Summer is winding down quickly. I have one week left of my main job, two weeks left of summer school, DCI finals are just around the corner, I’m moving apartments and before I know it, I’ll be in full-time school. I’m holding on to each day and look forward to finishing the summer strong.
Pitchfork Music Festival
Last weekend, Andrew and I went to Pitchfork. The day was filled with three stages of great music, great beer and memorable weather. We also hit it off with people from the Rock for Kids booth–a great nonprofit in Chicago bringing music education to underserved children. I’m hoping to volunteer with them eventually.
The headline of the concert was Bjork, and she certainly delivered. While most of the day was beautiful and sunny, the concert ended with Bjork saying, “Well, I was just informed by the weather service that you all must leave now. I should tell you this wouldn’t have been the case if we were in Iceland.” Hah. So, we all evacuated and within minutes there was torrential downpour. An abrupt ending, but a memorable day nonetheless.
‘Tumor Marker’ and PET Scan Results
Prior to my last scan and then this PET scan, I had blood work completed to check out my thyroglobulin level. This is considered a “tumor marker” and signals problems. If everything was clear, it would be 0. Having even 1 or 2 is considered high for thyroid cancer patients. My level came back 9.1, which means there is certainly remaining cells in my body. After a failed full-body scan which would normally show anything remaining in the body, no matter how small, we went to plan B and did a PET scan a couple weeks a go. While an extremely detailed and powerful test, PET scans only show sizable masses, so my doctor was not expecting to see what he needed to see.
As anticipated, the scan came back clear. This would be great news, if they thought another round of radiation would take care of anything remaining. However, it appears my body is not responding to radiation any longer, so we are essentially waiting until cells are large enough to see on scans and then deciding where to go from there. This could mean further surgery or alternative treatment. It’s just a waiting game at this point. I’ll have a neck ultrasound August 26, the first week of my full-time law school classes, and then I’ll talk with my doctor the next week to talk about treatment and next steps.
If you are the praying type, I ask you to kindly lift up the next couple months for me. It is unnerving that I could potentially be in the same position I was last year around this time (diagnosed just days before school began, had to pursue surgery and radiation, thus putting school off a year). My heart is heavy knowing how this could potentially pan out.
No matter what happens at the beginning of the school year, one fact remains, I’ll have completed my first law school class! It’s hard to believe there are only two weeks remaining in this course (terrifying). I’ve been joking with my friends that if school is hindered again this fall, I could just take one class every summer and graduate in a decade. 😉 Oi
I am continuing to heal from the latest surgery and pursue physical therapy. Some days are much better than others. Lately it’s been frustrating because my face has been particularly swollen. While my body weight is now exactly like it was before the surgeries and radiation (small victory), my face is very swollen. I can tell in every picture of myself and every time I look in the mirror now–it’s a constant reminder that everything has changed.
It may not be obvious to others, but it’s infuriating to me. My surgeon said that because they removed over 50 lymph nodes in my neck between the surgeries, my body has a difficult time draining from surgery and repairing itself like a body normally would. There’s a lot of residual fluid that may never leave. This also contributes you my consistent pain.
I can tell you, it is certainly humbling. I try not to let it get to my head (and face 😉 ). I’m learning to let go and try to think less about what used to be and instead focus on what is and what will be.
Feeding my Adventurous Spirit
I was rereading some of my favorite sections of Into the Wild the other day. I do this frequently when I have an itch to just run away to a new adventure, meet new people and breath in new air (often…very often). I wanted to share the following excerpt with you all. I hope it brings you life and challenges you, the same.
“I’d like to repeat the advice that I gave you before, in that I think you really should make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.
If you want to get more out of life, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty. And so, in short, get out of Salton City and hit the Road. I guarantee you will be very glad you did. But I fear that you will ignore my advice. You think that I am stubborn, but you are even more stubborn than me. You had a wonderful chance on your drive back to see one of the greatest sights on earth, the Grand Canyon, something every American should see at least once in his life. But for some reason incomprehensible to me you wanted nothing but to bolt for home as quickly as possible, right back to the same situation which you see day after day after day. I fear you will follow this same inclination in the future and thus fail to discover all the wonderful things that God has placed around us to discover.
Don’t settle down and sit in one place. Move around, be nomadic, make each day a new horizon. You are still going to live a long time, and it would be a shame if you did not take the opportunity to revolutionize your life and move into an entirely new realm of experience.
You are wrong if you think Joy emanates only or principally from human relationships. God has placed it all around us. It is in everything and anything we might experience. We just have to have the courage to turn against our habitual lifestyle and engage in unconventional living.
My point is that you do not need me or anyone else around to bring this new kind of light in your life. It is simply waiting out there for you to grasp it, and all you have to do is reach for it. The only person you are fighting is yourself and your stubbornness to engage in new circumstances.”
— Jon Krakauer (Into the Wild)