I’m in the last steps of being discharged from the hospital after my week long stay. I expect to be out in an hour and thought I would start a post to describe the experience.
But I’m stumped as to what the message is at this point. On one hand I’m thrilled to be going home and that is a psychological thriller all on its own. On the other hand there is security here within these walls.
This week has been very tough physically and mentally.
The pain has been top tier and a big part of why I stayed as long as I have. While it’s not gone it is certainly manageable with the home strategy we have built. So as long as something significant doesn’t happen I am covered I believe. Hurts mostly if I move the abdomen around too much and this is the Ischemic pain that is caused by the lack of blood and oxygen supply to the tumour and ultimately the pancreas. It’s a mother tucker of a pain, and when I eat it gets worse. So I gotta tough it out out, eat, keep moving and doing all the healthy activities to get better but they all cause pain. Sooo the balance is to be managed with the meds.
This then leads the psychological part where you would rather just lie on a couch and close your eyes. Everything feels better when you do nothing. But with it comes muscle atrophy, weight loss, and onslaught of negative self management.
So you push through it and lean on the positive mindset you know you have within you. You get up and move. You eat smaller portions. You must be willing to take the pain meds even though you don’t like taking them. You go outside and enjoy the wind, the sun or rain, sounds of birds and kids laughing in the park. You make sure you don’t isolate yourself from others, but you visit in small doses.
And to manage all this you remember that this is temporary and this soon shall pass - so push through it and you’ll feel better once you break to the other side.
And if you are me you make sure you set some targets to aim for. My next target has had to move dates once already but if the next two days work out I will be on a plane on Thursday to Beaver Valley, Ontario to play with 17 old friends. These are guys I grew up with, some as long as 40+ years of friendship. These are those guys from junior high, high school, University, first real jobs etc. Guys that have your back and know you as well as you know yourself. The bonds are strong and the accumulated adventures are beyond description. I’ve been working on organizing the assembly of these guys for a couple of months. It has been my North Star, my brass ring, my end of the run tape, my carrot at the end of the stick, my tool to have something positive at the end of another arduous challenge.
And it looks like I’m well set up to go. And from Beaver Valley I will take a week in Muskoka to relax with Tracey, Amanda and the rest of Tracey’s family.
This break is when the physical and mental challenges of last month and specifically the last week start fading into the background.
Not sure the intensity is how everyone should do it, but’s it’s the only way I know how. Get off palliative ward, rest for three days and jump on a plane to visit with the magical 17. It’s like my buddy Dug likes to say ‘damn the torpedoes full steam ahead.’
From Ward 47 to Cottage Country. Here we go.