Medical Update ~ Time for Reflection

Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark. ~  Rabindranath Tagore

For those who may not know, 4.5 years ago my dear hubby Terry received the news that many of you can relate to, the “you have cancer” message.  To say this news took the wind out of our sails is an understatement.  We quickly began to unravel our plans to start our RV life as the future looked rather uncertain at this point.  Through divine grace, a mother’s keen recommendation for a must-have book, a close friend’s referral and unselfish gesture of taking us into their home post-surgery to heal, and the countless well-wishes of family and friends, we feel much stronger and wiser.

My strong he-man!

If a man is faced with this diagnosis, prostate cancer may be the lesser of many evils as most times it is a slow-growing cancer found in one’s “golden years” and it is left alone.  Unfortunately, Terry was informed he was too young and the tumor too large to ignore, so surgery seemed to be the best option.  Blessed with none of the horrid side-effects this disease can hand you, Terry donned the Lance Armstrong LiveStrong bracelet and vowed to wear it until he had reached the “industry standard” survival rate of 5 years.

On the trail, in his element

Fast-forward 4 years, through many anxious moments following regular PSA tests.  All had great results until this past January when Terry’s PSA score was somewhat elevated.  Once again we unraveled our plans as it seemed bone scans and MRI’s were in Terry’s near future and we felt the need to sit tight where there was a plethora of excellent medical facilities.

Last week yet another PSA test.  I try to put myself in Terry’s shoes as he leaves the lab and begins the waiting game.  Although I can empathize and pray for a good outcome, putting myself in his shoes is not possible, for this is his personal journey to walk.  We all have these, being unique individuals, and face life’s obstacles differently.  Terry knows I am by his side and for me, that is what is important.

Hiking the Oregon dunes

Terry’s latest PSA score was the same as the previous two, which means he has held steady for the past nine months.  The good news – the number has not increased.  The not-so-good news – the number is still somewhat elevated, which means there is something going on.  This “something going on” could be benign or could be something else; we don’t know.  The doctor is confident enough that he feels the watchful waiting can continue for another 6 months.

Many who now live with cancer or consider themselves survivors wear the Live Strong bracelet, as did Terry, until a few days ago when his broke. Ironically the break occurred while anxiously awaiting a return call from his doctor on the lab results.  His first thought was “wonder what that means?”.  My initial reaction was “you no longer need this; it’s time to move on”.

Living Strong

Terry and I often talk about how deeply grateful we are for the ability to experience life as we are, seeing this magnificent country, walking in nature, feeling the hand of something greater touching us.  We can dwell on the ‘something else’ or we can live in the present moment.  It is our choice and we choose to live the now.  Terry chooses to breathe in the beauty around him, the sights, the sounds, the smells, the people we are meeting along the way.  I choose the same, as I walk by his side.

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48 thoughts on “Medical Update ~ Time for Reflection

  • The waiting and uncertainty is the hardest part for me. I had my treatment and while it looks like it worked you never know for sure. The best you can do is enjoy every moment you’re give.

    I certainly have been enjoying reading about your travels. Hope you can continue for a long time.

    • Thanks Andrew. The waiting is most certainly the hard part. Even if the news is less than positive, you can develop a game plan. Best of luck to you with your health. We have enjoyed reading your blog as well.

  • I think that it is wonderful that you two are not allowing what might be dictate your present…that is very hard to do. I will pray for both of you, that you continue to know such strength and support for each other…and that Terry will stay healthy for a long, long, time to come.

    • Thanks Julia! We all deal with adversity and hopefully do not allow it to define who we are. Besides your sense of humor, I love reading your blog because of your positive attitude and feelings of hope and compassion that you exude.

  • les and i are always walking with you, thinking about you. les is a five time cancer survivor. live strong. you are truly getting an opportunity to explore this wonderful world we live in.

  • We walk with you both as well. I knew of two of your health issues Les but certainly not all. As much as I admired you before this news, I admire you even more. The way you both view the world is something many people could not fathom through that kind of adversity. Love you both!

  • Okay, now I have tears in my eyes. Terry, you never leave our prayers and Lu…you don’t leave them either. After I survived my third dance with cancer my daughter made me a barcelet that has “Believe”, “Courage” and “Strength” on it…to that I add “Faith”. To have someone like you, Lu, walking beside him is the most wonderful gift. Thank you for sharing your inspiring thoughts. Blessings and love to you both.

    • You, my dear dear friend, are the consummate example of faith, courage and strength. David is a lucky man and I know that he knows it. Sending hugs your way as you head back home. Love you both!

  • We are thinking about you as well each and every day. I must say that the good news about his PSA is that the past three tests has remained basically the same. We see this in a very positive way and the fact that Terry’s doctor feels that watchful waiting is the best course of action indicates good results in our minds. We are basically in the same mode with Roger’s PSA results every six months. Both of you have such positive outlooks on life which are an inspiration to each of us that are your friends. We look forward to your positive blog comments and are inspired by each of you. Rog & Gayl

    • Thanks you two. We are certainly thinking positive thoughts and will do so for Roger as well. Since we believe we have a choice, we choose to be happy. Doesn’t work every day but most it does! Are you still in Carlsbad or at home now?

  • Beautiful post, as usual, and glad to hear that things aren’t worse. My prayers are with you both. I know you both are strong and healthy, and may you stay that way. Love you both!

  • Knowing you and Terry, I know you both appreciate how very special this chapter of your life is … but what you are doing with it is remarkable. No one would wish for the circumstances of Terry’s health concerns in what should be the time to enjoy the fruits of your labor (my financial adviser, on the other hand, looking at my 401k, suggested I go to a 2 pack a day smoking habit) but as the enlightened ones say, “there is no destination, there is only the journey”, and so your “Retirement” becomes your greatest moment, where all you have become gives you this opportunity to share this life filled with grace and beauty. You have traveled so far to come to this place where now the student becomes the teacher … and I cannot hold back my tears at how beautifully you show an example of a significant life well lived. My love to you both and may blessings be upon you.

    • Devon, I wish you were here right now so I could give you a big hug. How eloquently you write and I feel honored that you took the time to post a comment on my little old blog. As I said earlier to a commenter, life is fleeting and I guess we begin to feel that way the older we get, so hopefully we begin to discover what is truly important in this life. The opportunity to make connections with special people (and in case you are wondering, you are in this category) and to love and be loved (and you are) is priceless. Also, that we are so blessed to be able to experience this beautiful country at this time in our lives is something we will treasure forever. You may not be doing the traveling we are right now but what you are sharing with others through your photography is such a special gift to all of us. We love you guy!

      P.S. If you would ever consider doing a guest post on my blog with some of your fabulous photography, I would be jazzed. Just say the word.

  • Thank you for sharing your story. What wonderful feeling to know you two are there for each other through the good and not-so-good times. So glad you two also decided to live life and not feel sorry for yourself and ask “Why us?” We will keep you in our prayers that the PSA number is lower on the next test.

  • thanks for the update, we have both of you in our prayers and put you on the prayer list at church, we envy you your travels as we lnow how much we enjoyed that lifestyle, to wake up in a new world each day and a great new experience is so awesome. take care and have good time. hugs kay and charlie

    • Thanks Kay and Charlie! It has touched us so much with all the warm wishes and prayers we have received. Wish you could take a spin around the country with us. We would have a blast. We will just have to get back to TX some time and look you two up! Until then, take care. Love you both!

  • I think living strong by living in the moment is a very brave and wise to choice. That you are strong enough to make the choice says a lot about Terry’s character and your character. What do I know, but I think it’s a positive sign that the doctor is taking a wait and see position. Enjoy your time–what a waste to worry only to find out it’s nothing! My thoughts are with you as I follow your blog. 🙂

    • Thanks for the warm wishes! We too believe it is a positive sign that the doctor is opting for watchful waiting. Life is fleeting and there is so much to see and do, and so many opportunities for giving back. It takes too much energy to be weighed down by negative baggage. Thanks for following and have a beautiful day!

  • Lu and Terry,
    I notice on the bracelet that, though the bond is broken, the message remains fully intact. A possible interpretation of this augury: you are now unfettered by the extraneous, and liberated to focus on the crux of the matter!
    We are wishing you both well in body, mind and spirit. You two set the standard for how to deal with the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune “. Hugs, ( and ice cold craft brews waiting for you here.)

    • Lisa, that is exactly what I told Terry, although not quite as eloquently as you stated it. Who knows what lurks around the corner for any of us? This has been a growth time for us, which it was meant to be. We both feel great and are so blessed to have this time to see such beauty in nature. Hope all is well at San Elijo. Keep that beer on ice and we will see you soon! P.S. We have tried a few new double IPAs in your honor while on the road.

  • That is beautiful LuAnn – you and Terry are truly an inspiration and may God bless you both with health and happiness always.

  • After living through this past year, it has made me realize how short life is. The best thing we can do is what you are doing—–live life to the fullest.
    Think of you often

  • You are so right Joyce! How sad that it usually takes something tragic to get our attention and make us see how fleeting our time is. Hope you are enjoying your time at YNP. Take care!

  • Living in the moment is so very difficult, but you both do a good job of making that happen. Thinking always of you guys and so happy to have met you…you enrich my life and that’s really the best gift we can hope for.

    • We can’t begin to express how blessed we feel to have crossed paths with you and Paul. Your insights and your many gracious tips show how you exemplify “living your passion”. We look forward to many more visits with you both.

  • I had no idea you were waging this battle. How wonderful that things remain stable and you can continue your travels. I am now a 7 year survivor. Today signed up for the Relay for Life sponsored by my church Sedona UMC. I will do the survivors walk. Love following your travels and fb posts from fellow YNP folks. Yearn to go into nature, so am hosting a campfire evening on Mingus Mt in the Prescott National Forest August 29th, 2012.

    • And I had no idea that you were a survivor as well. We believe in following our passion as life is fleeting. Your campfire evening on Mingus sounds great. Wish we could be there for it. Have a wonderful time and thanks for stopping by. I will be following you as well.

  • My wife is a survivor as well LuAnn and Terry. I know so well all the feelings you go through and I send my good wishes that the PSA is stable and my prayers that it stays that way or hopefully, improves. From reading so many of your blogs I have to say how beautiful I think it is that you are journeying together on this Earthwalk. In my Native American culture we have a prayer that seems most appropriate to send you both today that goes like this “May you always walk together in beauty.”

  • LuAnn, my most positive thoughts to Terry and you. My dad had prostrate cancer in his 40’s, he survived to be 86 years old (spending 65 years with my mom. :). The cancer would pop up a few times but he kept enjoying life and people. Then he’d be fine for a while. The doctors couldn’t figure it out. I think the two of you have the right idea, enjoy each new day as it comes – embrace it, have fun and love yourself, each other, your family, friends and life, You two are in my prayers, Penny

  • I stand shoulder to shoulder with Penny when she said “I think the two of you have the right idea, enjoy each new day as it comes – embrace it, have fun and love yourself, each other, your family, friends and life, You two are in my prayers, Penny”/Ralph. May your RV travel adventures continue on and on. 🙂

    • Thanks so much Ralph. We are enjoying our many discoveries in this beautiful country and embracing each day. None of us knows what time we have and each day should be viewed as a gift 😀

  • I had the same call, “you have Cancer”, it really put the future in our lives. After surgery and radiation we made the decision to sell the house and buy the RV and get on with our lives. It’s hard for the person with the cancer to share with the spouse without. But just having someone to stand next to you during the hard times and there are hard times makes it all worthwhile. Good thoughts and prayers to you both. Maybe we’ll meet on the road.

    • I know I will never be able to fully relate to hearing that message but I do know the helplessness felt as the spouse of one who had heard this. I believe the only thing we as spouses can do is to stand by and be the support needed, whatever that support looks like. Hope all is well with you now and that you are enjoying your time on the road. Thanks for stopping by and hope to meet you on the road sometime.

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