Michelle Dyson

First post: Jan 19, 2018 Latest post: Mar 18, 2018
"You will lose everything. Your money, your power, your fame, your success, perhaps even your memories. Your looks will go. Loved ones will die. Your body will fall apart. Everything that seems permanent is impermanent and will be smashed. Experience will gradually, or not so gradually, strip away everything that it can strip away. Waking up means facing this reality with open eyes and no longer turning away.

But right now, we stand on sacred and holy ground, for that which will be lost has not yet been lost, and realizing this is the key to unspeakable joy. Whoever or whatever is in your life right now has not yet been taken away from you. This may sound trivial, obvious, like nothing, but really it is the key to everything, the why and how and wherefore of existence. Impermanence has already rendered everything and everyone around you so deeply holy and significant and worthy of your heartbreaking gratitude.

Loss has already transfigured your life into an altar." - Jeff Foster

This was read to me months back as an intention during yoga class, and has stayed with me ever since.  All that we truly ever have is this day and each other.  That is the way I have been living my life this year, and will continue to.

As many of you know, but some don't, 2017 was a crazy year for me-- only ups and downs, no neutrals.  Rick and I separated in March and divorced in September.  I also had a crazy kidney stone that threw me for a loop from May to July.  But as always, the good outweighed the bad.  My friend Ali took me in as her roommate for five months before we sorted everything out and I got my new home (which I LOVE!).  I landed a job that is my dream job, working for one of the most respected safari outfitters in the country (Deeper Africa) as their Director of Marketing.  Not only do I love every single thing I do there, I adore the people I work with.  The owners are the smartest, most caring and loyal people, and I can't wait to get into work every day.  This summer I even had the bandwidth to work weekends, and I hope I can get back to that again.  

As part of the job, I had the experience of a lifetime in October: Deeper Africa sent me for nearly 3 weeks in Africa on safari to Kenya, Tanzania (and one of its islands, Zanzibar).  I fell in love with Africa, and will go back some day.  (I'll post some pictures for those who didn't see my FB feeds at the time.)

Anyhoodle, when I got back from that trip, my stomach was bothering me and I had intense upper back pain.  I figured the back pain was from the 2-day flight in coach from Arusha to Colorado, but finally saw a dr. right before Thanksgiving to get my stomach pain checked as it had become intolerable and I was vomiting daily.  Diagnosed with gastritis (inflamed stomach nerves), I was treated as you would an ulcer and referred to a GI specialist for a scope to see verify if there was an ulcer.  Long story short, I couldn't get an appointment for weeks, and despite increasing pain meds, it finally was out of control and I had to go to the ER.

At the ER they did a scan that showed a cyst on my pancreas.  Didn't get that concerned, since I had one as an infant.  The next day they did a biopsy and found cancer cells.  On New Year's Eve.  ("...should all acquaintances be forgot...")

So since then I've beavered away at setting up oncology apps, meeting surgeons, etc. -- and Rick's been with me to each.  My Moms (friends made during Fritz's toddler years and the support group we initiated back then) have been an unbelievable support system and Hunter has done everything from setting up this site to visiting me every morning at the hospital, bringing me the important things like cute pajamas and Vanity Fair.  The hardest part was telling the kids, but we did it this week which is why we are just now being public with our families and wonderful friends near and far.

That's the nut of my story then.  Status posts have already started so you can stay as up-to-date as possible.  

And so what can you do?  

If you're far away, send me funny pictures of the two of us that you have kicking around.  Keep your status updates going so I know what YOU'RE up to.

If you're close to Boulder, Hunter will be posting specific info about meals/picking up kids, etc.  I think it'll have a calendar fnction, too, so you can sign up for whatever can work for you.  Not sure how much I'll need right now.  My fabulous parents were here this week and my mother is staying for a while longer.  I know I can count on them for quite a lot, and that means everything to me.  But do also send me good pictures. ;)

I love you all,

ps:  Turns out I do have h.Pylori bacteria in my stomach lining, so was on my way to ulcer-ville after all.  Oye.

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