Living Radically: The Beginning of My Thousand-Mile Journey
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
Once I decided to stop all my treatments, I knew what I wanted to do...travel.
I have always had such Wanderlust for the world and my United States before I even heard about cancer in my life. After my cancer has now metastasized 3 times to Stage IV Advanced Metastatic Colorectal Cancer, I have decided to take control of my life and see what this world has to offer.
My body is tired. I am tired. I am worn down. The chemo itself was not the culprit for my woes most times as it was the side effects. From my first and second cancers, I ended up having to endure a port inserted, a port removal, and then having a port inserted yet again. Then later came a tumor removal which resulted in a sigmoid reconstruction and resection, as well as hemorrhoid surgery, and to add further, vaginal thrush from the dumb compound cream they gave me for the hemorrhoid pain. I endured a full and complete hysterectomy, second tumor removal of a grapefruit-size tumor in my ovaries, hernia surgery 3 days before Christmas during a pandemic. And not to mention, many complications with bowels, stomach, hands, feet, you name it. Then when I thought I had endured enough, I had not; another cancer surgery under my belt, only to find out there was not just one tumor but four malignant tumors.
I know I am probably mostly “preaching to the choir” here but for those of you who are new to having cancer or being a caregiver or a loved one to someone who was recently diagnosed, this is part of the reality.
The hard part is on the outside, I look “normal” to most of you because I am generally a healthy individual. This is why I want to get on the road NOW! Now, while I am not falling apart. Now, while I still CAN travel. Now, when I am mostly healthy enough to travel. Now, before my time is up. Now, before it is too late. I am tired of “enduring” I want to live.
Life is meant to be Lived not just Endured. -Trisha Trixie
I want to feel the air upon my fingertips. I want to wave my hand out the car window like a child surfing the air. I want to listen to music that speaks to me like Tracy Chapman and Natalie Merchant and Tori Amos in my CD Player...old school. I have even found an amazing playlist from AlexRainbirdMusic on Spotify and Tidal that beckons me to play during my travels and while camping. I even converted my Tiny Fiat 500CC to a Tiny Camper and bought a pet booster seat and items so that my cat Mister Dude aka the Dude (Yes named from The Big Lebowski) can travel with me. He loves to travel with me as we used to travel during the Mortgage Crisis and we both fell in love with travel.
Minimalism and sustainable living have even become part of this new chapter in my life. Less is more.
I’m trading in my life for a better one.
I desire a Quality of Life over Quantity of Life. QOL>QTY
I’m trading rounds of Chemotherapy for rounds of travel.
I will be staying at a friend's cabin in Fairplay, Colorado. What an amazing gift. I love exploring Buena Vista and Salida nearby. Horseback riding, hot springs, a small Nicholas Sparks-like village town.
Next, I'll be traveling down to Deming, New Mexico a quaint little RV town that has lost some of its savor but it is where my family lives and I have friends there as well as elderly pals I have come to be close to. Deming is also near Palomas, Mexico, an adorable border town; my favorite thing to do there is to go to The Pink Store which literally IS pink and they have an amazing restaurant in the back with great staff and great food.
The last stop on this trip of mine is Faywood Hot Springs. My mother has spoken of these springs for I don’t know how long and for some reason we haven’t gone. Now we have a reason to go. Enjoying life.
Realistically I can’t just be on the road all the time, not yet... My spouse is not social like I am and is currently working on earning more money during this time, so hopefully, in a year he can retire and travel with me. My husband and I want to invest in a home that suits both our needs, a life on acres of land where we are more away from the world but affordable enough that WE can still travel. Since we have been married, I have always had cancer, minus 2018 when we thought I was in remission but in reality, just another cancer was growing inside my ovaries. Aside from that, he has been a caregiver. It’s time for us to be a couple, for us to experience our lives together. That will come soon, I just pray it's not too late.
For now, it’s “me time”, Radical Self Love time. I love myself enough to do this for me. My body, my choice does not just apply to Abortion or Rape in my opinion... I feel like it has the ability to apply to cancer patients as well and the choices that we should have, the cancer patients, the ones living it, to decide. Decide whether to continue or whether to end treatments; my body, my choice. This can be extremely difficult for family and friends to accept. Love yourself enough to stand up for yourself. Radically know that you are enough. Radically acknowledge that this is your one and only life. Even if you believe in reincarnation, this is the life you are living this time.