And the Countdown Begins

In the wee morning hours, I sit shrouded in solitude, my thoughts rousing me from slumber as they are wont to do.  This nighttime reverie has not always been my friend, but in this moment of waning darkness, it is a welcome companion taking me on an inward journey.  I find myself reflecting upon some hard truths I have learned these past few months, so many amazing family and friends who have blanketed us with love and support during a trying time, and a looking ahead to an ending of sorts.

This week is to be the final week of radiation treatments for hubby, a daily routine that we are both pleased will be ending soon.  Terry has breezed through these treatments, to the surprise and pleasure of his doctor and our immense relief, in large part we are told due to Terry’s fitness level, eating habits and positive attitude.  No more testing will be required  for six weeks, at which time another PSA test will be conducted to see that the radiation has done its job (and we are confident it has).

The diagnosis of recurrent prostate cancer could not have come at a more challenging time, given that we were deep into our prospective caregiver roles for his parents when the news arrived.   Challenges seldom seem to be timely companions but  bring with them some valuable lessons, growth opportunities, if we open ourselves up to them.

I always knew that Terry and I would handle this part of our journey with a positive attitude but I was not quite prepared for a discovery I made about myself.  It seems somewhere along the way I became perfectly imbalanced in my quest to balance caregiving, gardening, canning, further cancer education, nutrition plans, emotional support system for hubby, etc., etc.  At times it felt as though I was mired in a rare fugue state, an empty vessel.  Leaving very little for oneself is an undeniable risk for those who find themselves in caregiver roles.  I thought I had this one wired, knew how to walk this tightrope, done it so many times. Ha!

The love and support sent by so many helped to buoy us and our heartfelt gratitude knows no bounds.  The universe knows when to send what we need just when we need it.  A perfectly timed email, phone call, inspirational thought for the day, and strategically written blog posts were our allegorical life raft.  A few of you played prominently in our healing process, and hopefully I have properly shared my gratitude with each of you.

Beyond all those blessings, we were graced by two angels (in the form of a childhood friend and his spouse) who once again opened their home and hearts to us, the first time taking us in almost six years ago, allowing Terry to heal from his initial prostate surgery.

Our angel friends, Doug and Donna
Our angel friends, Doug and Donna

As Terry’s treatments took us to Columbus, weekdays were spent with these special angels and all that was required of me was a few home-cooked meals (perfect, as cooking is one of my passions).  I don’t know too many who would so unselfishly give of themselves in such a way.  I cannot express the gratitude and love we feel for these two for a debt we hope to never have to repay in like kind.

As I sit wrapped in earning morning solitude, raindrops gently tapping in perfect synchronicity upon the roof, I am reminded of a quote I came upon recently by Henri Nouwen that so aptly speaks to the personal connections we share with one another:

“When we honestly ask ourselves which persons in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.”   

We have been touched by so many from around the globe.  Please know these grateful hearts will not forget such kindness.

grateful heart

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82 thoughts on “And the Countdown Begins

  • It’s wonderful to hear that Terry is doing so well. You were in the right place at the right time for his treatment, that’s for sure. Anxious to hear about your next adventures, which, I hope, you can start soon. Love, and hugs to you both, as well as prayers.

  • Oh I’m so pleased to hear this news and I’m convinced that Terry’s PSA will be just fine…
    Your blog today reminds me so of Linda and my past.. those that were just there for one in the time of need, specially those times when I was trying to be strong for Linda’s sake but actually falling apart inside…
    This is the best post I’ve read in such a long time… and I want to share with you an email I got today…
    Stress Management for Women
    This is absolutely wonderful!!!!

    A young lady confidently walked around the room while leading and explaining stress management to an audience with a raised glass of water. Everyone knew she was going to ask the ultimate question, ‘half empty or half full?’…
    She fooled them all …. “How heavy is this glass of water?”
    she inquired with a smile. Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. To 20 oz.
    She replied , “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you’ll have to call an ambulance. In each case it’s the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”
    She continued, “and that’s the way it is with stress. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won’t be able to carry on.”
    “As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we’re refreshed, we can carry on with the burden – holding stress longer and better each time practiced. So, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night… Pick them up tomorrow.
    Tell Terry I continue to pray for his health and am so pleased to hear all is nearly over…

    • Bulldog,

      As I sit here with tears in my eyes, I have just finished telling my angel friend Donna how much I love the kind man you are, although we have never met nor may we ever. You are one of those amazing bloggers who have fed me these past several months with your stunning photos and your words of encouragement and concern. I know that you have been right where I was these past months, and I know from the bottom of my being that Linda had the perfect support system in her time of need in you.

      I love this stress management story and cannot believe I have never heard it before now. I am sending it to all my female friends who need to hear this message. Thank you so much for including it.

      For me, the fog is finally beginning to lift. I am beginning to feel whole once again, thanks to you and so many other wonderful, generous, loving spirits.

      Much love to you and Linda. 🙂

  • So happy to hear your writing voice once more, LuAnn. So glad to hear Terry is doing so well and that the treatments have come to a conclusion. Gayl and I talk about the two of you often and we are so glad things are progressing in a positive mode. RogG

    • Thanks so much Roger. Terry has done so well during his treatments and we feel confident he will continue in this same vein. It feels good to write again, to begin to feel “normal” again. Please give my best to your lovely wife and a big hug to you. 🙂

  • A beautiful and loving post LuAnn. It is a true blessing in life, to have such wonderful and caring friends. Life brings us bumps along the way and some are bigger than others, but the both of you with your positive attitudes and healthy lifestyle made it easier to handle this one. So sorry you and hubby had to experience this, but very glad to hear you will come through even stronger. Caregiving is a challenge and emotionally so hard on the strongest, so don’t feel bad about moments of weakness. Stay positive and strong! It is great to receive this heartfelt post.

    • Thanks so much Sheila. The combination of caregiving and Terry’s cancer treatments was the tipping point for me, particularly when we had to be in two separate cities to do the two. Running back and forth down the highway during the week was tiring for a gal who suffers too often from insomnia. 😉 It feels good to see an end to the treatments for Terry. Hope all is well with the two of you. Where are you off to first?

  • Lu–
    I’ve thinking about Terry for weeks now, but not writing. I remember those last sunny days we had together in Ajijic. I am so glad you have written, so glad to know this phase is over. We look forward to seeing you sometime in the future.
    –David & Les

    • Thanks so much David. We reminisce quite often about our time together in Ajijic, lovely days with two beautiful souls. I hope as of this writing that you are settled in WI with your lovely wife. If you are, please reach over and give her a big hug for me. Would love to see you both again.

  • As always, beautifully written LuAnn. How wonderful that you are finding a way to renew yourself. So many, especially women, forget to nurture themselves. Glad to hear Terry is doing well.

  • Lu, your thoughts are so awe inspiring. Thank you for sharing what on your heart. So glad to hear Terry is at the end of his treatment and doing so well. We continue to pray for total healing. He is so fortunate to have a loving wife by his side. Love you both.

    • Thanks so much Marcia. We have had so many prayers being offered up for his healing. It is no wonder that he has done so well with his treatments. Hope you and Carl are well. Sending lots of love to the two of you. 🙂

  • As I am English I should say *Jolly good show old bean” but in this case I’m going colonial and say “Woohoo !!” Fabulous news for you both. I am so pleased for you. Big hugs. Ralph xox 😀

  • So glad to receive the “good news” update. Lu you seem to once again be connected to your spiritual soul, trust you will continue to nourish yourself.
    Marilyn

    • Thank you my dear friend. We are now counting down the days. It felt good to write this post and to feel the fog starting to lift. Hope you and Stan enjoyed your time in NC. It would be lovely if you both found your way to FL this winter when we are there. 🙂

  • Thank you so much for delivering the good news! I cheer for Terry, and will continue to pray for him. So glad to know your two angel friends. Hope you get the rest you need. Take care, LuAnn. ~ love, Amy

    • Thank you so much for the lovely comment Amy. It feels wonderful to know the end is in sight for my hubby. I feel myself finally beginning to relax. Perhaps now I can get caught up on my blog reading. 🙂

  • SO glad to hear about Terry’s health improving…what a blessing this is for the both of you! You have been missed here in the blog world…sometimes we are given just what we need…when we need it…two beautiful angels…Donna and Doug…came along at the perfect time.

    • Thank you Laurie for your touching thoughts. It feels good to begin blogging again and start to decompress. Perhaps I will now be able to get caught up on what all you other wonderful bloggers are doing. BTW, I think you have a model in the making with that gorgeous “little man” of yours. 🙂

  • Yeah….she’s back! Oh, how I’ve missed your posts. And as usual, eloquently written. I’m so happy to hear how well Terry is doing with the treatments. Hopefully you’ve been able to find some ‘Lu’ time and recover from the summer’s ordeal. Soon you’ll be back on the road and snapping away……. 🙂

    • I could have used a drinking friend this summer Ingrid. Where were you?” 😉 Seriously, it is wonderful to begin the countdown for Terry and to know that the doc was so pleased that he has done so well through his treatments. I finally feel the fog beginning to lift and look forward to hitting the road again. I am just lovin’ your photography! 🙂

  • So happy to hear his treatments are going to so well, and to hear from you! You are always able to express things so eloquently no matter the subject matter so one can never forget how strong both of you are 🙂 We miss you, and I hope you can make it out this way when your new adventures begin!

    • Thanks so much Leah. It is wonderful to see the end in sight. We have loosely made some travel plans so hopefully we can get back out there soon. We plan to spend this winter in FL, close enough to Terry’s folks to be able to get back to OH if necessary. Hope you are doing well. Miss all of you at YNP!

  • Kisses n’ healing hugs to you and himself. Still missing you guys terribly. Onward, upward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling…. lisa n bill

    • We so wish we could be in SD with all of you and will be there in spirit. Thank you for your touching comment Lisa and your ear. I am thankful our paths have crossed and feel richer for the experience. Have a wonderful winter at San Elijo and give our best to Bill.

  • As others have said before me… so good to see your blog again! Still sending wishes that this ordeal is coming to a great conclusion. I can still hear my hubby reminding me (oh so many times): ‘this too shall pass’…

    Still waiting to see you here at my beaches soonest….. ♥ ♥ ♥

    • Thank you my kindred spirit. 🙂 It feels good to do something “normal” once again and to finally be able to decompress. We will be spending this winter in FL so we can get back to OH to assist if necessary, but Oregon always beckons so rest assured we will be at your beaches again.

  • Nothing is so strong as gentleness. Nothing is so gentle as real strength. I’ve thought of each of you so often over the past months. Of course, you were both in my prayers – always. The strength of your love for each other and the special “angels” in your life who helped to sustain both of you on your visits to Columbus keep hope alive. I know the journey continues – please know that we care – will always care – and send our gentle thoughts to you on the wings of love. Love comforts, it is gentle, it is warm and you can feel it within your entire being.

    • There is that eloquent writer that I have grown to love so! We talk of you and David so often and I still look forward to the day when we will sit down across from one another and share a glass of wine. I hope that you and David are now settled into a place of your own in WI and that you are enjoying your new job. Know that you are forever in our hearts. Much love to you both! 🙂

  • We are back in the land of the living. Going to try to catch up on everyone’s posts.

    What wonderful news about Terry. Another prayer answered by our faithful Lord.

    Someone told me once that friends are almost as invaluable as family. I found this to be true over and over again. Matters of fact, in a few instances, I have found that I can count on my friends more than a few family members. You two are so blessed to have such awesome, caring, loving friends. They, too, are blessed to have you two in their lives.

    • Thanks so much Marsha. We are excited to be able to close this chapter of our lives soon and so grateful for the support and love of family and friends. 🙂

  • This is indeed good news, Lu. How wonderful that your ‘angel friends’ have been walking beside you both and sharing the load, which must have been a considerable one. I’m sure that the tests will have a positive outcome, and will continue to keep you both in my thoughts. *hugs*

    • Thanks so much Sylvia. We are blessed with the love and support of such great friends and are confident the test results will be positive (as in good news). 🙂

  • You’re in our thoughts daily! We will be in the Sierra Nevada mountains by mid Oct if you happen to head that way {hint, hint}
    Nina

    • Thanks so much you two! We have such fond memories of our time spent in the Sierras with the two of you last year but don’t think it is in the cards for this year. Enjoy the remainder of your time at Cape Blanco.

    • Thanks so much for the comment Rommel. The road has been a little bumpy but the journey has not been without its rewards. 🙂 Hope you are enjoying your time away from sunny CA.

  • Oh LuAnn, I sat and cried when I read this,I wish Rob and I where there so that we could give you both a huge hug. I am so pleased to hear that Terry is better. Rob and I walked around each with our own feelings,trying to be strong for each other. Three weeks after my operation we sat down and talked about how each one of us felt, we even cried together and you know what,it was such good therapy. So please promise me that if you have not done this that you will. It really worked wonders for us. Love Linda

  • What a beautiful post, LuAnn:) You have an amazing gift with words. I so enjoy reading what you write.

    It is wonderful to hear that Terry is at the end of this last journey of treatment. So glad he handled it so well. I’ve been praying nightly for his recovery.

    I am sure you are more than ready to move on for various reasons. Looking forward to following your next adventure.

    Happy Travels wherever the roads take you:)

  • Your posts always tugs my heart for you speak from your heart. It is wonderful to hear Terry is doing very well! With God on your side, and your angels the challenges you faced became lighter.
    Looking forward to your trek down south and the fall colors you snap along the way.
    Take care, you are all in our thoughts and prayers.

  • Thanks for the update. I love the way you share your heart so well in your blogs.. I am so glad that Terry is doing so well. Praise God! I have had you on my heart and in my prayers especially recently. I am so glad to see how God has placed good people in your lives! Love, Jan Reimer

  • LuAnn and Terry, This is just THE Best news. James and I are so happy with your wonderful results. You are both such an inspiration to all of us – your love, commitment and compassion shine through. And I am so glad that you’ve been blessed with Doug and Donna – true angels. Wishing you all the very best, Terri and James

    • Terri & James,

      This is the loveliest of comments. Thanks so much! We are very blessed with some wonderful friends, much more so since I began to acquire some fabulous virtual friends through blogging. 🙂 Have a phenomenal trip. I look forward to each and every adventure you two have.

  • Over this past year and more I felt myself growing closer to you in spirit…in heart…each of those days building on one another until now. I scrolled down all the myriad of wonderful thoughts, prayers, and love and my eyes filled with happy tears of joy for you dearest friend. The support and love you have given and received is such a blessing just to witness…let alone be part of. You are such a special and unique soul….and I have, and will all ways call you my beloved friend…nay…family!!! Sending so very many Hugs and A wish for a never ending supply of Blessings for you and Terry both❤❤❤!!

    • Please know how very touched I always am by your words Christina and wish nothing but abundant love and happiness for you and your family. 🙂

      • Thank you so very much beloved friend!! I need to think of a better word than friend…for you are most certainly so very much more than that to me!! I am happy I could say something wonderful for you….as I so wished to do. Again, thank you for your amazing wishes and know I reciprocate them to you ❤❤❤!!! 🙂

      • This blogging community feels like a secret society of friends, like-minded, non-judgmental, connected across the globe by a shimmering gossamer thread. How blessed we are! 🙂

  • reading this was like sitting beside you on a very calm and tranquil dawn. although i am not there in person, i’m there in spirit, and i’m so glad to have a bit of reading time to see that the bell has been WRUNG (typo intended, as you two must feel as if you’ve been wrung thru a wringer and wrung dry!)

    z

    • It was a very moving and freeing experience. We are looking forward to calmer days! I have now purchased a sketch pad and some pencils so I have no more excuses!

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