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The spark

Updated: Jun 23, 2023

Cancer journey co-pilot's log star date 6.19.23. Kara continues to improve in minute increments. It is possible she will be discharged by the end of the week. This does not mean she will be fresh and ready to wail some karaoke. We will need to create an ecosystem in our home that performs many of the same functions of the hospital. We will need to rebuild her and help her to keep her spirits up so that she can consider her next adventure.

It is not morale-boosting to lie in a hospital bed by oneself covered in fecal matter spewed forth from a surgical hole in one's belly for forty-five minutes because the nurses went on strike. We are all for the nurse's strike, but this was unforgivable on the part of the hospital administration. Fortunately, a phlebotomist took it upon herself to clean Kara up even though it's not on her job description. Yet another incident in which Kara ends up covered in shit because someone, or in this case, the hospital administration, refused to help a patient with special needs. Basic human needs.

Who's really covered in shit, right?

What she told me to write tonight...

"This sucks."

Definitely. But do you know what doesn't suck? Kara's support teams. A nurse practitioner friend who knows the system but also speaks Kara language. A physical therapist friend who is rehabbing her for being bedridden. Massage expert friends (and myself) who are working out intense muscle spasms and moving the lymph in her neck and feet. Physician friends outside her healthcare team checking in on her during the nurse's strike. Friends and family fixing our house and yard, walking and feeding our dog, bringing food and beverages, neighbors checking in with us, a loving work environment where I can take time off as needed, healers helping me to stay in my body and not in outer space with a death ray eye over every detail, all the well wishes and cheerleading, gifts, offers of one thing or another... Then there's her social worker, oncologist, colorectal surgeon, wound care surgeon, ostomy nurse, who are not involved in her hospital care but regularly check in on her. Why would so many people come together like this? We all know Kara is worth it, because she has taught us something that may be different for each of us, something about possibility and hope and the risk of wholeheartedly loving other people in a world that might leave you covered in shit. I'm getting sentimental, but I am exhausted and blown away by the support we have received since the beginning of this journey that exploded in our faces four years ago.

In her very first blog post, five months after being diagnosed with stage 4 colorectal cancer, Kara wrote: "Ultimately though, I want to share my experiences, because maybe something I do here can ignite a spark in you." I hope at some point she will see that she has, because when she feels low she sometimes feels like she's failed everyone, and she feels lower than ever.

Kara, please get better so that when you read this, you can see this big gooey compliment and realize I'm not the only one who feels this way.

This sucks.

Please keep getting better.

Until next time.

--Her husband, Charles

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