I am now more than halfway through my preoperative hyperbaric oxygen therapy. I continue to live at the Halifax Lodge that Gives during the week, as the 3-hour treatments are at 7 am each weekday. It is comfortable there, the food is good, and I have been blessed with many visitors to help me pass the time. The HBOT itself is easy (Click here to see a 4-minute video that explains the treatment and profiles our very own Halifax chamber). I have been able to do some undisturbed reading while in HBOT, which is deeply gratifying. The last day of this treatment is 1 March — I fly to Toronto for surgery two days later.
While at the Lodge, several fellow patients there have read The Cancer Olympics. Some of them are recently diagnosed, and desperate for guidance. It consoles me that so many respond to the book’s description of the emotional apocalypse that is cancer; and can envision their way through it because of the book.
On 19 February, I will have a PET CT to determine the status of my cancer. I told my surgeon that even if that scan reveals me to be filled with cancer from head to toe, I still want to pursue first this repair surgery in Toronto before all else. I emphasized that this is a palliative care issue for me, vital to my quality of life and death. My greatest fear, however, is that the PET CT results will be so terrible that my chance at repair will be taken away, eclipsed by something that makes the repair impossible. I will know by the end of next week. Sigh.
Generally speaking, we cancer patients cannot get cancellation insurance for trips. I intrepidly book them anyway. This summer, Andrew and I plan a cross-Canada camping journey. When we reach Vancouver, we will go on an Alaska cruise which will morph into an overland trip through the Yukon. I have been everywhere in Canada except the Territories, so this is a bucket list item for me. In the fall, I have booked a villa in Tuscany and invited all my siblings. These travels are like beacons for me — the promise of fun, no matter what state I will be in by then.
“New Horizons” is a song from The Moody Blues’ 1972 album Seventh Sojourn. I listened to this album endlessly as a preteen. The album went to number 1 in the US charts for five solid weeks. The hit singles from it were overshadowed by the re-release of their blockbuster signature song “Nights in White Satin” that same year. It seems that everyone loved the spirituality and mysticism of these pioneers in progressive art rock.
Justin Hayward wrote this song after the death of his father and the birth of his daughter, hence the song’s reflections on a journey with both heartbreak and consolation. I choose it today because I too am on a new horizon — I am soon off to Toronto for surgery, hopefully to see improvement, hopefully soon to see “beyond the reach of the nightmare come true.” I find this song deeply moving, and from the youtube comments, many others do too.
Well I’ve had dreams enough for one
And I got love enough for three
I have my hopes to comfort me
I got my new horizons out to sea
This post originally appeared on The Cancer Olympics. It is republished with permission.