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Author Archives: Healing Eyes

falling … no end in sight

It only takes a week to be set all the way back to zero again. You can be moving along thinking things are getting better and then it just takes a second and it all starts again. Every memory, moment, feeling, fear, all rush back. We are less than 3 days away from the dreaded and anticipated CT Scan. Three months of waiting, wondering, dreading… what will show up this time. What is next? It must be the anticipation that is causing Andy to be so sick this week. Every night he’s sick, can’t eat, can’t keep food down. People don’t like to talk about things when they go bad. Pain hurts everyone, which must be why its a topic better left unspoken. People ask you, ‘How’s it going’? but they don’t really want to hear the truth. Sometimes its easier to just smile and nod with the standard ‘Ok’ response.

Less than 3 days away…

The familiar drive to the hospital…the cold entrance doors…the blank stares and fake smiles from the reception desk..that awful smell of cleaning supplies and sickness..the flickering fluorescent lights. Others sitting and waiting, all for various reasons, who knows if that person has cancer or just broke a leg.

Less than 3 days away… means nothing really, cancer or no cancer we still have no stomach. Try to comprehend what that means!!!!! You can’t eat your favorite meals, you can’t find comfort in food, eating hurts, socializing to eat isn’t enjoyable, its never the same again.  I have a stomach so I don’t really know what it’s like, its not fair for me to explain. But really! That stomach really is a necessity, you don’t appreciate something until it’s gone.  When doctors say, ” you can live without a stomach”, look at them and say, “really? You try it!”  Almost a year ago when this all started we had no idea how far down we would fall, I think even now we haven’t fallen to the bottom yet. .. it’s a test to see how subterranean we can go.

Healing Eyes

Why cancer doesn’t stop ruining your life after removal

When cancer is first found it will change everything, I mean everything in your life. It doesn’t matter what stage or what kind because it doesn’t discriminate. As it secretly burrowed it’s way into your blood stream it will continue to eak it’s way into every single minute of the day. If this sounds sad, complainy, whiney, or morbid than stop reading. If you came to this blog to find fuzzy rainbows of hope and half truths than go no farther. I only speak what’s real and share the hard parts of cancer that most can’t swallow.

It’s been almost 12 months since Andy was diagnosed. It’s been 8 months since the major surgery. It’s been 4 months since the last rounds of chemo.
His last ct scan in April showed pulmonary embolism which resulted in a hospital stay.

The impending follow up ct scan is now quickly approaching. Since people think the months between ct scans are a break. A reprieve from cancer. Time to catch your breathe. Each scan and year that passes are supposed to be milestones. None of that is true.. Like I said, cancer is always there and never far from your thoughts and fears.

I desperately hope the scans show nothing and we can wake up from this nightmare. The day after the scans we will feel no different, no magical weight will lift from our hearts. It will just be another passing trial of our patience and strength of love for each other.
I still will go to bed each night and see the wear and tear on Andy’s body. The exhaustion in his eyes as he fights to stay strong. With each day he gets stronger then next day could knock him down again. It’s the ebb and flow of cancer.
We hate cancer. We hate what it has done to our life. We hate how it never goes away.
I do not hate how strong we are, or that no matter the outcomes our love will always win.
Cancer is many things.. It takes so very much away.. But it can’t take away the one thing precious, the only thing that reacts the opposite to cancers vile poison. Cancer strengthens love.. It reveals what love is.

It is the hardest thing to watch your love suffer during and after cancer and all the times in between.

Powerless to help.. While begging for peace.

Healing Eyes

Something I Can Use

Something I Can Use.

Healing Eyes

Why cancer can just suck it

I hate cancer. Pure and simple. I hate that it chose us, I hate that it lingers on, I hate that now I have to be aware of cancer events and participate, I hate the knew vocabulary I’ve learned from being a caregiver, I hate hospitals, I hate being around sick people, i hate drugs, I hate going to a hospital and being reminded of what others are going thru, i just hate cancer.

I think I’ve earned the right to be blunt. Others with cancer have earned the right to be pissed. If you know what it’s like to have each of your days be a reminder of what was lost and gained than you have all the right in the world to be angry or glad or grateful.

There are things in our life right now, moments and experiences, that may never have happened if andy didn’t get the cancer. Would I like to erase all of that just to have a cancer free life? Yes!! Yes times a thousand I would go back to living a life worrying about other things, and not living this one where its never far from my mind of what cancer is next. Is there a day ahead where we have to do treatments again? To be on edge about diagnosis and quality of life?
Andy’s cancer is just a small blip on the war against cancer, if it hadn’t happened I wonder what lives wouldn’t have been touched by his journey. If we weren’t at the support groups sharing our story would it have mattered.

But you can’t ever turn back time…live each day and find those happy times…worry less of what you can’t prevent.

It seems that medicine has partial cures, partial answers, and no firm yes’s. If only someone out there can discover a magic potion that annihilates cancer in the blood. Prevents spread…and gives closure to those in remittance. Survivors deserve more! Andy deserves more.

Healing Eyes

My Butt Screams

If andy can beat Cancer than I can do a measly 80 miles for Cancer.

After a long 7 hours on the bike, half of which was in a deluge of rain, I was tired and in lots pain. It’s my way of putting my strength to the test since Andy has the strongest guy I know. His months of treatments and huge surgery just show how amazing he is to have survived and still smile:)

At about mile 70 my legs were screaming, my butt was in agony, and my mind was playing tricks on me. Cancer sucks but it wasn’t going to rob me of this small victory today!

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Healing Eyes

“When you are a…

“When you are absolutely clear about your intention, the universe will rise up to meet you” – Unknown Author

A co-worker shared this with me today..

Healing Eyes

One Week away!!

I’m going out and cycling for a real cause finally and not just because I’m crazy to ride long distance on an uncomfortable seat in hot weather.

Cancer SUCKS!!!!! If you agree with this than help me raise money for Cancer Research by donating anything, even just a dollar:)

DONATE TODAY

I am cycling 80 miles (and I haven’t been training because of being sick and family emergencies yikes, should be interesting test of endurance). It’s part of the MSU Gran Fondo Event for Skin Cancer Research. I know it’s not Gastric Cancer but really all cancers are related and one break thru can help another.

Healing Eyes

Escape from Cancer

It is possible to regain a piece of life after cancer. It won’t be the same reflection as before but in some ways it’s more precious and amazing than before cancer. You will appreciate the moments of happiness more, the forgotten smiles, the laughter that comes from enjoying each others company. Somewhere during our time in Jamaica we awoke that truly unique love for each other. It might have been all the sun, refreshing drinks, swimming, frolicking with the dolphins … But I’ll take any day that includes Andy smiling and being himself again…his new and improved awesome self.
I dare say the trip was a success with some speed bumps that we overcame. The manager at sandals was great and helped us with Andy’s eating arrangements. Even when we were down the manager and chef surprised us with evening treats and smiles. One Jamaican cook was shocked that andy had no stomach, he wanted to help and even said he would say a little prayer for him that night. There still was the awkward looks by waiters when we ordered such small portions but we tried to shrug them off.
Every night andy was exhausted from the day but finally it was a good tired. Being drained from cancer treatments is far worse than being tired from having fun on the beach and climbing waterfalls.

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Healing Eyes

Shall I have this dance

Life after cancer does exist.

Its shape and form is different but if you squint close enough you can see the light at the end and pieces of a past life emerge. Slowly Andy is growing stronger every day, we may have set backs out of the blue one day but then the next we bounce back. It’s not all cheery celebrations after beating the odds and shoving that cancer into remission. I dare say…with a very low whisper…I think we may just be seeing hope return. She disappeared for a bit but after going back home to where we first fell in love I dare say she is creeping back in. It’s strange how Marquette holds such a strong place in my heart, it pulls be back again and again. It reminds me of new life and where I found my Andy and learned how to be independent. Perhaps to get real philosophical, going back there at this point in our recovery was therapeutic because it allowed me to find my Andy again, to remind each other how strong our love is and that nothing seems to break it. Our life is a new one, we came close to losing each other because of cancer but we’re given a second chance. So many months ago Andy held me close and begged for more time with his Sarah and now we have it! We have started new this weekend, walked thru our old college campus and stood where we first met and caught each others glance. Walked up the same mountain we did over and over and stared out at Lake Superior which always calms the senses. Then we ran across the beach to our private spot hidden on the coast line that only him and I know is ours, the pups played in the water and explored hidden smells while I once again saw my Andy, before Cancer robbed us of months of our life.

Hope is something I want to hide from, push it aside and tell it to wait a bit more. It’s hard to explain why.. perhaps with hope comes disappointment.. and that means falling again. But no I will whisper very softly that hope can come back, if only to bring a smile to Andy and to hug our puppies even closer.

We are on a being pulled up the roller coaster and daring to reach the top again.. we aren’t quite there yet, it’s a slow journey to get back on top while dealing with our new challenges in life. We have all of June and July to live it up and get our feet planted again. Two months.. two months of time on our side. We are new to this ‘living with cancer’ and the counting of days that come with it. August is looming out there and what it signifies is scarey. 1 year since it all began from diagnosis to the ‘1 year survival’ title. The next round of scans and the unknown of what may or may not show up. I can’t say we are special in this step though, most people living with cancer have to do this dance, the dance of scans and waiting.

Healing Eyes

Heads stuck in the mud

What to write about when the doctor appointments have slowed down and Andy’s health is leveling out. That’s a tuffy. It’s easy to list our procedures and doctor visits in an update. Not so easy to share what it’s like after treatment is done.
The dust has settled and as i feared its not the easiest to just pick up and go on with things as they once were. Routines are different now and things we once enjoyed are tainted or lacking in fulfillment.

Andy drove to work twice without me. Strange letting go, it felt nice to be needed. But last week I got sick and he had to take care of me and himself. I am shocked I made it 8 months without getting sick. Maybe my body knew it was ok to weaken and catch a stupid virus at the start of summer. Or it could be I used up all my energy and immunity up over these past months and the virus snuck in while I was weak and my defenses were down. Either way I still am sick and andy has been a great nurse to me, feeding me and petting my head secretly at night to comfort me:)
I would do that to him at night to see if he was still breathing during those long chemo treatments. Seems a life time ago and not 2 months ago that the chemo stopped.

Andy is getting better though. Adapting to a no stomach life is hard though…I don’t know what it feels like but looking in from the outside it looks hard. Our meals are different now, I always ate less but now I look like I’m gorging on food. I feel guilty eating .. It’s not fair what happened to andy.

I’ve been searching blogs for others with gastric cancer but there are hardly any out there. The rarity of the cancer is painfully clear. The similarities of how others cope and experience cancer are comforting though. It’s comforting to read others journeys and to see so many “ah ha’s” between other strangers in the world.

For now we are waiting and hoping cancer stays away. But part of my brain can’t help but replay what the oncologist said to us during our last visit with her. I desperately asked her about reoccurrence and probability…knowing full well what I’d hear and how it wouldn’t be news that would help our healing. It’s a fine line between being prepared and sticking your head in the mud. We are told to enjoy each day and to not worry about what may happen in a month or two or a year or beyond. Continue living while still preparing ourselves for worst case scenarios. We need to collect all the medical records, ct and mri scans, to be ready to jump on a dime in case a specialist is in another network or state because you can’t fumble with that during a crisis. It’s a new living while knowing there is a bomb ticking away in the shadows, either waiting to explode or to diffuse….maybe if we are lucky they will only be small hiccup bombs in the future….or mud bubbles.

Healing Eyes