Atlanta here we come…

The appointments have happened; the notes have been collated, and the answer is in: I have been cleared to fly back home!  YEAH!  Dr. Cameron was very pleased with my progress (saying that he wished all of his patients did as well as I have done — of course, most of his patients are significantly older than me, but who am I to argue with a surgeon?).

I’ve been forced to re-assess my opinion of Dr. Cameron over the past couple of weeks.  It is true that the first time we met, Dr. Cameron did not exhibit a particularly friendly bedside manner.  Just before and after the surgery, however, he was much more pleasant and friendly.  Perhaps he reserves his “friendliness” for his patients; whatever the reason, he was very pleasant today and I left our appointment feeling very positive.

MaryBeth and I will fly home tomorrow morning.  Again, I want to thank Nancy and Rob for using skymiles to cover our tickets back home; what a wonderfully sweet gesture.  I am so looking forward to seeing the kids and hugging each of them (even my 13 year old who will, likely as not, want to have nothing to do with hugging his father).

I feel very lucky that my colleagues at CDC donated so many hours for me; I truly do not feel stressed about getting back into the office (though, despite my supervisor’s expressed instructions, I still check my work Email regularly — and provide feedback as needed).

As I said, I am very excited about ending this phase of my treatment.  No one really knows what the future will hold.  There are some things about my surgery that did not go as well as we all would have liked (lymph node involvement and some cancer cells being left on the mesenteric artery), but a lot of what happened was great!  My incision is healing nicely; the nerve endings are regenerating (which means my abdomen is INCREDIBLY sensitive right now); and the pain is largely tolerable (though, I still had to stop 1/2 way through the 2 hour car ride down from NJ).

Earlier this week I watched “The Shawshank Redemption” on television and at one point Andy (Tim Robbins) says to Red (Morgan Freeman), “You either gotta get busy living or get busy dying.”  Well, as the title of this blog says, “I’m Not Dead Yet!” So I am looking forward to getting on with my life, finishing up healing, and enjoying time with my family, friends, colleagues, and supporters.

You all have been wonderfully supportive during this journey; thank you for staying with me up until this point.  I hope you stick around as we continue down the road a bit more.

Merle