Sunday, January 23, 2011

Steady Improvements ... Mostly.

These photos are views from the Diefenbaker building on campus where I work. Cold weather views ... taken through the window. Brrrrr ... Kevin dropped me off and picked me up a couple of days this week. One day, walking across campus after work to get to my car, my eyeballs were so cold I had to plot my course to memory and then cover my eyes with my scarf while I walked for part of the way. And then today ... single digits. It will always amaze me that the temperature can change so dramatically so quickly.

I had a pretty good week. I realize that my physical stamina and strength is still improving. On Thursday I walked with colleagues to the Agriculture building for a seminar and it was the first time that I didn't feel everyone else was having to slow their steps for me. Without pushing myself, my natural pace wasn't any slower than anyone else's and, perhaps, it was faster than that of others ... meaning that for the first time in a couple of years, I need to show some consideration and slow down to match the pace of others. That said, no matter how much stamina and speed I recover, I will NEVER be able to keep up to Sylvia. I never could. But to have back that which I had lost ... it feels VERY good!

I was feeling especially good on Friday. I wore a bit of a heel to work and didn't suffer any cramping. Bonus. Another step toward normal. In addition to that, I have been experimenting with a blow dryer thingie that looks like a curling iron brush. I've been able to smooth out some of those tight curls and create bangs! Bangs that don't curl up again too badly! It's quite the revelation and goes a long way to making me feel more "normal". You can't imagine what it does for the soul to not LOOK like a cancer patient. My hair is still quite on the thin side in spots but when I've taken care to straighten and smooth it a bit, I at least feel that a stranger looking at me isn't probably thinking, "I don't know what she's been through but she's definitely been through something". Now someone might think, "Too bad about her thin hair, but she's making the most of it". They might not even notice my hair. That's a good thing.

Despite how great I was feeling on Friday ... I even went with colleagues for lunch to Louie's! ... I hit a wall mid-afternoon and, for the life of me, couldn't keep my eyes open. I had to lay my head down for a while, which I resorted to only after a lot of head-bobbing. I hate that!! Nevertheless, I got it together to go to a party with people I work with and people associated with the Centre for the Study of Co-operatives who I don't see so often. It was such a nice party and Kevin and I had a great time.

I had big plans for yesterday but it turned out to be a crash day. I managed a nice breakfast out with Carol and Pat but after that I crashed. I was useless. Tired. No energy. I sat like a lump. I couldn't get it together to go to my Splurge club party last night. When I miss something that I KNOW will be so fun and such a good time, you know I'm toast. It didn't help to learn that a woman who had pretty much the same type of cancer as me ... same grade and stage ... and similar treatment plan, just died. She was diagnosed in 2000, it came back in 2004 and then, in 2008, she learned it had metastasized to other parts of her body. And now she's dead. I know that her experience won't necessarily be mine, but it does bring the fear of recurrence closer to the surface when one learns of another person who has lost their life to cancer. It's less the loss of life that I fear (though that would be a total bummer), but the way one loses to cancer ... long and awful. Like most people, I would rather not worry about death and then just drop dead when it's my time. Anticipating a long, drawn-out, painful death chills me to the bone. I never had reason to anticipate such a demise before and while I try not to think about it and mostly I don't, hearing of what this woman went through before she slipped into the peacefulness of death raises all those semi-buried fears. It makes for a cheerless day for the most part. RIP, Daria. As I'm sure many of you know, we just have to find our own ways to put our fears to rest and carry on and to take the scary experiences of our lives and find meaning and a renewed sense of purpose.

This morning, I feel a little brighter and have put my fears to rest again. Even though I slept 9 hours, I still feel quite fatigued. I did dishes and made pancakes, so that's a good sign. I need to get some other things done today so I'll be ready to go back to work tomorrow. Weekends are just too short. I know I'm not the only one who feels that way, but I really do struggle more than I ever used to.

The sunshine is gorgeous today! I'd better get out there and enjoy it and the milder temperature.

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