Wednesday, May 18, 2011

There's no place like home: Cancer, back surgery rehab moves to our house come May 20

I'm coming home. For good. Finally.
The fine folks here at GF Strong Rehab have all agreed that I can vamoose (good word) on Friday, May 20. I have been home on weekends the past month or so, but I haven't lived at there full time since late November. I haven't been on the main floor or the upstairs portion of our three-storey house since early October; new hand rails being put in should change that in the coming couple of weeks.
I'm far from back to "normal." (Quotes very much intentional.) I'm still needing a walker to get around. I'm still worn out.
They've worked my butt off here. I've never worked so hard in my life. I've tried things physically (there's a long, fairly steep hill out back that I've rode four times and counting in a wheelchair with much help from rehab assistant Derek) that I wouldn't have tried when I was 20.
Granted, that's an indictment of my past, but can't we all just let me revel a little bit, eh? (Hello...I have CANCER.)
The plan is that I won't immediately go back to work at the Province, but instead continue rehabbing every day for the first few weeks at least. We're going to hire a physiotherapist one or two days a week to make sure that I'm staying on track with form and function.
Erin, my occupational therapist here, and I have worked out a daily schedule that involves an hour of stationary bike riding, stretching and strengthening in the morning, cabbing to Canada Games pool for an hour water walking in the afternoon and an hour walk in the afternoon to pick up fresh veggies for dinner. (Yes, Erin has me on veggies. Next up, she'll create world peace. Then, she'll make Vancouver sports fans appreciate Roberto Luongo.)
I look at the schedule and wonder if it's not too ambitious, especially with daily chores around the house thrown in. But I must get better. There is no other option.
Like I've said before, I could be smarter and fitter on May 30, 2011 than I was on May 30, 2010, and that's after a bout with Solitary Plasmacytoma and eight surgeries on my back, including two separate ones to put in rods and screws to stabalize my spine.
As far as coming home, I'm most excited about spending more time with Carol-Ann and taking some of the stress of house up-keep off her shoulders. She's been busting her ass between work at Earl's corporate office (shameless plug for my wife's employer, who continues to be marvelous to us) and being at GF Strong every day and worrying about the house; she's looked so tired and worn out some days, and I have to admit that I've felt unbearably guilty at times. (I know that Carol-Ann's a sharp cookie and is making decisions that she wants to make...I'm just saying that I've felt guilty. Get off me...I have CANCER.)
Another plus for Carol-Ann and for me, as much as I hate to admit it, is that the family cat, Figaro, gets to come home after her extended stay with Carol-Ann's parents, Ron and Verna. I wasn't a cat person before Carol-Ann plopped Figaro into my life, and I contend that I'm a Figaro person more than a cat person right now. As I've pointed out before, Figaro and I have much in common; we like to lay on the couch walking TV, we don't like people touching our bellies and we both hang on every word Carol-Ann says.
(Full disclosure: there's been no sign cancer being present in my recent blood tests, and my radiation-oncologist, Dr. Jim Morris, says that he doesn't need to see me for the next three months. So, some of my "friends," like Carla McAloney, dispute whether I can play the CANCER card anymore. Frankly, I think that's just mean.)
I'm not sure what the next few days here at GF has in store for me. But I definitely want to get a little more momentum going towards my impending discharge.


  1. That's awesome news Ewen! At this rate, you'll be back to knocking the ball around with the Headliners in no time.

    And that Erin sounds like she can do many things. World peace? Sure. Having Vancouver appreciate Luongo? Ummm.. she'd probably be better off figuring out whether it was the chicken or the egg that came first.

  2. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is the best news EVER!!!!!!

  3. I think you can still play the CANCER card if you say, "I had CANCER." This have thing is passé.

    So happy for you... and CA... and Figa.


  4. Stevie - You're an inspiration, pal. You and Carol-Ann in tandem, forget about it - no couple can top that power. But, can you still get me work? Ha. So happy you are on the verge of going home. You are mere hours away from doing so. Congratulations! Godspeed. Ben