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Michelle Kendall - Journal

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Posted 2016-06-27T21:23:00Z

Allison's Adventures in Oxford

Yesterday we said goodbye to Allison Moehlis, another friend whose travel was funded by the "Cancer Warrior Treasure Chest."  Thank you again, Sally and Bob!!  Allison brought us a burst of California positivity.  She spent the week with us, scrubbing and massaging my feet, doing errands, and generally keeping my spirits up.  Allison is a rare friend, one who would fly halfway around the world and spend a week asking me, "how can I help you today?"  She even offered to shave her head with me!  I was the reluctant one, hoping I have enough hair -- however thin -- to make it through one more chemo round before I need to go bald.  But her most amazing gift is dedicating her upcoming Ironman Triathalon to ME!  She writes about her athletic training for the online news site, Santa Barbara Noozhawk.   I will let her article stand as today's blog post.    [...]

Posted 2016-06-25T17:50:00Z

Greetings from a small island that is "Not Europe"

Living in the pro EU stronghold of Oxford, the "leave" posters, rhetoric, and campaigning were few and far between, so it was a shock to wake up yesterday and see the damage had been done.  It seems obvious that the UK is stronger staying IN the EU.  To give a personal example: my health care team....  my head surgeon was Italian, with assistants from India and Poland.  My anesthesiologist -- South African; the nurse anesthetist -- Polish; my first oncologist -- Italian; current oncologist -- South African.  My GP and most of the nurses are British, but many are from Scotland and Ireland.  How would NHS (the UK health system) function without all these fabulous people?  It seems building walls is a mistake, but what do I know?  I do know that one reason I love Oxford is the diversity and international flavor.  The Newcomers Group, Bruce's lab group, my health care providers: it's a fabulous mix from the whole globe and I love that!  [...]

Posted 2016-06-16T19:49:00Z

British Countryside

Today, post chemo #3 Day 9, and the symptoms are gradually lessening.  Shelley hauled me out to the countryside, just 20 minutes from Oxford, to the magical Rollright Stone Circles and a yummy pub lunch in the charming micro village of Tew. We saw fields of red poppies, had a 10 minute rain deluge, followed by beautiful clouds and light, walked among the warmest golden Cotswold stone cottages topped with thick thatch, smelled big roses....   Life is good.  I feel content.  I feel lucky.  I feel happy.  I hope you all had as good a day too.....[...]

Posted 2016-06-13T10:03:00Z

100 days post Op

Just about everyone in the UK was celebrating the Queen's 90th birthday this weekend but we also celebrated my 100th "post surgery" birthday.  I am alive, getting stronger, killing cancer cells and fighting on.  We had dark chocolate cherry cake with sparklers to celebrate.  [...]

Posted 2016-06-08T17:04:00Z

live blogging Chemo #3 (aka mushy pea brain)

Travelling to JJ and Nahanni's wedding felt as ambitious as flying to the moon.  I hadn't packed or planned because I really didn't think it would happening, but the day before our flight my neutrophil levels came up and off we went.  It was wonderful to attend the wedding and celebrate their marriage.  (I will post a link to the professional photos in a few weeks.)  And I really look forward to visiting again, during a less hectic time, and having a big Alaska adventure with JJ and Nahanni.  In addition to the wedding festivities ,we did make time for one fun activity: a scenic flight in a Caravan on floats to the Triumvirate glacier, Mt Spurr Volcano, and Lake Beluga.  My first sea plane ride, woo hoo.  The best part was landing on the lake -- what a weird feeling, floating in a plane.  I would post pictures but google drive isn't syncing and I am too tired to figure it out.  (Bruce couldn't even get it to work, so it's not just me and my chemo brain)   After a week's delay in treatment, being surrounded by amazing nature and emotionally far from "Cancerville," it was had coming back to Churchill for my dose of toxic chemicals this morning.  But Veera kept me company all morning and the time zipped by.  This afternoon I had grand plans to write a big blog post.  But my 5 days in Alaska appears to be just enough to get me on Alaska time; it's now late at night there and my brain has turned to mushy peas.  I'll write more about PTSD, gratitude, and other stuff I'm too tired to remember, tomorrow morning.  [...]