Yesterday, my partner and I returned from a much-needed, relaxing trip to Oahu. We had an amazing time. Even though my hair started to fall out from my radiation treatments, my ever-present medical condition momentarily faded away.
We slept…a lot; We rested at the pool, the beach, and back at the pool; We coasted around the north shore of the island in our Beetle Convertible; We ate a ton of delicious food; We went on a beautiful hike overlooking the Eastern side of the island; We built sand castles and played in the waves; And we watched the sunset every evening.
On the last night, we treated ourselves to a delicious meal. In addition to the two gluttonous desserts we ordered, the restaurant gave us a tangy lemon cake with a chocolate phrase written above: Ho’omaika’i ana.
Ho’omaika’i ana translates to “congratulations.”
We traveled to Hawaii to recharge after my radiation treatments, and my partner’s fulfilling, yet grueling campaign job. It was very sweet for the restaurant to recognize the end of my radiation treatments, but they didn’t know (and it wasn’t worth explaining) that it was only the beginning of my new treatment plan.
During our last morning, we finished breakfast in our room overlooking the beach and blue, turquoise ocean. That view became a dream-like, beautiful memory because only twenty-four hours later, my partner and I sat together in the hospital looking out at the hazy, San Francisco skyline as I received my second infusion of Pembro (immunotherapy).
Ho’omaika’i ana, congratulations, feels like a weird word to associate with cancer treatment. We often save that word for the moment people go into remission or receive a good MRI result. Yet, in the journey of living with an inoperable brain tumor, each step, finishing radiation or completing an immunotherapy infusion, should be celebrated. A trip to Hawaii probably isn’t the most feasible way to celebrate every time (…maybe), but it’s important to recognize that each step forward is an accomplishment.
Thank you to my Mom, Mark, Uncle David, and everyone who kept me well-fed and helped me get back and forth to UCSF every day throughout the past few weeks of radiation treatments. I may reach out more to my local community here in the Bay since the majority of the fatigue from my treatments will likely kick in soon, but fortunately that will coincide with Thanksgiving next week!
In three weeks, I’ll have my third infusion, and then I’ll get a MRI scan to see how everything is progressing. Regardless of the results, maybe another trip to Hawaii is in order. 😉