When East Meets West

I have long owed several blog posts. It’s not for lack of trying, but for lack of hours in the day (which are sometimes shortened because a Whippler needs a nap).

You last caught me having a miserable time in Washington, DC for Nelson’s birthday. Thankfully, I recovered and everything began functioning normally again. I feel confident that I can blame it on antibiotics that I took for a few days while getting rid of the flu. A redo trip is certainly in order.

A Quick Trip to Oregon

I can’t recall if I mentioned that I am a member of a “Whipple Warrior” Facebook group. It is open to Whipple patients and their caregivers. I am so grateful to have come across it, as other members have been an encouragement and a support system to me. I don’t recall when I joined the group, but it was nice to know that the weird things happening to my body also happened to others, sometimes things that doctors didn’t even know about. It felt so good to not be alone in my new normal.

I wish I could recall the post/circumstance in the Whipple Warrior group that connected me to Pam in Oregon. Ultimately it was our mutual interest in hiking, Bryce Canyon, and Jesus. She had checked off a top bucket list item by hiking Bryce Canyon with a friend after her Whipple surgery. I believe I asked how that had gone for her since I was hoping to hike a bit for my one year Whippleversary in Utah as well.

We struck up a long-distance friendship. Checking in with each other and encouraging one another. I admire her for her sense of adventure and her profound faith, which has and is carrying her through some pretty tough health difficulties.

She is a breast cancer survivor, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a few years ago, went through a Whipple, has recently been combating liver failure, and unfortunately has discovered that cancer has returned.

Upon hearing that news in late December, I committed to visiting her in Oregon. Thankfully she was amenable to that!

So Nelson and I flew out to Eugene for a long weekend so I could spend time with the woman who inspired me to just get out and go. To hike my own hike!

It was such a special time. Nelson and I visited the coast and Pam and her husband took us to Crater Lake (a check off of my own bucket list).

I have NEVER seen so much snow! And the view was gorgeous.

It’s just incredible how you can visit the beach and mountains covered in a couple dozen feet of snow in the same day.

It was truly a special trip for me (and hopefully Pam as well) and I am incredibly thankful to have been well enough to go.

Throughout my treatment and surgery I was desperately seeking someone who was going through exactly what I was going through. And while that was not meant to be at the time, making online connections with others who have had the same surgery has been a positive experience. What a joy to turn the online relationship into a face-to-face meeting.

We covered her in our most sincere prayers and I ask that you do so as well.

Another Scan Approaches

My next CT scan is April 7, Good Friday. My hope is that it is indeed a Good Friday all around.

A Creative Outlet

My brain has been very active since recovering from COVID (yup, I finally caught it and will be writing about that experience too). Active brain + creativity + a love of t-shirts = an Etsy shop.

I have made a few t-shirt designs, with intentions to produce more. And you get the first look! https://www.etsy.com/shop/LivingRarely

You like how I just breezed past the scan info and changed the subject? This is my coping mechanism. Actually, this is the most relaxed I’ve felt before a scan. So far.

3 responses to “When East Meets West”

  1. Linda Schaeffer Avatar
    Linda Schaeffer

    As always, you and Nelson are in my prayers…

  2. Pamela Chaney Wilds Avatar
    Pamela Chaney Wilds

    What an honor to be mentioned in your blog! It WAS a very special time, having you & Nelson visit and seeing our lovely state… “coast to Crater Lake” was a great sampling and you have great photos to verify! I hope you’ll be able to return. “Thank You, Lord, that Christina and I have Heaven to look forward to, for seeing each other, otherwise.” <3

    1. AMEN! I know you and I will be going on some amazing hikes in heaven!! Ahhh, that makes me bubble with joy.

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