Wednesday, December 19, 2012
I don't really know what remission means and I'm not about to research it. All I know is that I show up for my surgeon's and oncologist's suggested follow-up visits. (I rather flatly refuse to follow up with Radiation- Oncology. I want them to know how pissed I am. And yes, I know how ridiculous that sounds.)
The surgeon regularly gives me a no-breast exam. The oncologist looks at my blood for whatever possible signs of recurrence might show up there. He also sends me to periodic PET scans to look for more advanced signs of cancer that might not show up in the blood. Overall, it's anyone's guess whether cancer cells are still skulking about. We'll know when a tumor appears, just like the other times.
Meanwhile, I've come to use each day for doing things I love and taking the best care of my body and mind that I can. (After all, they are my oldest and dearest companions, as we say in Mindfulness Practice.) Unfortunately taking care includes juggling a host of meds. And I dole out social energy with great care -- balancing relationships with appointments, exercise, and household duties (as few as I can get by with without threat of divorce). I hoard a large share of my time for taking it easy. Fatigue and residual nerve pain from last year's wicked treatments are ever-present reminders that 1) the medical people are sometimes clueless and 2) I need to revel in the good times as they present themselves. I join the ranks of those who have dealt with difficult stuff on a daily basis far longer than I. I have a new understanding of how strong you are.
I sometimes feel as though I lead a double life. There's the pouty-angry me and the revels-in-small-pleasures me. Fortunately, the reveler is still in the lead.
Merry Christmas to all -- and especially those who continue to keep us on their Christmas-card mailing list year after year even though we don't reciprocate. Your greetings and life updates are very much appreciated here.
(Here's the last portrait completed, grandson Simon. My friend Susan is up next.)