I am happy to announce that The Cancer Olympics is now in audiobook form! It is available through Audible, iTunes, and Amazon. Audible listeners can get it for free as part of a 30-day trial. It took me several years to successfully produce this book, so I am pleased to have the story out there in my own narrative voice. Often, it was ironic to read various passages, given what I know now and my current status. Many of the living characters have gone on to success, and some to tragedy, since the days I wrote it. We are such fragile creatures.
I recently attended a gala fundraiser for the local hospice. The sod has been turned and they say it will be complete in 18 months. When I said that they had better finish it on time for me, a kindly friend joked, “So, you want them to finish it in 30 years, do you?”
My treatment path is consolidating. I move into Halifax’s Lodge that Gives on 6 January, and I start hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) the next day. I will live there every day except weekends and holidays until the end of February. My surgery at Sunnybrook Hospital is set for 1 March. Post-operative HBOT will be at Toronto General Hospital, and I am not sure yet where I will live for that. Prior to that, we will spend Christmas in Waterloo with our son and other family.
I await my treatments by trying to rest up and get ready. I have re-engaged my personal trainer to try to maximize my fitness before surgery. I have bought a Vitamix so I can have nourishing smoothies. I bought a solid new winter coat for all the walking I plan to do while away. I am stockpiling books and earmarking Netflix shows. And I have my phone at the ready, hoping to have lovely social visits with all my Halifax friends. I often think of how I was a shadow of myself on chemotherapy this time last year, and how much stronger I am now in comparison.
“On the Road to Find Out” is by the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens, now Yusuf Islam, from his 1970 album Tea for the Tillerman. A little-known fact is that the singer contracted tuberculosis the year prior to this song’s release. He spent a year in treatment and convalescence, an experience that drove the intense spirituality of his life and songwriting. I chose this song for its emphasis on odyssey despite adversity, the finitude of life, and the tension between companionship and solitude. (However, I must own that I equally love its reference to GOOD BOOKS!) To me, it underscores the many crossroads and roundabouts of my cancer journey, as well as the hard travel it has and will demand of me.
So on and on I go, the seconds tick the time out
So much left to know, and I’m on the road to find out
In the end I’ll know
But on the way I wonder
Through descending snow
And through the frost and thunder
This post originally appeared on The Cancer Olympics. It is republished with permission.