Wednesday, July 1, 2009

So Long, Farewell

It is official. I am no longer a partner in Aussenberg Waggoner LLP. Tears, grief, sorrow, more tears. The desk, credenza, file cabinet and bookcases have been removed from the office I adored and replaced with someone else and something else. I leave behind not just beautiful furniture, artwork and every detail that was selected with pride and joy; I leave behind something else. Even the word maestro cannot describe it.

So it goes with life lessons. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. One door closes, another opens.

Patti, Chris, Brett, Jennifer, Dana and Jill - I wish you and your families the best. I hope you will carry on the values that were always so important to me - Look diligently for solutions without creating new problems or making the existing ones worse. Make every case and every client your most important one.

Next, I bid farewell to Team Dream. When the days were dark and no one knew where to turn or what to do, it was an uplifting idea, and a wonderful way to keep up my spirits. Almost $25,000.00 has been raised, which astounds me. You have given generously and from your heart. There is no way to tell you what that means to me. I have spoken with the director of the National Lung Cancer Partnership, which is the organization with which Team Dream is associated. I have been assured that your donations will be used wisely, in exactly the way they were intended. If you would still like to contribute to Team Dream in my honor, the opportunity will remain available until the end of July. No pressure. You have already been wonderful. John donated the first $100.00 and on July 31, John will contribute the last $100.00. There will always be opportunities to contribute to this woefully underfunded cause. The Addarios, the Gaetas, NLCP, these are just some of the organizations that are actively fundraising, educating, and more. I intend to participate in local events aimed at raising funds for lung cancer research and I hope you will join me. As for the paddling adventure, I am looking into ways to make it an annual event. It may have a different format, but it will still be a blast.

And, finally, I am bidding farewell to my beloved blog. It has been the single most important factor in seeing me through the past year. I counted on it more than you will ever know. But it is time to move on, to turn my energies elsewhere. I reserve the right to come back to the blog if I need to, but I am stable for now, and have different needs. I'd love to hear from you as I close this chapter; Burton may also be willing to explain how to become a blog follower, so that if I do post anything in the future that you will automatically receive notification by email. I may also use the website that was used to schedule meals for my family. I can send out email blasts from there, and you can also post comments, so if you have not signed up you may want to consider doing so now.

Houston, we're at stable one. The ship is secure. This is Apollo 13 signing off.

Love to all.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dream Team

Gyms are like a second home to me. I have logged countless hours doing cardio, weights and stretching in rooms with multiple sweaty and smelly bodies. I may glance annoyingly at the thirtysomething with a great tan and taut muscles working out next to me, but I have never been intimidated by whoever or whatever I encountered during my workouts. That changed after surgery last fall. At the recommendation of the surgeon and with encouragement from Dr. Scheinberg I embarked on a 24 session program to rehabilitate my remaining lung and restore muscle tone to a body that had not lifted a free weight since April 2008.

The prospect was daunting. Last November I strapped on the oxygen and spent 10 to 15 minutes on various machines trying to build up respiratory capacity. Then I was handed a set of pink free weights. Not a good sign, I thought, and I was right. Two lbs. That was an emotional punch for someone accustomed to (relatively) heavy lifting. Then came the December setback and I retreated from even this mild exertion.

In January, with a few weeks of Tarceva under my belt, I was determined to once again participate in the rehabilitation program. 10 to 15 minutes of cardio turned into 15 to 20 minutes, gradually increasing to 45 minutes on a single machine. A little incline and some speed didn't make me sweat but I knew I was getting somewhere. I'm not doing any heavy lifting, and may never get back to where I was, but I have definitely progressed from the pink two pounders.

The thing is, I did not do any of this on my own. With every step I took and every weight I hefted there they were. Kim, Prince and Megan (r to l). At first I needed oxygen, and frequent O2 saturation, blood pressure and heart rate measurements. Gradually I stabilized and the need to monitor my every move subsided. But whenever I looked out of the corner of my eye, there they were.

I have now graduated from the program and received my certificate. I am free to exercise wherever and whenever I please. But I just can't seem to leave the warmth of the small gym and the watchful eyes of the therapists. Maybe someday. But not yet.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Year of Cancer in 12 Steps

1 pneumonectomy
2 trips to Houston
3 PET scans
4 brain MRI's
5 weeks of radiation
6 treatments of carboplatin and taxol
7 CT scans
8 days at MD Anderson Cancer Center
9 visits with Dr. Scheinberg
10 minutes of Alimta
11 days in the hospital
12 trips to Atlanta Cancer Care
Countless xrays, blood tests and IV's.

And a partridge in a pear tree.

Memorial Day Weekend 2009

Beautiful Amelia Island.

There wasn't a whole lotta sun but there was a whole lotta fun!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Poem

Jeans are blue
Khakis are tan
I bet you wanna know
The results of my scan

Some nasty juice
I had to drink
With nothing to eat
I was at the brink

Then it didn't go well
There was pain in my arm
The kind, sweet tech
Almost sounded an alarm

Then wait and wait
And wait I did
Into a teeny weeny
Funk I slid

Then Dr. D
Called on the phone
All is well
No reason to groan

My arm is fine
My lung is too
Hip hip hooray
A wish come true

During this week last year
I was taking some tests
PETs and CTs
I could hardly rest

One year ago
The shoe did drop
But I have beat the odds
And I will not stop