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Michelle Kendall - Journal

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Posted 2017-05-26T19:42:00Z

Perfect bloodwork! YAAAHOOOOOO

You could probably tell from my last two blog posts, I have been a tad nervous --OK a tonne anxious -- about my next round of bloodwork.  I was having funny feelings in my bladder and my mind instantly went to worst-case scenario.  I was so anxious I moved my blood draw and oncology appointment up.  I have put so much significance on traveling in Europe this summer and I was panicking that Porlock was going to thwart me, again.  Last fall, after 7 months of cancer treatment hell, when I was finally cleared from "chemo quarantine" and free to travel, we flew home.  I had spent the whole year before sabbatical researching and concocting interesting itineraries for the summer of '16.  It was spirit crushing to leave all those European dreams behind.  When we arrived home to SB I felt so vulnerable, I wasn't sure I would ever travel again.  I am thrilled to report a perfect health report card from Dr. Sekhon this morning.  Our victorious and ambitious Baltic and Northern European Adventure is a go!  July-August: 8 countries in 9 weeks.  Our Itinerary:[...]

Posted 2017-05-24T05:01:00Z

Please don't ask me how I am.

I have been wanting to write this blog post for a good long while but I was worried I would sound prickly at best, ungrateful and bitchy at worst.  And let me be very clear -- I know people have the best intentions.  I appreciate all the love and support!  But please, don't ask me how I am.  It is not helpful.  I can only speak for myself (someone with a less serious diagnosis may enjoy talking about the ins and out of their health issues), but for me it is an unwelcome reminder of dying way too young from this evil malady.  The very best day for me is not jetting around the world but simply a day without a single cancer thought.  Asking me, “How are you?” with a certain intonation instantly changes the topic to cancer.  I know I am still ridiculously reactive to hearing the word CANCER  (Damn you, NPR, and your ads for Cancer Treatment Centers of America).  I am working hard with my hospice/CC counselors to be less reactive.  It is not easy.  After recurrence prognosis is very poor.  Only 10% of women survive 5 years after their salvage chemo.  Take a minute to think about that, and then understand what an unwelcome reminder "How are you?" is.  I may feel OK today, but the future is tenuous.  I am trying to move forward and live life the best I can, which unfortunately means fighting cancer for the rest of my life.  "You look great, everything is OK, right?"  or "How are your treatments going?" -- while these are meant to be helpful, they are not.  My point: a brief interaction like this probably makes you feel like you're being supportive, but it makes me feel worse!  I need to practice saying, "Thanks for asking how I am but talking about it is detrimental to my mental health.  Visit my blog for updates."  [...]

Posted 2017-05-22T06:39:00Z

Where in the world is Michelle?

I have been feeling sheepish about writing lately.  Flaunting my adventures feels extravagant and I am embarrassed by how lucky I am.  I have always been passionate about exploring the hidden corners of the globe, but now that life is perched on a powder keg I want to go everywhere and do it all -- today.  I can't say thank you enough to Bruce for appeasing my insatiable desire for travel this year.  Being empowered to seize the day is great, but recently I wondered, "Am I traveling just to evade Porlock?"  If I could travel far enough to escape recurrence I would take on that challenge, but obviously I can't.  After three back to back trips -- Costa Rica, Oregon and San Francisco -- I delayed a trip to Hawaii because I can't keep running forever.  (Terry, I promise we will go on a trip somewhere!)  Today was actually the first time since returning from Oxford that I enjoyed just hanging out at home.  I wasn't planning a trip or plotting an escape.  I mowed the lawn, harvested apricots, baked a pie, and sat on our lovely front porch.  It felt good to just sit and be with what is.  [...]