• carla moreno

A Message from Cheryl Strayed

Going on 6 weeks since my HIPEC surgery and it's been one hell-of-a-ride with recovery. I've never felt so exhausted in my life and while I was told to expect this, no advice could've prepared me adequately. Yet here I am, alive and making it through.

My surgery was 11 hours long and aside from the chemotherapy session (HIPEC) I had my gallbladder, a piece of my liver, kidney and diaphragm, a hernia, and more of my large and small intestines removed. I also had a full hysterectomy as there was evidence of tumors on my uterus. All in all, this was a massive assault on my 4'11" frame and I stand in awe of patients I know who endured even longer HIPEC surgeries.

The challenge with recovery goes beyond the physical. HIPEC recovery is a mindfuck. The days of feeling good and utterly depleted are never consistent because healing isn't linear. And did I mention the diarrhea? It's never-ending and I have to wait for my body to adjust to its 'new' self before I can consider taking Imodium.

Patience is the name of the game and unfortunately I'm not good at it, so imagine the surprise in receiving a personal message from my absolute favorite author, Cheryl Strayed.

Yep, that's right. A close friend got a hold of her -- I have no idea how -- but Cheryl Strayed was moved by my story and posted this short video message:

Of course, I had to watch a couple of times before it sunk in that this message was actually for me. As usual, Cheryl had the right words to a very difficult topic and she reminded me that all we can do is take one step forward over and over again because that's life.

Isn't it funny how the simplest message carries deeper meaning in certain life circumstances?

Perhaps the most beautiful takeaway from my cancer diagnosis and Cheryl's message is all the humanity, care and compassion that still exists in this world. I'll admit that the darkness and fear that's infiltrated our world lately has taken an emotional toll making recovery that much harder for me.

I have so much gratitude to my wonderful friend and to Cheryl Strayed for the kindness and thoughtfulness I so much needed right now.

I cried. I smiled.

Let's do this -- one step at a time.

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