Thursday, July 5, 2012

Our Cancer Journey Week 28

This phase of our cancer journey ends in 26 days when radiation therapy is completed.   Cancer is a chronic disease requiring continued vigilance for the rest of Kathy's life, but the major milestones for 2012 are drawing to a close.

In many ways, the cancer journey was a metaphor for our lives during the same period.

We made the decision to use the cancer diagnosis to fundamentally change our lifestyle.  The many steps of that effort are also approaching completion.

In February we bought Unity Farm and prepared our Wellesley home for sale.  Just as a cancer journey requires a team, a plan, and incremental progress, selling a home is a major project.   We painted, refinished cabinets, and repaired every bit of infrastructure to ensure our 1930's cape was in perfect showing condition.    Escrow closes on that sale at the end of July, just as cancer treatment is wrapping up.

To prepare for the transition from one home to another, we rented a storage space and filled it with all our books and Kathy's art supplies.   We'll finish the move of its contents to Unity and close the storage space at the end of month.

Kathy examined her professional life and chose to consolidate her studio and art life with the activities of the farm.   We packed up her studio and leased the space to another artist.

Kathy and her business partner also decided to close their South End gallery after 3 years in a challenging art market.   We'll move the remaining contents of the gallery to Unity.

We're finishing the preparation of Kathy's father's house for an August listing, so he'll be fully moved to Unity just as cancer treatment ends.

Thus, our personal journey - buying/selling property,  creating a multi-generational household,  closing the studio/gallery,  and enhancing the farm to accommodate chickens/guinea fowl, alapca/llama, and 5 tons of hay storage is approaching completion.

When I reflect on the combined medical and personal journeys of the past 6 months, I realized that we've traversed 4 out of 5 of the major live stresses:

*Serious illness  (Cancer)
*Job change (Kathy's studio/gallery, my transition from part time Harvard CIO)
*Location change (suburban to farm)
*Move of parent/sale of their home and belongings

Luckily our marriage thrived during these events, so the 5th major stressor - relationship change - was not a factor.   We celebrate our 28th wedding anniversary a few days after cancer treatment ends.

Although Kathy's fatigue and numbness continues, we're fast approaching a period of personal and collective recovery from the journey thus far.    By August, 2012, our major life stressors will be behind us, the animals will be in place at the farm, and we'll be able to sit on the porch on hot summer nights, reflecting on where we've been over the past 6 months and where we're going.  The future is looking very bright.
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