Monumental Improvements Every Week

Rich is doing amazingly well. Each week is a huge improvement over the former week, when it comes to his energy, stamina and mental acuity. Six weeks ago, it was a big deal for him to sit up all day. This week, he’s been walking around our loop, which is a mile of rolling hills. He’s done the loop 3 times, each time a little quicker and stronger. Rich is really good at wearing himself out, but it’s taking much more to wear him out today, than it did even a week or two ago.

He’s working again, as he is able. Some days, that means 2 hours…some days it means 7…and some days that means not at all. It really depends on his energy and stamina for the day. His first priority is to take care of his recovery…everything else is icing on the cake, after that.

His hair is returning…his muscles are getting stronger…and his smile is still on his face.

Recovery is a long, hard journey. It’s hard to know what to expect of yourself…and what you’re able to do can change from day to day (either for the good, or the bad). When he was going through chemo, we didn’t expect to get much of anything else done in our lives. Now, without active treatments, we’re in a strange limbo between being sick, and being healthy. It’s not an easy place to be, and it continues to be an exhausting journey. Yet, there are respites…

Yesterday was our 14th wedding anniversary. Normally, I work on Wednesdays. Not yesterday. We dropped the kids off at school, then headed to Yosemite for the day. It was our first time being able to really enjoy Yosemite since March or so…what a wonderful blessing. It was like going to see an old friend…comforting, refreshing and invigorating. I kept thanking God for the fact that I still have a husband…that he was able to walk beside me to explore Happy Isles…and that he was looking healthy and happy. I watched Rich rock hop across the Merced River…we probably walked about 2 miles yesterday (a TON for Rich). We wandered…talked…saw some old friends…breathed the fresh autumn air…and just felt happy to BE…and happy to BE TOGETHER. After sunset, we ventured to Oakhurst and went out to dinner at Bass Lake (thank you, Mom and Dad for watching the kiddos). I love my husband.

This marks the first year that we haven’t gone to the High Sierra (Tuolumne Meadows; Mammoth Lakes; etc)…not even once. Not even for a day drive. We tried to drive up to Glacier Point a few weeks ago, but Rich experienced some sharp chest pains. Not in his heart, but in his sternum/chest muscles…not sure what that’s about. Yesterday, he did great on the drive to the valley (The road goes over 6000 feet on the way there…and Rich actually drove us there, which was his first time driving outside of Oakhurst), but on the way home, we had to turn around and take HWY 140, which has a much lower elevation. So, there is something going on with his body…it seems that fatigue and high elevation creates some sort of issue that causes his chest muscles to cramp. The good news is that it was better yesterday than it had been in previous weeks. The bad news is that it probably won’t go away enough to venture to the High Sierra before the snow falls. The funny thing is that it doesn’t really matter. It’s strange to type that, because we normally LIVE for the summer; hiking; exploring; being up in the mountains. And a part of me feels like summer didn’t exist, because we didn’t get to participate in any of that…the other part is just thankful to have a husband…thankful to hopefully have more years up there, when he’ll be healthy.

Prayer requests for us:

– Pray for us while Rich is in recovery. It’s a frustrating and challenging time, in many ways. As we poke our heads above water, there is a lot to take care of that’s been ignored for the past 5-6 months. It can be overwhelming. We are learning a lot about prioritizing. We are also getting a pretty serious blow to our perfectionistic natures (because we just can’t be perfect…or even very good…at much of anything right now). It’s frustrating, but we’re also learning a lot from it.

– Pray for Rich’s health. Pray that the residual mass is cancer free, and even that it continues to shrink. He’ll have a CT Scan next month (November), and it will show whether there are any changes. His bloodwork and chest X Ray in September looked great. He’ll have more labs done next week, prior to his next appointment with this oncologist.

– Rich has been having some pain in his stomach/intestines after eating lately. The pain is reminiscent of the pain he felt when he was initially diagnosed. The big difference is that TUMS helps with this pain…and it didn’t help prior the cancer being discovered. Pray that this pain is just acid reflux, and nothing more serious.

– Keep our kids in your prayers. They are doing great…but keep them in your prayers.

Thank you for caring! It is so wonderful to be out in the world again…eating lunch at Pizza Factory…going to work more often…NOT driving to Fresno (I haven’t been there in 3 weeks, I think!)…seeing friends. We’re so thankful.

Love, Rich & Susan

3 Responses to “Monumental Improvements Every Week”

  1. Laurel R Says:

    You are all in my thoughts! Happy anniversary too! You’ve already weathered more than many couples will in a lifetime together; so good to read you’re still both going strong.

  2. Kathy Mohorter Says:

    Each day is a blessings, as you know, so enjoy and know that the prayers are continuing up to God for all of you!
    Love cousin Kathy

  3. jacky smithson (robjak) Says:

    Hi Rich robjak here from Tag. I have been following your journey, and am SO PLEASED for you that it seems you are on the up! Well done also to your family who I am sure have been your rock through all of this as has your faith. Take care, you are in my thoughts. I don’t pray as such, but have a little word with the big man sometimes, and I will mention you next time we ‘chat’

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