Driving West, The Cancer Word, Moving On

Sunset over Lake Erie

In mid-September I left New Jersey and my sister’s home and began heading west. Elsie the cat and I moved back into our little home on wheels and took off. I have been slowly making my way west, exploring Pennsylvania, stopping to visit family in Ohio and taking time to bird watch along the south shore of Lake Erie.

I spent three lovely days visiting good friends, Helen and Norb, in Chicago before once again heading west. I am now in Lincoln, NE visiting with good friends, waiting out a cold front that is coming through before once again heading west.

For all of my friends that are experiencing very cold conditions at night, I am afraid I am going to bypass you this time. Why? 10 degrees F. is just a bit too cold for my rig. I am going to be driving south and then west so I don’t have to winterize my little home on wheels.

I will arrive in San Diego on October 20. I am scheduled for surgery to remove the other half of my thyroid on October 25. With the support of my doctors I put off this surgery until after my grand summer vacation in Africa. Now I have to move ahead. I guess the vacation is over.

I have been contemplating, otherwise known as thinking, about my life coming up. I am nervous about this surgery. I am apprehensive about the outcome. A few days ago I woke in the morning with the realization that I am experiencing the “C” word for the second time in my life and I am feeling a bit overwhelmed, a bit nervous, and a bit scared, and a bit emotional. Ah life continues to hand out the surprises.

There is another feeling I have been experiencing this time with cancer and that is the sense of feeling very alone in this big wide world. When I had breast cancer, Jim was alive and was my major every day support. This time I am having to create my support team. And, honestly?, I am missing Jim.

After seeing Jim go through head and neck cancer I swore that was the one type of cancer I did not want to tackle. Now here I am. I am trying very hard to separate the two experiences yet that is hard to do. I know they are different kinds of cancer but seriously who cares? Cancer is cancer and it is a hard thing to handle.

I know I have heard all the words; “I have a friend (aunt, sister…) who had thyroid cancer and they had their thyroid removed and are fine”, “If you are going to have cancer, this is the a good cancer to have” (that is a horrible thing to say to someone, there is no good cancer to have), “you will be just fine” (how do you know?), “God never gives you more than you can handle” (bull on this one-don’t ever, ever, ever say this to anyone-ever), “It is a simple surgery” (What? there is not simple surgery). And the words go on.

On the positive side of this is that my friends are stepping forward.

  • During the weekend of surgery, Nancy is taking care of Miss Elsie.
  • Cynthia and Ward are taking me into their home to love me pre and post op.
  • Phyllis, I know, will be waiting in the wings to help however I will let her.
  • Helen and Dave, my friends in Lincoln told me to let them know if I need them and they will get into their tiny home on wheels and head west. (this was enough to bring tears to my eyes)
  • My friend Sharon, in southern Utah wants to be contacted post surgery so she can, from a distance love and support me.
  • My immediate family are too far away to physically help out, but I know they will be supporting me from a distance.

I am more than a bit overwhelmed by my friends near and far who will be loving me as I face this newest challenge in my life.

And in the midst of all this “C” stuff well here I am, once again in another October. Today would have been Jim’s birthday. Yesterday he went into the hospital for the last time. Six days from now I have a birthday. The day after my birthday Jim died. Now I have surgery on the 25th. Well isn’t that an actioned packed month. October seems to be more and more a month I struggle to get through. I appreciated when November 1 comes around.

Isn’t this an uplifting post? I have always tried to be honest with who I am in the moment and what I am going through. From the moment I posted my first post I told myself to write from the heart and I hope that I have succeeded in doing this.

Today this is who I am and tomorrow, well, I may be different. Tomorrow I will be moving south and west. Just like the other snowbirds I am heading to the sun and warmth. To my friends in San Diego, I will see you in about ten days and I look forward to reuniting with you.

In the meantime I will drive and explore and be amazed at the places I see. I will remember to breath, deeply and long and relax. And yes the camera will be coming out and join me for the ride. Miss Elsie is as always is my sidekick. I am looking west toward the rest of my life.

14 thoughts on “Driving West, The Cancer Word, Moving On

  1. This post really touched my heart Janet. I canโ€™t imagine what it is like to have cancer but please know that I am praying for you and your doctors and caretakers. Sending virtual hugs your way! ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป

  2. Thank you Janet for sharing the richness and beauty of how you are living your life, day to day, taking each day, each turn, each amazing view and not only taking them into yourself, but photographing these amazing moments and sharing them with us. I am awed by your beauty and your Light, and your willingness to share them both. You are in my heart and my thoughts as you go through the next few weeks. Blessings to you, Charlotte

  3. Hi Janet,
    Let me know when you get back to SD. I would like to see you befor surgery. If not call me when you feel like socializing. If you need anything I am here, just give me a call. Anxious to hear about your trip to Africa. I leave on 11/14. If I donโ€™t see you before surgery the best to you & speedy recovery.

  4. Thank you for your honesty and allowing us all to participate in this piece of your life. You have wonderful friends and they are gifts beyond measure. Being alone is especially hard and they will help fill that void in the weeks to come. I wish you a successful surgery, a restful recovery, and hopefully your fear will subside.

  5. Janet, I love your candor and willingness to express exactly what’s going on. Please know that you have many folks who follow you on your adventures and who are there to support you however we can. I will hold you in my thoughts on your day of surgery and recuperation. Hope to see you on the road one of these days.

  6. Janet, I always admire your honesty and frankness and how you do your best to handle difficulties. You are inspiring in every way! My thoughts and prayers are with you as you approach yet another bridge to cross. I will pray specifically for a successful surgery and outcome for sure. I wish I were closer by to assist you in your needs. Continued safe travels back with Elsie.
    Loving thoughts, Pauline

  7. I started reading your posts as you are honestly describing a path that lots of us are on. I now also read them in the hope that somehow you know that there are people beyond your immediate circle who wish you well and many more years of happy travel with Miss Elsie. Take care.

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