Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Life after the big “C

When I was diagnosed with cancer it was the biggest shock of my life!  I couldn't think straight and I was in so much pain I couldn't comprehend anything.  It's the type of news that takes your breath away.  Fighting cancer is another story.  It is a 24hr 7 days a week battle with no break.  All of your time and energy goes into beating it!

So what happens after cancer?  It is hard to go back to what you thought of as normal.  You've just had a life altering pitch fork thrown into the mix and in my case had dramatic changes because of the cancer.  My paralysis prevented me from returning to racing as a pro athlete.  Then there was the arrival of the twins . . . a huge blessing but life altering again!

For 6 months after their birth I was a walking zombie.  I was lucky to get 2hrs of sleep.  It was very similar to the first year of cancer only I wasn't in any pain.  I didn't have a clue to what I was doing.  Thank goodness for natural instinct that got me through and my sheer tenacity to not crack under the pressure.  There were times I would cry but just like the cancer I picked myself up and carried on.  I didn't have a choice because two little ones were dependent on me.

Being new parents put a natural strain on my marriage.  I'm sure cancer played its part as well.  But thankfully we are blessed with many friends who stepped up and helped us through the difficult time.  Then we lost our beloved chocolate lab Sandy.  We all took her passing hard especially her daughter Rikki.  She still mopes around looking for her.  Sandy was there for me the whole time I was sick.  Losing her was like losing a piece of me.  I still break down every time I think about her and all the fun we had.

This summer Courtney and I were in search of something to do together.  For 10 years we ran, swam and rode bikes.  Without that there seemed to be a void . . . something missing.  With my disability and competitiveness it wasn't going to be easy.  And the winner was . . . WAKEBOARDING!  Believe it or not I actually did pretty well.  After one day of tweaking my stance on the board I was ripping around.  Eventually I was jumping . . . yes JUMPING!! It was only a small jump but I got some air!

Things were going great!  And then I spoke too soon!  On Thanksgiving, God reminded us of what's most important when a stack of towels caught fire in our bathroom.  We were lucky in so many ways.  The first being no one (not even our dog) was home.  The second was that both doors were closed so lack of oxygen smothered the fire before the entire house went up in flames.  Instead we only had smoke damage.  I shouldn't say "only" because it still left us homeless and needing to move into my dad's house until the house is fixed up.  The one good thing that came out of all of this  . . . I finally get my much needed disabled friendly bathroom!  Woo Hoo!!

Living at my dad's meant Christmas at his house instead of ours.  Not a problem until I had to truck all of my Christmas decorations down!  I limited myself to only 3 boxes but it was still a lot!  Just when things seemed to be going well . . . . Rikki went missing for over 18 hours in downtown Sacramento.  Courtney decided to take her to work in the evening on one of his jobs.  She got away from him in the blink of an eye.  This was unlike her but since her mom died she hasn't been herself.  When we finally found her it was apparent she had been hit by a car.  She had a collapsed lung, fluid around the area and an enlarged stomach.  They also thought she might have a fractured leg but we didn't have the money to x-ray so we treated her as if she did!  They kept her overnight and she was on bed rest for the next 4-6 weeks.  I was stressed and devastated!  As if I needed this after everything I was enduring.  I certainly needed to lean on God for even more strength and he delivered!

Before we knew it we were celebrating Ryder and Christian's FIRST birthday!  In light of being a Dr. Seuss fan the theme of the party was Cat in the Hat.  The boys were Thing 1 and Thing 2.  We already had their homemade costumes from Halloween!  Sixty-one people came to celebrate this momentous occasion.  I'm sure there would have been more if we had the room!  It was a joy to finally celebrate something wonderful!  We were grateful to all the family and friends who showed up!

I've had two cancer scans since my last blog and both have been clean!  What a blessing!  We were able to get back to the ICTN camp this year.  My favorite thing to do!  Pastor Dan dedicated the boys in front of the campers!  It was awesome!

While we were gone, Richard from Awake Ministries had a crew at our house installing a new roof.  What an amazing job they did!  I finally have a covered porch to walk under when it rains.  This may not seem like a big deal but when you walk as slow as I do and have two little ones . . . you get the point!

This brings you all up to date. . . But I did forget one thing.  It has been 3 years since the last time I rode a bike outdoors.  A few weeks ago Courtney picked up a tandem from Sherwood at Ventana bikes and took me for a ride.  There were so many things wrong (my brace wasn't stiff enough, bike was too small for both of us, my leg kept hitting the frame and my ankle was hitting the crank) but I didn't care because I was out riding and that is all that mattered!

Powered By God,



Lincoln said...

Great to see you back at blogging. Keep 'em coming as your able. What a year you guys had.

Anonymous said...

God has showed himself true in your life Jamie. So glad to see you writing again. May God continue to bless you and your family.

J-DAWG said...

Thanks guys! I'm glad to be back at it!


TriEric said...

Thanks for the update Jamie. Your strength and resolve is uplifting despite all of the hardship you have had to endure.

You are truly powered by God.

Anonymous said...

I have been following your story and I pray for you and wish you strength and courage. Being an athlete, will fuel yourself beyond what you will understand. You really are stronger than you think you are. Rock on sister.

Anonymous said...

Great to see you out riding at Rancho Seco today, July 9, 2011!