Friday, June 13, 2014

Healing in Paradise

First things first, we welcomed another grandson to the family.  Leinani gave birth to Jhase Raydon Coleman on April 20th, and he is adorable.  

My family disagreed with me going to Hawaii by myself a week early; however, I was glad I made that decision.  Hawaii has such a healing air and atmosphere - the people, the culture, the love, the ohana, the beauty, the peace, the warmth, the weather.  It rains or drizzles shortly and the sun comes out immediately and creates steam, like being in a sauna.  For those of you who've been there, you know what I'm talking about.  For those of you who haven't, you really need to go and enjoy the feeling of paradise and the warmth of Hawaii.  It's not just a heat warmth, it warms your soul.  I went to the swap meet three times and walked around for hours.  I felt good and strong.  I haven't been able to do that since I started chemo.

It didn't take as long as I thought to make all the preparations for Josh and Trina to get married, so I was able to relax before the wedding.  In fact, my cousin came over from the big island to spend a day with me.  We had so much fun and laughed and laughed.  I had a very enjoyable time spending time with family and friends.  They were instrumental in the healing I felt while there.

A couple days before the wedding, Jamie and I spent an afternoon at the beach.  It was a gorgeous day and, just to be able to lay and watch the waves rolling in and out and to walk on the warm sand, was very relaxing.  While we were there, we saw a couple guys that looked like they were training for something.  One was swimming back and forth across the bay which was pretty big.  He swam like he was a fish - so smooth, so fast, like he lived in the ocean.  Then we saw another guy paddle boarding out quite a ways, then he would come back to drop off his paddle board and jump into the ocean and swim out around this boat that was quite a distance.  When he returned, he took off jogging on the beach and then he'd do it all over again.  He was fast, strong, and amazing.  It was intriguing to watch.

The day of the wedding was beautiful.  You could see the ocean from the temple.  The grounds and flowers were colorful and breathtaking.  After the ceremony, we went outside and took pictures.  We spent the rest of the day at the Polynesian Cultural Center which was amazing.  The food was ono (delicious) and the night show was fantastic.  We finally left for home around 9:30 that evening.

Jamie and I stayed with my Auntie Kahili.  She is 80 years young and lives a very simple life.  Her toilet was broken when we first arrived, and we had to take the lid off and pull the chain up to flush.  Her son-in-law came and fixed it after a few days.  The first morning I went to take a shower and, in the middle of the shower, it turned cold because she had turned off the hot water heater.  She unplugs and turns everything off at night (stove, television, microwave, etc.) because she was told that saves her money on her electric bill.  We learned how spoiled we are and how much we take things for granted at home.  On the other hand, it helped us to live at a more relaxed pace while there.  Auntie is by no means cheap, she is simply simple.  She knows the difference between necessity and want or convenience.  She has a lot of wisdom about life, like this quote she shared:  "Look not mournfully into the past but wisely into the future."  I also learned a lot about my family and the Hawaiian way of life.  Both my adopted and birth parents are gone now.  Without going into more detail about my family, which would take too much time, Auntie Kahili told me I was her daughter now.  That's the Hawiian way.  

When we got back to Washington, we hit the ground running preparing for the reception which was very nice.  It was an enjoyable day with family, new family, and friends.  

Jim and I headed up to Seattle Tuesday following the reception for my surgery on Wednesday which went really well.  While in surgery they did a sentinel node biopsy, which came back negative, meaning the cancer had not spread to my lymph nodes.  The tumor had shrunk to the size of a pencil point.  She was able to remove the cancer tissue and cleared the margins.  

Funny story...when Dr. Javid called to confirm the pathology results, I misunderstood her.  I told Jamie that all that was left of the cancer tissue was the size of a pencil point but that radiation would take care of it.  Dr. Javid sounded so positive that I was really excited.  When I got off the phone, I told Jamie what I thought Dr. Javid had said, and she had a scowl on her face, like "What?  That's not right."  I could tell she was confused, and I thought, "Am I not saying this right?"  You have to understand, Jamie has gone with me to all my doctors appointments with her computer noting everything and asking lots of questions.  She has been the mother in this whole situation, taking charge and making sure everything was in place and done right.  On with the story...Dr. Javid explained before surgery that she had to clear margins.  In other words, she had to remove a certain amount of tissue around the cancer for it to be considered "successful."  If pathology determined she didn't clear margins, I would have to go back for another surgery.  I forgot about that, but Jamie certainly didn't.  I was so excited, though, that Jamie dropped the subject until we went to my post-op.  Later, Jamie told me it was all she could do to not throw me in the car and drive me back down to Seattle to have them remove the rest.  At the post-op, Dr. Javid confirmed everything again and was very pleased with the great outcome.  That's when Jamie said, "I think my mom misunderstood you," and verified that Dr. Javid cleared the margins and everything was gone.  Dr. Javid felt so bad that I had misunderstood.  What she was saying is that my tumor had shrunk to the size of a pencil tip, and I thought she was saying that's what was left after surgery.  Anyhow, all is well thank goodness.

I had my follow-up with Dr. Brady, my oncologist in Yakima, and he said my neuropathy will last for a long time.  On the bright side, he said I could get back into my routine of things (light housekeeping, Zumba, some cooking) and to just listen to my body and rest when I'm tired.  

My pre-radiation appointment is on Monday, and I'll be starting radiation in a couple weeks.  Oh, and my hair started to grow back around six weeks after chemo.  It's about a quarter inch long now, and it's soft like peach fuzz.  Some people say it will grow back curly.  A Chinese with an afro?  Hmmm.

1 comment:

  1. Love you, Mama! So glad you had such a restorative time in Hawaii and things are going well. Love your beautiful smile. Blessings to you.

    Also, that's a fairly large bowl of poi. Was that all yours or to share? Lol