October 13, 2022
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Rest Is the Key to Building Great Things

This weekend Chad and I took a much needed trip to the Rocky Mountains. 

My (former) generous boss and friend Adam gifted us his family cabin nestled in Colorado, a little slice of heaven. 

This was our first trip together since Chad’s diagnosis, and our first trip since the pandemic as we had been hunkered down remodeling the house and building our urban farm. 

We arrived late on Friday so didn’t get a taste of the scenery until Saturday. We shuffled out with sleepy eyes and were greeted with floor to ceiling windows and a breathtaking view of the mountains.

Breathe. It. In.

The first thing I noticed around the Weliver cabin was the intricate artwork. 

Wildlife and landscape watercolors, Indigenous portraits, artifacts, stacks of nature books, handmade pottery and more. 

I walked in circles and noticed something new with each lap, while Chad loaded wood into the stone fireplace that spanned half the room.

When we stepped outside for our first hike, the smell of crisp October leaves greeted us and swirled through our senses.

For the next three days, Chad and I: 

  • Hiked
  • Talked 
  • Built fires
  • Sipped coffee
  • Watched the sunrise
  • Listened to the silence of the mountains
  • Cooked plant based meals
  • Dunked in the river
  • Chopped wood
  • Read books
  • Sketched 
  • Exhaled

But if I’m being totally honest, on the other side of comfort and calm, there was worry and anticipation. 

NAVIGATING CANCER WHILE ON VACATION: 

About a week before we left, Chad’s blood results showed elevated liver enzymes. 

  • What did this mean? 
  • Was this the result of his targeted therapy or something else?
  • Would he have to come off his medication? 
  • For how long? 

A battery of questions swirled through our heads and brought anxiety to our hearts, our new normal. 

Thankfully the second round of bloodwork came back a day after we arrived and reflected normal levels again. 

A brief exhale.

We backtracked into everything Chad was doing / eating / drinking as an attempt to understand this sudden change.

It could have been the build-up of his targeted therapy, finally kicking in after 6 weeks. 

Or my own personal hypothesis, the result of too much cinnamon which can apparently elevate liver counts. Chad and I have cut all sugar and carbs, so cinnamon with fresh fruit became our go-to treat in the evenings. 

I’m not sure we’ll ever know the root cause or if this will appear in his bloodwork again, but I keep telling myself this is Chad’s body communicating with him, giving him logical signs and symptoms and it’s up to us if we choose to listen, and figure out the chess move for the next play.

There are constant hairpin turns with this diagnosis, the challenging switchback up-up- up the side of the mountain. 

How can we try and embrace the uncertainty of this diagnosis, instead of fearing or trying to control it?

We don’t have an answer to that yet, I trust it will come with time, but this is the phase we’re in today.

PLANNING, ROUTINE & FOOD 

Back to the overarching topic of traveling with cancer, there’s also the desire to have a semblance of a routine to ensure Chad feels his absolute best, and his mind and body are supported. 

If you know Chad, you know he’s a free spirit who goes with the flow and revels in the unknown, so this new mental shift of planning comes with some disappointment too.

  • What will he be able to eat? 
  • What time should he take his med?
  • Can he get a workout in?
  • How will his body and lungs react to 9000 ft elevation?

We often talk about how we miss that carefree feeling. 

Hopping in the truck to do whatever, go anywhere, grab a drink and some deep fried pickles, never giving a second thought to any of it.

Just carefree living.

That feels stripped away at the moment. 

And yes to a some extent, the strictness with our food is a personal choice. 

There are plenty of people with stage four cancer who choose to eat sugar, drink alcohol, and to each their own.

We’re not playing with this diagnosis, so we choose to be super intentional about every choice, at least in the early phases until we have more information and some semblance of what the future will look like. 

There is a lot I can share when it comes to nutrition and travel, it has been by far one of the most eye opening experiences. 

I’ll write more on this topic in a separate post, and I'll also share some of our plant based recipes too. 

When it comes to recipes and cooking, we typically ‘wing it’ so I need to sit down and write this out. 

SITTING WITH SILENCE: 

For me personally, one big takeaway from this trip was what surfaced with the silence of the mountains. 

There’s no hustle and bustle of traffic, city noise, ruthless distractions, responsibilities at home, work calls, etc. 

There’s just silence. 

Things bubble up that you didn’t realize you were pushing down. 

Dammit!

We talked through some of the things I was thinking / feeling, and we had some really powerful conversations. Chad has always been an amazing listener, and he shared some things as well. 

It’s painful to hear your husband talk about having stage four cancer, especially when you look at him and he ‘looks’ perfectly healthy, has a badass mullet, he can do all the physical things he did before.

Can I just say…this shit is no joke?!

Keep talking about it. 

Even if it feels redundant, silly, burdensome, selfish, scary, annoying, hopeful, etc. 

With every hairpin turn, a new emotion surfaces, so keep communicating. 

OLD TRAVEL vs. NEW TRAVEL: 

In summary, I’m realizing our ‘old’ travel looks very different from our ‘new’ travel, and I’m actually pretty stoked about it. 

STACIE & CHAD’S OLD TRAVEL: 

  • Arrive at our destination 
  • Find a local watering hole
  • Have cocktails and shitty food
  • Lose track of what we talked about 
  • Push through and do a sweet outdoor activity
  • Eat more shitty food, over-extend our budget 
  • Wake up with a slight hangover
  • Begin again

STACIE & CHAD’S NEW TRAVEL:

  • Wake up at sunrise, headache free
  • Sip coffee together 
  • Write / read independently, laugh at Twitter
  • Hike, swim, explore, adventure during the daytime hours 
  • Cook an amazing, healthy plant based meal together
  • Stay within our budget and use that money for future goals
  • Talk and daydream about Teaquila Farm
  • Read or watch a show together
  • Get a solid night sleep
  • Begin again

Teaquila Farm is at the center of our nervous system right now. 

It’s the thing we are excited to dream up, build, create and execute on. 

And it’s not just ‘for fun.’

It’s to regenerate Chad right down to the cellular level, stripping out sugar and glucose and only fueling him with the best food. 

For me, it’s about being proactive with my health, and setting my future self up for success. Also, working in the garden fuels my mental health and allows me to be an energized caregiver.

We're creating the blueprints of this journey so you can join us in regenerating too.

Thanks as always for reading, drop us a line if you have any questions or wanna chat.

xo

Stacie & Chad

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