HomeDefinitionToday we are home. While it’s true that I honestly feel at home wherever I am with John (because he’s my home), there’s still so much about our dwelling place that I’ve missed over the past week as we’ve handled the latest challenge in our cancer journey (I’ve pasted the timeline of posts from my personal Facebook feed below, in case you missed the excitement).

I’ve missed my kiddo Eli, who held down the fort, fed the dogs, brought in the mail, and made sure the heat wasn’t killing any of my annuals. He asked for a second hug after we’d been home for a few minutes last night, so I think he missed us too.

I’ve missed my pups, who were so happy to see us yesterday they were crying. Lucy, my labradoodle, definitely didn’t want to let me out of her sight. Our routine snuggles on the bed before we all go to sleep were especially wonderful last night.

I’ve missed the sanctuary of my backyard country garden, which is in full, glorious bloom at present. Hot or not, this weekend I’ll be spending some time in that space.

I’ve missed my office with it’s 27″ iMac screen, ergonomic, comfy chair, and view of my backyard paradise. Even though I had my Macbook and did keep up with work while we were in the hospital, it’s just not the same.

I’ve missed my leather chair, the DVR (live T.V. SUCKS), and our amazing king size bed.

Most of all, I’ve missed having control over not only our environment, but our time and life. Your life is never your own in a hospital, with someone new coming in to give you something or take something from you every 15 minutes, day or night. We’re super social people, but even we got a little weary of having to be welcoming and cordial to perfect strangers at 3:00 in the morning.

The surgery went textbook perfectly and John is feeling great. I suspect the biggest difficulty I’ll have in the next several days is keeping him down so he can truly heal. The only thing that would make this better would be if it were the end of his cancer journey. If cutting out this one area of cancer had rid him of it altogether. Unfortunately, we are keenly aware that that’s not the case.

John still has Stage IV Melanoma, still has at least three other areas that continue to grow. So we are still fighting, and that’s an ongoing war. But this battle has been won, and that is how you win a war, so today, we celebrate.

And we are home.

Here are the highlights of our unexpected surgery timeline as told through my Facebook posts (if you want the complete details and photos, you can check that out here: https://www.facebook.com/julieannejones):

June 16th

“Heading for Seattle tomorrow for pre-op for John. We found out today he has to have a plastic surgeon for the skin graft portion of his surgery so we’ll meet with that surgeon tomorrow and his surgical oncologist on Friday morning. His surgery has been rescheduled for Monday, June 29th to accommodate the plastic surgeon.”

June 17th

Major change of plans. They are admitting John & we’ll be here until after his surgery which has been moved up to Monday the 22nd. The plastic surgeon is concerned about his obvious infection (actually multiple infections is what he said) and the fact that he’s still running frequent & fairly high fevers even after 2 weeks of IV antibiotics. He’s concerned about the risk of sepsis which can turn nasty very quickly & would rather not take that risk. Me either.

I’m actually really relieved. I’ve watched him get progressively worse & felt totally helpless for the past week. They’ll get him on stronger antibiotics and he may feel better. Luckily I can work from anywhere & will be doing a webinar for about 2000 people from the waiting room tomorrow morning.

June 20th

Day #3 of hospital/caregiver self care…

1. Long, hot shower and clean, curly hair
2. No makeup for this girl today
3. Comfy, overpriced Lulu Lemon dance pants
4. Scheduled an appointment at Massage Envy for a one hour hot stone massage tonight at 5:30. My neck and upper back/shoulder blades are almost crying they are so grateful.

June 21st

Finally got confirmation for the surgery tomorrow. We’re scheduled to start at 10:00 am (which, in our experience, means he’ll head into surgery sometime between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm). REALLY ready to give this tumor it’s walking papers so we can get on with our lives.

Below is a video we made on Father’s Day. This is the epitome of why I love this man so much.


Click on the video to watch it…

June 22nd

6:30 am

Up early & ready for the big day today. Finally going to get rid of this tumor & get our lives back. Surgery is sometime around 10:00 this morning.

2:30 pm

Update: First part of the surgery is over & it went great. Got the whole tumor and the skin around it looks great. Plastic surgery underway now. Should take at least another 3 hours.

6:30 pm

6 hours later…Plastic surgeon just came out. John did great, surgery went well. They were able to use the skin from where they took the muscle to cover the wound and didn’t have to do a skin graft so that’s great. He’ll be here at least 4 more days. We should get in to see him at about 7:00 or so. Very grateful it’s over & can’t wait to see him. Thanks for the thousands of prayers & all the positive energy. I felt it all day and can’t tell you how much it meant to us.

June 23rd

8:30 am

Johnny is feeling great today (thanks to the pain pump). His surgical oncologist just came by & said he got all of the infection & that John’s looking good. First time in 6 weeks he hasn’t had a fever & night sweats overnight. We are very grateful the infection is gone. He’ll get up with the help of the physical therapist today & start moving around. If all goes well, we should be heading home on Thursday.

12:30 pm

John is up & walking this morning. His physical therapist Sandy thinks he’s a rock star (because he is)!

June 24th

10:45 am

WE ARE OUTTA HERE!!!! John is doing so great they are releasing him this morning. 7 nights here and we are so ready to get back to our own bed, home, kids, dogs, friends, garden, STUFF.

8:30 pm

After a 7 nights in the hospital, one long surgery, a 5 hour drive home, and about 2 hours of unloading, unpacking, making the bed, and going through the mail, I am sitting in MY chair, in MY house, with MY dogs and kid watching MY T.V. My husband is in his spot next to me, feeling great and healing fast. Tonight, life is good and we are blessed. Don’t take anything for granted in your life. Ever, ever.