It was a lovely day for a drive, even a drive to Toronto.
It was a lovely day to be driving. The traffic was decent. It was nice to have a mid afternoon appointment with the oncologist. It allowed me to take my time and enjoy the day. Lori-Anne worked from home and worked good chunk of her day before we had to leave. Me, I took my time getting up, having a shower, hanging out with Morgan, and I got to catch up on an episode of Outlander. All in all it was a relaxed morning.
A nice pit stop along the way
Lori-Anne and I left at 12:15 pm and headed down the highway. We stopped for a bite to eat along the way, and that was good, because I needed a stretch, so stopping in Milton was an excellent thing to do. As we always do, Lori-Anne and I had a great conversation along this journey down the 401. I have come to appreciate how well we converse and communicate. We laughed a few times recalling how our communication has changed over the years of sharing life together for 33 exceptional years. It is amazing to recall the nuances of speech, the body language, the breathing and exhaling and what those things convey in the moment they occur. I am blessed to walk my life with Lori-Anne. She understands how I am wired, and I understand her, and there is a lot of grace there, in our relationship. We can be totally honest and accepting of each other and that is so important.
Every serious bit of road in Ontario seems to be in maintenance and upgrade mode
We left Milton around 2 pm, and that was good. I had a 3:30 pm appointment, so that gave us enough time. Getting near Mississauga, that infamous Mavis Road, the traffic started to bottleneck and become congestive. You could feel it happening all around you and all you could do is make sure you were in the correct lane as there was too much half hazard driving taking place from people around me. Everyone was driving like they were in bumper cars, edging in and edging out, and all were obviously impatient. There is nothing worse than being stuck in traffic with people all doing what they should not do to try and get out of the traffic. I was calm and just took my time and kept myself aware of my surroundings.
The congested journey to the parkade
We reached University Avenue with plenty of time. It was 2:35 pm. I made the u-turn where I needed to, to go southbound on University and to turn on Elm, but I did it one street early. I did it at Dundas. So I had to go down two blocks on Dundas, turn right, and then right again on Elm, and left on the corner of the Hasty Market where all the parkades are located. I turned into the parkade on the left. This time there was room on the 3’rd floor. I did not have to be concerned about the parking. We got to the elevator and to the first floor and made our way to Princess Margaret. I took Lori-Anne a different route. We were used to cutting through the emerge at Mount Sinai. So, instead, I walked down to the bottom end of the street and there was the drop off and pick up point at Princess Margaret, the same place where I got dropped off and picked up when I was there for treatments in January and February of this year. It was so much more convenient.
Back into the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre Breast Cancer Clinic
We got registered at the desk at the Breast Cancer Clinic on the third floor at 2:55 pm. Shelley, the nurse came and got us at 3:05 pm. My oncologist and his resident came to see Lori-Anne and I. I reviewed my last three months with them. The oncologist looked at my skin and commented that it had healed really well from the radiation. He was very pleased. They asked the usual questions about having good energy, feeling any weakness, and cautioned me to watch and monitor what I do and how my body responds. They asked if I had any breathing problems or any flue like symptoms. They were trying to gauge the effects of the radiation on my body. I was reminded that the radiation to my right chest wall could weaken my ribs and I could break some ribs if I was not careful. We also spoke of being aware of the situation where if I notice any pain, lumps and bumps on my skin, especially along the surgical scar line. They determined that I should get an x-ray in six months to keep watch on my lungs to make sure nothing has spread. Of note the oncologist mentioned that cancer can appear within a ten year span in other areas of the body due to radiation, and the most likely, due to the radiated chest wall, would be my right lung. So, these are things I have to be aware of moving forward.
The blessings of having time to prepare for the future
It can be a daunting thing, to think that things could happen down the road. But, none of us are given any guarantees in life. I have been blessed and fortunate in my life. Up until I was 39 I had just minor sprains, breaks, and then I had to deal with Type 2 Diabetes, and a broken back (compressed L4/L5) and broken right forearm and right elbow from a tobogganing accident. Then at age 57 I had to deal with cancer (this past year). I have been fortunate in having had successful cancer surgery and successful radiation therapy. Now I am on an organic food diet and cancer fighting natural supplements and Vitamin C IV therapy. I am doing what I can to mitigate the chances of a recurrence of cancer.
The ongoing health journey and road to good health
This was the first step in the journey to a yearly checkup. In six months I will see the oncologist again, on 23 November. I will go down earlier in the day, and get an x-ray done, and then see the physician in the mid afternoon. I am thankful for all the professional care I continue to receive from my own GP, my oncologist, and my naturopath. The integrated approach I believe will give me the benefit of living a better quality of life with reduced risks of a recurring of cancer. I have my blood sugars under control. I have my diet under control. I am exercising as I can each day with walks and my glider. I am taking my supplements that enhance and benefit my health and well being. I have a healthy love life and a loving family. I have more than enough reasons to fully embrace and enjoy life.
Applied life means planning and executing the plan
So, my mindset is to apply myself in the weeks and months ahead. It is to be even healthier by the time I have my six month checkup in November. I also see the general surgeon in November, a year removed from the surgery. So that will be quite a month.
Thankful to God for my life journey
I am thankful to God. I am thankful for his sustaining grace and mercy. I am thankful that I have my life to live, and that I can take my life one day at a time. I am thankful that I can enjoy life and celebrate life with each day, enjoying it to the max. I am thankful too, that I can journey this life better prepared for what all of us must actually embrace, and that is our own eventual death.
Doing what is only right and proper for loved ones ~ making estate and funeral plans
To be fair to family and loved ones, I believe that it is a good thing for those of us in those middle age years, to do some planning, both estate planning, and funeral preparations. So, I will plan out my funeral service, and put it on a DVD. I will put all the music I want, and even a short message of my own, as strange as it may be to some, I want a few parting words of my own to the world and to my friends. I want to take all the stress off my wife and family, so that they do not have to worry about all the preparations after the fact. I want it all looked after way ahead of time. The burden is too great on families when they are in the middle of grieving the loss of a loved one. Why not help the process along and do what you can do to help them out. This is my part in this process.
Removing the clutter of life, both physical and spiritual
Part of this for me includes looking at my life, and what I have accumulated over the years. Lori-Anne and I have spoken often about downsizing and that does not mean leaving the home we have lived in, but it does mean getting rid of stuff we have accumulated over the years. It seems that over time, you get rid of stuff, only to make more room for more stuff. This time we are talking about getting rid of stuff we are most unlikely to ever need or use again. For me that is a big challenge, for I love my books. I have about a thousand books that I have had since my mid teen years, a lot of history books. I think I am going to part ways with most of my history books. I am going to look at selling them, likely on eBay. I need to remove the burden of all my books, and streamline it down, so that I have what I really want and need. I have reached the point of keeping only what I have to have. It will reduce my books to about five hundred books from the three thousand I currently have. So that is my challenge. Reducing the library to five hundred books. This is my goad for this spring and summer.
Examining and reviewing my life and my mortality
So, this is what this visit with the oncologist has done. It has elevated my need to review my life and my own mortality and to better for life in the future. My wife doesn’t need the added stress and neither do I. Removing junk and clutter is as much a spiritual thing as a physical thing. So in many ways this spiritual exercise of facing my own eventual death means that I am better preparing myself and my family for my death. We can all try to run away from it, but we cannot hide. Death comes to us all. Death is not a foe to be feared. Death is but a door way, an exit from one way of life, and an entrance into everlasting life and union with God. Life continues, and it is not only different, but to the max and to the full! So, as long as I am here, I am embracing my life and all of its challenges to the full. How about you?
We are all “dead men walking” and some of us are just in denial of our impending death, be it this year or thirty years from now. What are you hanging on to? What is holding you back from really living your life? What can you let go off, and just really live free and to the max? Really living is up to you.
~ Samuel M. Buick