Sunrise at Sundog Ranch. Something to live for.
3 months ago on October 28th
I was photographing this herd of wild mustangs in the Steens Wilderness in SE Oregon.I was out of cell range for most of the day when all of the sudden I walked into cell range.
Numerous text messages urged me to call home. I called and in no uncertain terms my sister Trish who is a nurse like me told me the news that would change my life forever.
Rockin’ Roy has a brain tumor. He is in the neuro-intensive care unit and can barely speak. We are having a family meeting at 7:30 in the morning and you need to be here. Here I was in the middle of the wild horses at sunset in this breathtaking wilderness and I HAD to leave.
The horses were so peaceful and OK with me being there with them. I hated to leave them. As the sun set behind the stormy clouds on the horizon I realized I could not escape what lie ahead of me.
Roy lay incapacitated in a hospital bed 9 hours way with a catastrophe in his brain and I am not there.
I said goodbye to the horses and told them I would be back.
I flew like a bird on wheels through the night in the stormy desert on gravel roads and desolate highways.
I arrived by Roy’s side just after dawn.
7:30 AM October 29, 2014
The decision to be or to not to be was put on me by Roy’s neurosurgeon.
Put to me because Roy’s tumor had consumed his mind and power to decide on his own.
In paraphrasing Dr. said “Would Roy want to live” or would Roy say “To hell with all those awful treatments, I’m gonna go one way or another so let me go now.
You are most likely saying to yourself who is this beautiful, happy woman?
This woman is Brittany Maynard.
Brittany and her family have been in the news lately. Brittany made the decision not to be any more. She lived with what Roy has and tried to survive what Roy has. A catastrophe in the brain. She had surgery to remove her tumor like Roy did but declined chemotherapy and radiation. She felt it would put her through too much pain and suffering and in the end she would die anyway.
I respect her decision.
I get how she could come to that decision.
The news you get when you talk with the neurosurgeon about whether to take the tumor out and get treatment or let nature take it course is about as bad as it gets. Our Dr. could not have mad it any clearer that this is a tumor that will kill Roy in time no matter what treatment he gets or does not get. They go over all the grim possibilities of surgery like stroke, neurological deficits etc. and death. After hearing all about what could happen during surgery and the side effects of the treatment afterwards death does not sound so bad.
We were put to the task. With help from heaven above and family we were able to make Roy’s decision.
We decided Roy would want to live.
Because Roy loves life and Roy is a guy who does not quit.
Even though I had to give him a few reminders to take this years Christmas tree out.
November 4, 2015
This is Rockin’ Roy one day after surgery to remove the huge tumor in his frontal lobe.
As you can see he is very much alive. Eyes, ears, fingers and toes all working. He needed something to hold on to. When I saw the stuffed Golden in the gift shop the purchase was a no brainer. Ha ha.
Rockin’ Roy does not need the stuffed Golden since now he has real ones to hug. Guess who owns it now?
As you may have seen in my last post Rockin’ Roy rocked through radiation.
I wish Brittany Maynard had not been scared off by the treatments for brain cancer like I am afraid many patients are. I get why she made her decision though.
The facts can’t be ignored. Even with current treatment the average lifespan of a person with a glioblastoma is 12 to 18 months. And sometimes that time can be filled with pain and problems.
But there is a small percentage (15%) of persons who survive over 3 years, some over 5 years and there have even been documented cases of people living up to 10 years.
That is a bit of hope Roy and I are desperately hanging onto. At least for now until his follow up MRI next month.
The idea for now is to live.
To get up in the morning and do your daily grooming.
To rest and make peace . Especially with anyone we may have hurt. Our time is short on earth.
We are going to give and receive love. Man cannot live without love.
If anything is going to heal Roy and give him life it is LOVE.
Even with love, life can be difficult. It can be a struggle but what we are finding in our new quest for life is mostly life is full of beauty.
It is right in front of our faces sometimes and we still don’t see it.
Try to see it and your struggles won’t seem so difficult.
We are taking time to go places and explore new beauty.
Even if you have to be on a leash you can find beauty.
You can taste beauty in life too. Even while doing your daily chores.We try to put down our gadgets (especially me) and have a conversation.
We have been forced to slow down. We actually use the park benches.
What I want to say to everybody I know is……quit being so damn busy, busy, busy.
Do you have any idea how being so busy all the time affects your ability to experience joy and see beauty?Being too busy affected our lives. It was not good for our lives.
Too bad it took a freaking brain catastrophe to slow us down.For the time being there is no end to the adventures we seek. While the going is good.
Even if on a leash.Even when it is getting dark and cold. To the end of the trail we go.If you go for the beauty life on earth can be like heaven on earth.
Especially for Rockin’ Roy rockin’ down the path of life.
“To be, or not to be, that is the question—
Whether ’tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing, end them? To die, to sleep—
No more; and by a sleep, to say we end………..”
The opening phrase in the “Nunnery” scene in the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Pretty fancy stuff for this little blog huh?
Don’t forget to slow down, feel the love and see the beauty.