January 27, 2008

Last week was my second week of being back to work in the office. I’m up to 32 hours per week already, and still feeling pretty tired at the end of the day; but as long as I get to bed early enough, I seem to have enough energy to get me through the day. I have been spending this weekend recuperating, preparing for next week. I do have to go grocery shopping today, but I’m more worried about road conditions than my energy level at this point.

After last week’s supercold weather (well, for Portland, anyway), we’re still having cold weather, but now it’s raining instead of clear. That means that we’ve got icy roads to contend with. Unfortunately, because I wasn’t driving last fall, I didn’t buy studded tires for my Mini. Hopefully it’ll be far enough above freezing when I go out this afternoon that the well-traveled roads won’t still be icy.

I haven’t heard back from the surgery scheduler yet, so still don’t have a date for my next surgery. I would like to think they would have called me if there were some problem with scheduling it for the 29th of February as we discussed, but based on the previous failure to get started in a timely manner, I don’t hold a lot of hope for that. I will call on Monday to see what I can find out, and if necessary light a fire, as it were.

It’s weird to think that after the surgery I will wake up in menopause. How long does it take one’s body to realize that it’s not producing estrogen any more, and start reacting? The normal process typically approaches menopause slowly and women start to have symptoms a little at a time (of course, everyone is different, but presumably the average is accrual of symptoms over time). From a little bit of web research, it sounds as if the symptoms hit quickly and harder than they do when going through natural menopause. I can hardly wait. . .

It has been four weeks as of Friday since my last chemo session, and I think I’m finally starting to see (well, at this point, it’s not visible, so “feel” is probably a more appropriate verb) some hair growing on my scalp. Lucky me, I get to go through the Velcro stage again! I’ve been wearing hats and scarves constantly, unlike earlier in the process when it was warm enough to go bare-headed. Even the wig is not warm enough, at least not when I’m outdoors. The inside of the wig is a sort of netted mesh, which is no doubt pleasant enough during the warm weather, and keeps one from sweating underneath it; but in the cold, it just feels like it’s got a draft.

As I’ve waded through this breast cancer journey, with little stops at the roadside attractions of pulmonary embolism and emotional rollercoaster, I’ve come to realize that I really have a strong desire and will to live. Unfortunately, I haven’t taken very good care of my body the last 10 years or so. I used to be a lot more active, and kept my weight down without trying very hard. My current weight and activity level leaves me open to all sorts of dread diseases, such as diabetes, blood clots, heart disease, and cancer, just to name the most common ones. While I was going through chemotherapy, the doctor was insistent that chemo is not to be used as a weight-loss program (this wasn’t likely to be a problem with me, since the whole idea of bulimia as a way of controlling weight grosses me out). At my last chemo session, I asked the doctor when I could start losing weight – after warning me off of “weird diets”, he said “two weeks after the last chemo”. So I joined Weight Watchers two weeks ago. So far, I haven’t seen a lot of downwards action on the scale, but following the plan is a lot easier than it was previously (I had been on Weight Watchers in the late ’90s, and although I lost some weight, sticking to the plan was difficult, mostly because of attitude on my part). Perhaps because of the fear of mortality hitting me, my motivation is very high at this point.

My bigger struggle now is becoming more active. Most of my pleasures are sedentary – reading, knitting, beading, quilting, gaming. I’m not your typical couch potato, in that I don’t watch TV (we pretty much only watch DVDs, and that only occasionally – we canceled the cable service at the end of December because once I could focus on reading again after the surgery, I never turned the TV on). Instead, I’m a “craft potato”. My physical therapy is helping, but I have to force myself to make time at home to do my stretches and exercises. Taking the dog for walks is usually easier to do, although the recent cold and icy weather has made it both less appealing and more dangerous (for humans, at least – between having four legs and natural traction from his toenails, Robin does pretty well on slick pavement). Last week, we took him over to the training arena and started working him on the agility equipment again – Brian is working for a client today, and I can’t manage the equipment on my own, or I would take him today, also. If the pavement isn’t too icy this afternoon, I’m going to take him for a walk.

So life for now is getting back into a routine – approaching normal, I would say. Normal is good.

1 Response to “January 27, 2008”

  1. 1 Jeanette Garay
    February 26, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    Let’s hear if for normal…and boring. I wish you many days of normal and boring. You deserve it after the long, hard fight you’ve had. I marvel at you and your grace under strain. You go girl!
    We’re thinking about you and sending good ‘get well’ vibes. Greg, Jeanette, and Emmy Rose.

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