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Shoulder Checking In The Fast Lane

Life is returning to normal. Weirdly so.

Other than going to physiotherapy for scar tissue release once a week and a visit to the Naturopath once in a while life is serene. I don't want to get too confident in thinking this is all behind me as I know many people who "rang" the bell free from chemo. Only to face a bigger challenge than the initial diagnosis.

The final piece to the puzzle was a couple of weeks ago, a few days after being "released" from the Cross Cancer as cancer-free; the surgeon's office phoned stating she would be getting ahold of me to discuss further surgery.

My first day of work was that day, She would be phoning at the end of it around 6 p.m. Many people asked if I was ready to go back to work; absolutely! I trust my boss, that he will not hesitate if I tell him I need to go home or can't stay. That's why it's easy to go back, I know I'm taken care of.

It was a great return to my job. I ended up waiting with the truck and trailer after dropping off the equipment I hauled. While the operators used the Argo I set out to explore the boreal forest. I'd like to preface this story with the fact that I have looked for at minimum eight years for Chaga Mushroom in the woods. I've found false ones but never the real thing.

I decided to forage spruce pitch to make a salve. As I wandered twenty yards into the trees from the approach I was parked in, not much for pitch. Just small droplets, no large harvestable chunks I was seeking. Then I looked past the spruce trees at a small birch tree alongside the road.

There was black gold waiting to be discovered. I texted my friend who is a biologist to confirm it was in fact Chaga that I found.

YES! What a score. I gathered it, dehydrated it and now have some of it dissolving to make a tincture. As I type this I'm brewing some for tea.

It has been used by humans for centuries to treat different ailments, praised for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and overall healing powers. Regardless of where you stand on natural remedies, we cannot deny the power of nature. Personally for me, finding this after so many years of no luck was a good omen of health and prosperity.

(Side Note: the following week, same site, different side of the road I discovered an even bigger growth of it! Better buy a lottery ticket.)

This first day back at work was such a high that I couldn't help but mentally check my happiness at the thought of what the surgeon would have to say that evening. You still hold your breath wondering what could be ahead.

Finally, the phone rang with an Unknown Caller, after a diagnosis you answer any phone number from anywhere as you cannot be certain it's not an important caller on the other end. I have never publicly listed my doctors, purposely. These posts aren't about who did what, if at any point you are curious about who they were please message me.

The initial impression my husband and I had of my surgeon was frustration by a lack of information; or conveyance of details. In the back of my mind, I kept thinking, I don't need a babysitter to hold my hand I need a phenomenal surgeon who excels at her craft.

By this point, my surgeon had removed a breast and performed my colonoscopy. We're on pretty intimate terms. As we have more appointments together I have gotten to appreciate her more and understand her approach. Likewise in return, I'm sure.

As we begin the discussion she says the radiologist has referred me back to her since I declined radiation. The next step is a full armpit dissection removing all the lymph nodes to test them. She assumed that this was not of interest to me since I didn't want radiation. Correct.

I ask if it is imperative that I have it done relative to other screening and data that has been gathered showing a low risk of recurrence. It is not. Then I explain my thought process of accessing private imaging (PT Scans or Prenuvo) along with liquid biopsies which are not yet standard care in AHS. You can read this older article about the amazing potential these blood tests have in detection and prevention.

We had a discussion for fifteen minutes weighing the pros and cons and honestly, you can never be certain with cancer that it will never show up again. Finally, she stated that it sounded like I was making an informed decision and that if she were in my position she would make the same choice. WOW!! It was a wonderful conversation that left me feeling right with everything in the world

This sunset photo from working late last week was akin to heaven on Earth. For fifteen minutes the skies lit up in red, pink, and orange intermingled with a rain storm that left me in awe.

In awe of life, nature, love: everything. This world as we know it in human form is such a blink in time we are but a small microscopic speck in the universe. Gratitude is all I can feel deeply.

Now that I'm back to full power ahead lifelong friends and I have signed up for The Canadian Death Race in 2024! What was supposed to be a mellow birthday walk/lunch turned into being registered and training for an 18.5 km run in the darkness of night.

We are not newcomers to this event we have completed every leg of it as a relay team. But it has been ten years since we've done it. So watch out for the Golden Girls on the trail next year screaming out "I Love This Shit!"

The Legend Dag Aabye is in this photo. At the time when we ran with him every year in the race, we had no clue about the epic story that is his life. If you wish to read a page-turner of a book Outsider is what you need!

(Missing in photo is the most epic teammate Carol!)

13-hour days at work a couple days a week, physio once a week in Edmonton, a 2100 km road trip to deliver a friend's Tree Hugger Tiny Home to Nelson, BC. Along with finishing our basement has not left much time for writing, reflecting or pondering.

It is life in the fast lane again. A chosen fast lane that I know I can leave at any time. I enjoy being busy with purpose but I also know there was a big life lesson presented to me this summer so I plan to keep choosing my busy instead of just keeping up with traffic.

I'm sure I'll be doing a shoulder check just to make sure cancer hasn't caught up with me again. None of us are guaranteed not to have something to navigate in life and it could be something totally different I have to face in the future. That's what makes life interesting.

Sending You Love N' SUP,

Lisa Stocking

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