So, you were diagnosed with cancer? Hey, I was, too. What did you do with your cancer? I dragged my cancer around much like a ball and chain.

Restaurant scenario: Host/Hostess: “How many today, ma’am?” Me: “Table for two, please.” Host/Hostess: “Two?” Me: “Yes. My cancer and me.” Server: “What can I get you to drink?” Me: “I’ll have a cup of decaf. My cancer will have a cup of decaf, also.”

Over this past, almost six years, the ball and chain has become quite heavy and yes, there has been more than one ball and chain. Trach tube, (at home) IV/IV pole for antibiotics, wheel chair/walker from when I had to re-learn to walk, etc.

I got into the, “I’ll neve be able to walk or even sit up on my own”, mindset. Well, if that’s my attitude, then I never will be able to do these things.

I carried on with the can’t until I could no longer stand my own voice.

Wait – I have a choice. I do? When my favorite physical therapist would come into my room at one of the nursing homes I was in, I would not ask her to leave. That’s been known to happen. Her name is Jen and she wouldn’t say, “Are you ready to walk?” She would say, “Let’s go.” I did not need an enabler and I knew it.

I wanted to play the “I’m too tired ” card, but….

I realized why I was reluctant, though. I was afraid of falling. She did tell me that there were days where I looked like a free-range chicken. I wobbled all over the place. Jen did have her hand firmly placed on the back of my sweatpants in case I took a tumble. Next came walking up and down steps and I did fall a few times, but better to be in a place of safety than on my steps at home.

I began having late-night talks with myself, when the hallways were quiet. “If you don’t start walking, they will not let you go home. You have to be able to walk out these doors on your own.”

Scott brought our SUV to the nursing home, one day. It was suggested that we do this so that I could try to get in the car on my own He pulled the car up to the curb and then came over and helped guide me in. When I was able to accomplish it, I cried, “I did it. Did you see that?”

I kept envisioning myself not being able to make it up the stairs in our split entry home and Scott dragging me up the steps by my arm. Truth be told, I couldn’t make it up the steps. He would help me through our slightly uphill yard to our back door. I would crawl up through the doorway and with his help I would stand up.

It’s called team work. Simple as that. Enough of the “Poor Scott has to be my caretaker, again”, talk. What I’m really saying is “poor me“. You’re a team is kind of an inside joke with us. Scott bought a rental property years ago and one of the real estate agents said, “You just purchased a house” and I corrected her. I explained, “No, Scott did.” Her last words to me were, “But you’re a team.” We still laugh about it to this day, but if I’m being honest, we are a team.

Find your team. A family member, a friend, a trusted caretaker, a Facebook group. I am Grateful for my team and thankful to the real estate agent for those three simple words. Until next week – K xo

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