Home really is where the heart is, and my heart is here in Knoxville, with my sweet hubby and all of my family and friends.
Still, as I prepared to celebrate the end of my proton therapy treatment for bile duct cancer, I was thankful for my time in Houston. For the hope of healing and health that that proton therapy has given me, and for the professional care provided by the MD Anderson staff since my bile duct cancer diagnosis. And I do mean care -- these people truly do care. From Rose and Adele, who worked my insurance appeals, to Deborah at the front desk and the radiation technicians Lainey, Jay, Huma and Kristen.
My proton therapy graduation
I think they were just as excited for my "graduation" as I was. At MD Anderson's Proton Therapy Center, it is a tradition to ring the gong after your final treatment as a symbol of the restoration of balance, harmony and life energy.
That's exactly what I aimed to do, too, during the next three months while the doctors monitored my cancer -- regain my balance based on clear priorities, find harmony in a time unencumbered by harsh treatments, and restore my energy through a renewed regimen for my mind, body and soul. I wasn't going to worry about the waiting. Through my cancer journey I had learned to live with the uncertainty, but it wasn't easy to achieve this understanding.
Coping with the swirl of uncertainty
For me, the waiting and the uncertainty have been among the most trying parts of this journey. I had my first meltdown about cancer treatment a few months before my graduation, just after my dad had passed away. To make matters worse, I was having trouble with my insurance company.
The memorial service for my dad was on hold until we knew when I would be going to Houston for radiation treatment. My flight and lodging for Houston? On hold. Next steps if the appeals were denied? Who knows? My work schedule? In flux.
I remained in a swirl of uncertainty. But then, I realized something: Aren't we always, when we really think about it?
With that knowledge in mind, I'm approaching this next round of waiting a little differently. While I can't deny praying for more, I've learned to live with it. It is so hard for us to take one step at a time, walking patiently. We want to rush ahead to the conclusion. But in doing so, we miss the rewards of the journey.
So just as I love the peace and beauty of walking along a mountain trail to the summit, I'm relishing the time I've been given to regain my balance, find harmony and restore my energy.