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A harder part of the trail started now with a grade that is usually a piece of cake for me. About halfway up I started having pain in my right side, back and butt – my normal site for tumor pain. I thought I was just having a side stitch or something from being out of shape, but no, this was full-fledged breakthrough pain. My Oxycontin just wasn’t doing the job this morning. Here I was, doubled over, with no breakthrough pain meds or even water to take them with. Since I am kind of strong-willed (my husband says downright stubborn) and was about a third of the way through the hike, I decided to trudge on. I would walk a while, then stop and lean over, as this seemed to ease the pain. As the pain increased I had melodramatic visions of collapsing on the trail and losing consciousness. It wouldn’t be pancreatic cancer that would kill me, I would freeze to death! Should I use my cell phone and call for help? I couldn’t bear the thought of the ruckus that would cause. I was no longer on the paved part of the trail and was pretty sure the park’s maintenance vehicles couldn’t make it down this muddy path to rescue me. So on I trudged (using my old Lamaze breathing techniques, for all the moms out there) and slowly made progress.
I had pulled up my parka up so I could hold the painful area and apply some pressure and support. To do this I had to, of course, pull down my sweatpants and underwear a little. No problem I thought, as there was no one on this path. I was startled as I neared the end of the trail to hear a cheerful voice call out, “Didn’t want to scare you” as an older fellow cruised past me. What a sight he got!!! I was mortified and still in too much pain to really appreciate the humor of the situation until I made it to my car.
There’s a journal inside the environmental education center where visitors make notes on wildlife sightings. The older man who whizzed past me had headed straight to the center, probably to make his entry, I thought: “Middle-aged female in apparent distress. Limped slowly down the path while holding her backside, but still apparently interested in attracting males of the species.”
I’ve had pancreatic cancer for over six years now and it has been an education, a personal struggle, and a source of heartbreak, tears, and yes, humor. If we don’t sometimes laugh about our troubles we are sure to drown in them. Moral of the story: Never leave home without Oxycodone Instant Release and water to chug it down with.
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