Friday, January 30, 2009

my newest venture...

On Tuesday, I registered to compete in a triathlon! Race date is May 9. I'm not looking to win — just to finish. It should be a pretty amazing experience, I think.

In any case, I decided to blog about training for that. If you want to follow, that blog is here.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

lingering side effects - possibly TMI

About three quarters through my run with chemo, my boobs started swelling and shrinking with my cycle. There were other side effects that mimicked pregnancy (according to my pregnant-at-the-time friend), so I just added this to the list of things that will probably happen to me if/when I get pregnant.

It's still happening.

I had assumed that when the boobs stopped this silly game, I would know that the lingering effects of my favorite poisons were gone and I could declare another small victory :)

But it's still happening.

I asked the oncologist about it some time ago, and he said to ask my OB. My OB was also my PCP and she rocked. And then she moved to MedCo, and I can't see her any more. I haven't found a new PCP or a new OB, so the question remains unasked.

They told me that side effects could last up to 18 months. I am beginning to wonder, though, if this is actually ever going to go away... And if it's a problem, other than bra-logistically.

Monday, January 19, 2009

this morning's check-up

I am freshly home from my appointment with the oncologist.

Chest X-ray came back fine and normal.

Bloodwork came back mostly fine, but white blood cells and lymphocytes are low, so he wants me to have them checked every four weeks.

He said that chance of recurrence is highest in the first two years. One of those is over. He said that because I responded so well to the chemo and because they treated me so aggressively, he doesn't expect there will be any problems.

I mentioned the itchy, and he agreed that it was likely from the pool.

He commended me again for being fit and active, and said that "most women your age are heavy and sedentary, and it really is a shame." I agree (with the shame part, I don't know if "most" are that way or not).

I go back in four months.

I stopped back into the infusion room to say hello, but none of my nurses were there. On Friday, when I had bloodwork done, none of my phlebotomists were there. Where did everybody go? :-(

In any case, I am pleased to still be able to say that I am cancer-free. I hadn't expected otherwise, but I'm not sure that the little almost imperceptible voice of "what if" can be completely turned off.

Back to living life :-)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

small odd gratitude

We had some clementines that weren't so tasty any more. I thought I'd juice them and see if the juice was any good, in an effort not to waste them.

While slicing them, it (randomly) occurred to me that I was able to slice them, juice them, and I could have drunk the juice without thinking twice about it. I was grateful not to have fresh fruits on the "do not consume" list any more. It doesn't matter that there's dirt and germs on the peels. My body takes care of them :)

Not sure why that popped into my head this evening, but it did. One more little thing to be grateful for in this strangely the-same-as-before-but-not life after cancer.

Monday, January 5, 2009

a long, fabulous moment of forgetting

On Saturday, I ran a 5K. I am thrilled to report that I beat my previous time by over 5 minutes :)

The race, of course, was outside. I put on my suncreen and didn't think about it again.

That's the first time I was able to "not think about it again" in roughly a year and a half. It felt good (once I realized I had done it) :)

I suspect that I haven't needed to be so concerned about it for a while - take precautions (sunsreen, long sleeves, umbrella when the sun is intense) and let it go. It was nice to let it go.

There have been a barrage of ads for a new(-ish?) cancer center in the area. They claim to have a wide array of services, including homeopathic docs. I wonder if they take patients who have completed treatment just to talk about lingering side effects and nutrition and things like that. I'm going to check into it.

On that topic, they have a billboard that reads, "Anyone who says winning isn't everything has never fought cancer" or something significantly close to that. My initial reaction was "fuck yeah!" but then I got to thinking about it ...

Having cancer has certainly changed my life (though not in the ways that most people inquired about - my partying hasn't decreased at all ;) ). And while of course I would have needed to survive in order for that to happen long-term, I don't think just getting through it would be considered a "win." Or maybe it'd be like a win because the other team forfeited. It seems to me that for cancer survival to be a win, there needs to come from it more than just surviving ... but that's just me.