Chapter 31: Seriously?! It’s Chapter 31?!


This time a year ago I was starting to get a little sick. It’s candida esophagitis, they said. Your fevers are because of the infection, I was told. You’re losing weight because of the no sugar diet you’re on, they rationalized. Keep on eating zero sugar and drinking lots of water and getting a lot of sleep, they advised. Your labs are abnormal but that’s because of the infection, they diagnosed.

I’ll suffice it to say that hindsight’s 20/20. Or maybe like 20/-200. I had NO idea what was coming at me. I wonder what that means I’ll be writing about next year. Hey Universe, it’s been REALLY interesting and I’m certainly proud of myself–but could we turn down the drama and excitement just a few notches?

Enough reflection and reminiscing for now. Let’s come back to June 7, 2016.

I’m 19 days post-op and doing really well. A day in the life of Julie is still what I would consider to be pretty bland, but that comes with the territory. I was able to stop taking the narcotic pain meds last week mainly because I outgrew them and they also weren’t helping all that much anymore. Instead, my new “pain medicine” is doing arm and shoulder exercises and a little bit of leg work. <GASP> OMG! Physical Therapy for ongoing pain works better than pain medications!?!? Who woulda thunk it? Sarcasm and snark are both fully intended there.

But seriously–on that note, THIS ad was run in Times Square just this morning. I’m not making it up that PT can help get you off opioids!


#ChoosePT #MoveForwardPT #GetPT1st

I’m sleeping well, walking a total about 2+ miles per day (slowly, like the tortoise, and not all at once) and have learned that stair climbing feels like I’m climbing at altitude. We have a few little short loops through the neighborhood that we walk when it’s not ridiculously hot and humid outside. So we walk at 11:30 PM and 4:30 AM here in Hotlanta. I’m kidding, but I did somehow manage to miss the transition from spring-summer in my 10 days inside at the hospital. I’m grateful for visits and super generous meals provided by friends. My mom is here and my sister will be here this weekend. I’m very grateful for the support as my arm gets tired doing anything so it’s hard to do too much. And I’m perfectly OK with that! I’ve finally found a position where I can type for more than a few sentences. Having said that, this week I’ve vowed to force myself to use my arm more. Bring on the muscles!

I had follow-ups with both surgeons last week. Dr. Moore’s assistant Dr. Gouldman allowed me to finally shower (thank God! My family is probably really grateful too!) and my chest x-ray showed no new problems. Dr. MacKay was totally thrilled with my progress. I have a huge scar down my chest but eventually we will all barely be able to see it. I started formal physical therapy and took a few outings. Outings are great and very welcome but can be tough. My arm gets tired from hanging down, too, but it’s also improving every day. Last week’s outings included a trip to my favorite brunch spot: West Egg and a field trip to Ponce City Market.


This is Redcord. Redcord is perfect for use during times when you’re really weak (like me now) OR when you want to be a total BOSS and are trying to compete for something like American Ninja Warrior. I can do a lot of PT on my own (that DPT degree comes in handy) but I still require the watchful eye of a professional. Pictured here with me is my Pilates instructor-Julia. Not pictured because she is taking the photo is my savvy rock star PT Blair.

This week’s outings include IKEA (indoor walking at its finest!), True Food Kitchen and Lenox Mall, and maybe a few other meals out. I also have PT, see Dr. D’Amato (oncology) and Dr. Mackay again, and soon (not sure when) I’ll begin radiation and chemo again. I’m trying to enjoy this time of being “cancer treatment free” before I start back up again. I’m definitely still not out of the woods but hopefully the sunlight at the end of the dark forest is getting MUCH closer!

Thank you all for all of the continued well wishes and prayers! And rest assured that post-op time is not without its silliness 🙂


Thanks to Julie Wiebe for sending this amazing snuggie!