Cancer as cargo: sharing the load

Time for a yippee ki-yay for a fellow blogger; my friend Kim. One of the perks of writing a blog is getting comments, and that is how I first met Kim. After checking out her blog, Aquarius vs Cancer, I signed on as subscriber, pal and fan. A damn fine writer and wise beyond her years, Kim is spunky and feisty too as she navigates life with lung cancer.

As of two weeks ago, a bright yellow sticker has shone from the rear window of my vehicle, a tongue in cheek declaration of the cargo I am toting (there is a smaller version as well, perfect for the back fender of a bike). CANCER ON BOARD is Kim’s brainchild. She had stickers printed and through her blog, has offered them free to those who ask. I think there is some real fundraising potential here, and I am sure Kim would welcome suggestions in addition to requests for stickers.

And now an introduction to Kim, in her own words, followed by reprints of two recent blogs. Read, enjoy, bookmark her site (once again, Aquarius vs Cancer) and wish Kim the very best on this journey.

About Kim

Hello.  I’m Kim.  I’ve got lung cancer and I’m not very happy about it.  It pretty much sucks.

At age 34, I was diagnosed with Stage 3b lung cancer on May 11, 2011.  On  September 14, 2011 I learned that my cancer spread.  It is now considered incurable.

This blog is my story for friends, family, and fellow travelers.

Kim

Her name is Therapy

Posted on July 18, 2012

I was diagnosed with Lung Cancer in May 2011.  Months before, in January 2011, I began to notice I had difficulty breathing while exerting myself.  I was pretty sure I had asthma.  Great.  With this development and wanting to reduce the wear and tear on my joints, I decided to swap my running hobby for cycling.

At the end of April 2011 SW and I purchased road bikes.  The beauty I ordered would be ready for pick up in 15 days.

As it turned out I did not have asthma.  Between the bike purchase and pick up, the pulmonologist confirmed that I had a nice-sized tumor in my left lung.

When I went to the shop to pick up my bike I was told I’d get a complimentary 60-day tune up.  With all seriousness I told the clerk, “I’m starting chemo and radiation next week.  I’ve got cancer.  Can I get my tune up when I actually ride my bike for 60-days?  It might be a few months or even a year?”  He looked at me like I was insane and squeaked out something along the lines of, “Holy shit.  Yes. Get it whenever.”  When I inquired if I could get that in writing he replied, “You don’t need to.  Just tell who ever helps you that same line.  You’ll get taken care of.”

I’m actually, now that I’m feeling swell, logging miles on my bike.  I’ve named her Therapy.  She’s a beautiful white bike, like the lung cancer bands people wear.  I ride her to my weekly cancer support group meetings.  It’s only 4 miles away but I love that my fellow cancer survivors think it is a huge accomplishment that I ride there.

Cancer has not taken away my competitive spirit.  I’d like to ride Therapy to more of my engagements around town.  I am awfully intimidated by the hills though. The load on my lungs while climbing a hill is a little alarming.  A fine line exists between training my lungs to work harder and pushing them too much.  My medical team tells me to push with caution; I hope that is what I am doing.

Therapy is going in for her 60-day tune up this month.  I do intend to play my usually hidden cancer card if they try to charge me for the tune up.

Where do I fit in?

Posted on August 10, 2012

It’s no lie when I say I’ve always felt like I don’t really fit in with the rest of the world. My mother always referred to me as the kid who has 100 friends. She was and is correct. Among this group I have always felt like the cheese who stands alone. Living with my cancer, currently treated with Crizotinib, contributes to this isolated feeling.

I am so very thankful for Crizotinib as it allows me to live more closely to the life I had before cancer.  However, it is a tricky space to be.  My cancer buddies are constantly being beaten up by their chemo or radiation.  My  non-cancer friends are striving for promotions at work or planning vacations to distant places.  I am doing neither; yet I get caught up thinking of both.  I am aware that my cancer friends’ fates will probably be my own and I also dream of travel to distant places or for a fabulous backyard remodel.
I am an able disabled person. I am a non-sick person. Striving to be grateful for each and every day.

10 responses to “Cancer as cargo: sharing the load

  1. I read your blog early in Kim’s fight with cancer. She forwarded the link as she much admired you, your spirit, your blog, your travels. It is wonderful to see you two so strong of will linked in this fight. And, I know it means so much to her to know another incredibly stong woman is in the fight with her.

    • Tammy, thanks for taking the time to come on and comment. Getting to know fellow ‘travelers’ can make this journey significantly easier. Kim is amazing, and I am so pleased to have met her.

      Linnea

  2. Yippee indeed! You and Kim are both amazing, and doing so much good regarding the value of hope and determination for those who have no idea what this trip is about. Best, Harry.

  3. Thanks for the compliments Linnea!

    Your blog started it all. My first online presence was leaving a comment here. I’m glad I mustered up the courage to do it.

    your friend, Kim

    • Kimmy, I’m glad you decided to speak up because your voice deserves to be heard (and is strong, clear and empathetic).

      Best,
      Linnea

  4. Thanks, Linnea. I’m going to ask for a sticker and check out Kim’s blog too.

    • Jessica, Kimmy is on a well deserved vacay to Hawaii, but when she returns I am certain she will honor your request. Glad you’ll be checking out her blog!!

      Linnea

  5. You both are eloquent writers and an inspiration. Thank you for that.

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