I haven’t posted in over a year and at about this time in 2018 I was beginning my last chemo-therapy treatment. The past twelve months have had highs and lows and if I could sum it up in one word that word would be “reset.” Reset on all fronts along with a rebuild of the body, mind and spirit. People around me said cancer will change you but post cancer I longed to just get back to a normal and balanced life.

The treatment journey was quite a process and an exercise in patience. I made it through every round of chemo and it was pretty toxic with each cycle harder to tolerate than the previous. Besides having to take oral doses of chemo pills, over 1000, I did an intravenous round of oxaliplatin on the first day of each cycle.  Oxaliplatin is nasty. I did six rounds and this was post surgery and on top of doing chemo-radiation therapy before surgery. We did have to reduce the dosage on several cycles as we could see it was starting to damage the nerves in my fingers and toes but we made it and, theoretically, those treatments  destroyed any cancer cells left lingering in the body. I’ve been tested every three months since and all with positive results.

Looking back over the time that treatments started there is a bit of fog, there are lapses in memories but there is also a lot of joy. Cancer can make you go in different directions depending on the outcome or your disposition. We could settle into anger and ask why me or we can accept that this is just an outcome in life and, God willing, we have the resilience and strength to get through it along with the necessary support network and a team of professionals. When I say joy I’m referring to the ability to have a great reverence for life. The initial diagnosis was rather grave and I had a few days wondering about my affairs, my family and what’s next if there is a next.  Thankfully I was gifted with lots of “there will be a next…”

When treatments finished I learned pretty quickly how much damage chemo did. My body was trashed, my feet where in constant pain and I just didn’t have the strength I once had but that gave me a new challenge and I still had the desire to build fitness back and start living normally again.

Normal was not quite normal though. Post surgery left me with an ostomy and that was a challenge. A challenge at work, at home, sleeping, yoga to name a few but I didn’t let it hinder me. At first I was embarrassed to have an ostomy but over time it was just part of healing and thankfully it allowed my guts to have the time to rest and repair. I did a good job of hiding the ostomy and I even started doing some bike races which was a highlight for me even though I was last in every event! Thankfully the ostomy was temporary and this past winter I had it reversed and recovery was long and I’m still healing internally.

The journey, as I see it now, started two years ago and those past two years were some of the most difficult years in my life but I also see them as some of the best years. The support that rallied around me was beyond measure and my family, friends, business partner and colleagues were there at every level. I was given another chance and an opportunity to reset on many levels.

Keep on moving!

p.s. I’m back to training normally, working, tasting wine and living with a little more love than I did before.

About James Kendal

From finding form to building form
This entry was posted in cancer, coaching, Cycling, family, health and wellness, lifestyle. Bookmark the permalink.

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