Swimming to Shore

[Guest post by Dan, my husband]

When Kerri told me she was calling her blog “Amongst the Waves,” it immediately brought back memories of my youth in Laguna Beach, California. As a kid, I was a daily fixture at the beach all summer long, but never became as comfortable in the surf as many of my companions. I moved to Laguna from Kansas City as a five year old, and was just learning to swim while my buddies were already body surfing.

Emerald Bay... the beach where Dan grew up and where his folks still live... so beautiful.

Big waves were rare at Emerald Bay, our local beach, and when they hit the news quickly spread. Everyone grabbed their boogie boards and fins and hit the water. I usually stayed on the beach and admired my buddies’ bravado.

Occasionally, I summoned the courage to follow along and more than once regretted it. The only options with big waves are to either “take off” and ride the wave, or dive under.  Being too frightened to take off, I usually dove under the waves, hoping to encounter a smaller one on the other side. The problem is that big waves come in sets. So after diving under one, I was forced to furiously swim to reach the next wave before it broke.

If I didn’t get there in time, the wave basically broke on top of me. I remember once being forced by a breaking wave down into the sand on my knees. I was sure there was no way I could make it back up and out of the water. I thought about that feeling sometimes while watching Kerri go through her chemotherapy treatments. Every three weeks she was also brought to her knees by the toxic chemicals rushing through her body. It was amazing to watch her bounce back again and again with a positive outlook and an unrelenting attitude.

Regardless of how turned around I was, I always eventually broke through the water’s surface, only to face yet another wave. But, I’ve never had to face a wave as daunting as what Kerri went through. She battled a set of waves worthy of Hawaii’s North Shore. Just when she was starting to recover from the last wave, she was hit by another and forced underwater again. But, she kept swimming and kept her head above the water.

Waiting for chemo treatment. Note the "port," which is a silicone pad embedded under my skin for easier injections. No messing with an IV every time! The nurses always appreciate that I rock the cleavage on chemo day.

Congratulations to Kerri on finishing her last chemo treatment.  She has gone through all of this with as much courage and grace as humanly possible.  When others might have spent time asking, “Why me?” Kerri asked, “When can we start?” When others might have complained about being bald, Kerri took it as an opportunity to put together an amazing scarf collection. When others might have let their tired bodies lay on the couch, Kerri ramped up her yoga and had regular massages and acupuncture.  She’s not done yet, as surgery looms on the horizon, but Kerri has definitely defeated the chemo storm.

Cheers to completing this round!

When you’re amongst the waves, the good news is that eventually the sets will die down.  The water settles and gives you a chance to swim back to shore.  Kerri can swim into shore now and rest a bit before the next set arrives.  I’m looking forward to seeing her on the beach.

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  1. Robyn
    Posted July 21, 2010 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    What a beautiful post. Congratulations Kerri & family for making it through chemo! Continuing to send good thoughts and prayers as you make your way (so gracefully) though this journey.

  2. lori n
    Posted July 19, 2010 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    Captn Dan–
    I’m sure you helped Kerri navigate her way through those waves. She is so lucky to have you. And you’re so lucky to have her! Congrats on Chemo’s end! Woohoo! Keep on Keeping on!

  3. Anna C
    Posted July 18, 2010 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Dan, I have thought about you a lot and wondered how you are managing throughout this process so it is so nice to read your post. I too have that childhood fear/terror of those waves that grab a hold of you and keep you down so relating that experience to what Kerri is going through really helps me understand the enormity and the power of that girl’s attitude. And the power of your being there to celebrate each achievement with her. Thank you for being strong for her and helping her find her way to the surface. Love to you both.

  4. B-E
    Posted July 18, 2010 at 2:33 am | Permalink

    Simply gorgeous! Congrats to you both for completing and surviving through this part of your journey. Love is one the most powerful tools.

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