Barbells and Roller Coasters

It’s been a crazy month. But wait, I have four kids. Every month is crazy. My oldest kiddo turned 15…we signed her up for drivers ed. So much to think about. It is also the one year anniversary of my neck surgery. I have been mulling this one for a good portion of February. Hard to believe a year ago I was driving across town to an unknown fate that involved me desperately needing a neck brace. I had a very sweet surgeon and when I went to see him on the first of this month he could not help pulling up my original MRI. He shook his head as he told me that he has never seen someone come in with no neurological symptoms, a spinal cord compressed in half, and a bone completely eaten up by cancer. Then he turned to me and told me that he has no idea what my future looks like because he has never seen anyone like me.

At that point it hit me again. Just six months before my surgery I was in Orlando at Universal Studios. That means that I was riding roller coasters. I was being whipped from side to side, my head on a bobble, as the rush of fun and excitement filled me. To think that I had a bone completely eaten up and my spinal cord was compressed. I had no idea. How in the world did my head not topple off leaving me in a totally different place? Life is a crazy ride.

As my doctor smiled and shook his head again at me I realized how absurd my next questions were going to sound.

“So will I ever be able to ride roller coasters again?” He laughed again. I felt emboldened and asked my second question. “Also can I use a barbell on my back for squats?” He laughed and smiled a warm smile. “These are your questions? Roller coasters and barbells?”

Yes these are my questions. Roller coasters so I can ride them with my kiddos. Barbells so I can get stronger because I am am pretty darn sure that the only thing keeping my head on were my neck muscles. He released me from having to see him again. While I am happy to be sent off to a world of barbells and roller coasters I am hesitant to take the final steps away from him. I know how quickly things can unexpectedly change and I like having this guy in my corner.

In my other corner I have my oncologist. He also had good news for me. I had another PET scan, another 1000 dollars. The pain in the pocket is hefty, but when you find out that it shows no signs of active disease it’s easy to put the cost behind you. Yes, you read that right. The cancer is not doing anything. It has no metabolic activity. It is just sitting there with much of it a bit smaller. Then the doctor came at me with more good news. My cancer marker protein levels have dropped by a hefty 10. I was at 87 in January then 77 in February and then down to 67 this month. That is the lowest they have dropped since they shot from 20’s right before surgery up to 70’s right after surgery. My numbers have been so weird my doc has not been able to use them much, but he can’t deny that this drop is good. Life is good.

Now I head off to amazon to pick which barbell I want to put on my amazon wish list. I think I might wait a little while until I have built up some more neck supporting muscles before I dive into the world of roller coasters again. I’ll take being the outlying patient if it means I get to be strong and ride roller coasters with my kids.

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