had three months of what I call renewed enlightenment I'm making sure I don't waste the freedom. And as I type this I kinda have to giggle a bit for I know I wrote about making each day count, and I know I was writing about that while I was Jim of the difficult days. And while the point of living for today is valid regardless of who is saying it, I now have a new learning, or additional enlightenment, to understand that there is a context to what living for today can mean.
I could go on an on with the lessons learned, but for now let me give the most simplistic example of how living for today is different for today's Jim than it was for Jim of the difficult days. In the last three months I have kayaked, I have hiked mountains, trails, streets and pathways. I have cycled the Glenmore Reservoir, I have played pickle ball, I have golfed many times, I Stampeded, I have been to countless dinner parties and celebrations. I have been to Toronto, Muskoka, Halifax and this weekend I proudly attended Circle Carnival, a roving community based event that I co-founded with Baran and James.
The weekend before 11 families went to Sundance Lodge in Kananaskis and camped in Teepees and Trappers tents. This is an event I have organized for 10 years now. Helluva great time too.
And when I was planning the Sundance trip I was certain I was planning it knowing that I was not going to be here to participate. But it was important to me that my family, and my friends would be able to continue the great tradition of getting families together. I felt it was important to make sure Tracey, Jack and Amanda continued to have opportunity to be surrounded by loving and caring families.
Last weekend Tracey and I went to Halifax for five days. My father passed away almost a year ago and the long weekend was the one time that the whole family was going to be able to get together to bury his ashes beside my mother's ashes. I told the family to plan the date that worked for them and if I was around, and if I could make it, then we would attend. We booked the flights three weeks ago. The trip was spectacular…especially seeing how much Tracey enjoyed her first Nova Scotian experience.
The story here is that I am taking as much time as I can to do interesting things with Tracey and the kids. I am trying hard to put plans in place, plans that serve as brass rings to reach for. Last week when Dr. R. decided it made sense to stay on the same chemo program both Tracey and looked at each other and knew what that meant.
Let's plan some more trips. Let's make sure we take advantage of today by planning some things for tomorrow. Building memories is my new objective.
Next big trip will include Jack and Amanda. Where in Canada it will be has yet to be decided, but thinking about tomorrow kinda helps us live in the today.