Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Keeping Pace....

Probably one of the most important aspects to John’s Marathon training is finding that sweet spot where he can sustain his energy level throughout the race. This way, at the end when the finish is in sight, he can step on that gas pedal and give it all he has left in the tank.  During his runs he meticulously keeps track of every minute and every second from one mile to the next and disciplines himself to stay on track.  On race day John wears a wristband that shows him what the time splits should look at each mile marker so that he doesn’t get too far ahead of himself, or fall too far behind.

We are at day 5 post surgery and John is right on Pace!  Today the Doctors have decided that he is well enough to leave the confines of the hospital walls and continue healing in the comforts of home! His surgery went very well and the surgeons are extremely pleased with how everything went.  In a 12 hour surgery there is a lot to get through and there is always the uncertainty of the unknown.  John was fortunate to have an excellent team of Doctors who were prepared, motivated, and highly skilled. They went in fully understanding the importance of getting every last speck of cancerous cells in order to give John a decent shot at beating this "thing" we have come to know as SNUC.  These Doctors have helped John set the pace for what is next in the many miles ahead.  The race has just begun and we know they will be here to make sure that at each mile marker John’s splits are looking good and his pace is on track to where it is suppose to be.

There is a lot yet to accomplish before the inevitable treatments of radiation and chemotherapy begin: Dr.’s appointments, a PET scan, meetings with the cancer clinic’s dietician, dentist, counsellor, oncologists and so forth…but for now, John can find contentment in the rhythm one finds in the early stages of a race... and for this one; sleeping in his own bed, eating “real food”, gaining his strength back, and being continuously showered with love and support from his 3 boys, countless friends and caring family might just be that perfect rhythm he is looking for!  The course he is on is still unknown so he will have to tread lightly, however, there is definitely an optimism and the anticipation that all will be as it should…and really, why the heck shouldn’t it!

                                               Post Surgery:   Day 2 - Recovering well

Day 3 - Walking about!                                                         Day 5 - Going Home!

                                               Day 5 - What Matters!

Friday, September 18, 2015

12 Hour Surgery...Check!

When the alarm went off at 4:00am this morning I knew that it was go time!  John was already up and in the shower....During the early morning hours of any of John's big races, he would typically get up around this time to "carbo load"...ironically enough he was also given the same instructions in order to prepare for the surgery.  It was like any other race day and the familiarity of this ritual gave me confidence and hope that this was going to be a Good Day!

Check in time for surgery occurs between 5:30-5:45 am.  When we arrived at the hospital I was a little taken aback by the amount of people already patiently waiting to check in, however, it was race day after all and these other runners were also preparing for a race of their own.  The check in process was quick and efficient and in no time John and I were escorted to the "holding bay" where the nurses took care of much of the pre-surgery prep.  We met with John's Anesthesiologist, who turned out to be the "Head" of the entire department... with that in mind we both had even greater confidence going into this then we already had before...John was going into surgery with the BEST possible team assembled and we couldn't have asked for anything better!  By 7:30am it was time to give John one last kiss and the reassurance he needed that all would be okay...it was going to be a long day for all of us who love him, but only a moment in time for him.  I left John feeling confident and excited to see him reach that first mile marker in the race...he was on his way!

Surgery as expected took 12 hours...having fantastic friends with connections working on the inside, I was able to get positive updates throughout the day which put my mind, and many of yours, at ease!  The waiting game after work was longer than I had expected...yes I went to work! Those of you who know me understand that this was the best place for me to be.  Staying busy all day didn't allow me to be swallowed up by the "what ifs" of the surgery....being in the company of a couple great friends and some much needed wine also helped me pass the time with ease until I received that highly anticipated "phone call".

Listening to the Surgeon and hearing him reassure me that everything went as planned and that he couldn't be more happy with the outcome of John's surgery, was like that feeling you get when you know you are "winning" in a very tight race...Pure Elation!  I know we will be finding out more details in the next few days but for now this is the best news we have had in a while!  When you begin a race as long as a Marathon it is important to feel good right out of the gates....and today we all feel PRETTY DAM GOOD!! I don't think that the love and support that John, myself and the boys felt today can be outmatched!  For this I am truly grateful and feel blessed and lucky to have all of you lining the streets and cheering John on through this challenging part of the course!  What would he say about all of this?..."Piece of Cake!"   xoxo

                                                         John 2 hours post-surgery!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Starting Line....

Tonight is the night before John, my very brave and courageous husband, will endure a long and laboured surgery to remove a golf ball size tumor from his sinus cavities.  For those of you who have not yet heard the details of how this all came about, let me back track for a moment...

In June of this year John began to notice the occasional bloody discharge from his nose.  Pretty typical for someone with nasal issues, especially during allergy season, however, through the course of the next few months the bleeding became more frequent and eventually constant. Obviously this sounded off a few alarm bells but not the kind that seemed serious.  After a great trip to Las Vegas to watch the boys compete in a basketball tournament and a few days away in the heat of the Osoyoos sun,  John went to a walk in Clinic to get his nose checked.  At this point the bleeding from his nose was like a constant dripping faucet. The Doctor took a quick peek at John's nose, asked him a few questions and cauterized the vein he felt was the culprit.  Two days later his nose was now bleeding more than it ever was before so he went back to the clinic where the same Doctor realized it was more serious than he had initially anticipated.  From here the wheels were placed in motion and after a series of blood tests, CT scans and a biopsy, it was determined that John has cancer.  As for the specific type... well we have come to learn that it is Sinonasal Undifferentiated Carcinoma, or SNUC for short.  This is a rare cancer and presents to be highly aggressive and invasive.  There is also not a lot of data about this cancer due to it's rarity. That said, the Doctors are confident that once John undergoes this surgery to remove the tumor and then is subjected to Radiation and Chemotherapy, his chances of crossing that finish line is that much greater!!

.... Thursday, September 17, 2015 marks the first step in the Marathon of John's life!  Like previous races John has run, he will be challenged every step of the way, but like all the races he has run, he will have everyone who loves him cheering him on!  

Thank you to everyone who has been by our side from the moment John and I found out this awful news.  Your visits, text messages, emails, phone calls, prayers, and kind gestures of food, rides, books, and more importantly, unconditional love have made these past few weeks bearable for all of us!  Know that when John is wheeled into that O.R. tomorrow morning the strength that he has gathered from all of you, his friends and family, will give him the extra oomph he needs!  Let the Race begin....

xoxo Trixie