Monday, March 5, 2018

A week of "firsts"!

No appointments?

I had to double check my calendar several times, no medical appointments this week. No blood letting, no big machine looking into me, no phone interviews, no check ups, no ordering or receiving meds in the mail even! week off...a week for me.
When I first was diagnosed life turned into day to day thinking, planning. I honestly couldn't "see" past the next day. MRIs one after another, blood tests, more blood tests in prep for biopsies, PET and CT scans...just a whirlwind of tests and doc visits. I was anxious about every one, eager perhaps. One test led to another as we narrowed down the beast and determined its location and spread.
Then came the relief of diagnosis, the hope of treatment and the routine of weekly blood testing and monthly oncology visits.

This all only started November 27, 2017. I am now on my second break from the chemo-drug cycle and I HAVE A WEEK OFF! Oops, sorry, did I scream that?

I started by going to the park, of course, my nature walking therapy while I await the strength to return to my lungs in order to withstand a coveted hike up on the mountain. I will sneak up there this week, if only to feel the thin air and have a meal in the pines. Not much walking probably as my blood counts are still in recovery mode.

No pain, oh, the joy

And I had to really think about this joyful event because I actually have had some sort of daily pain for near a year now. I thought at first that most of it was self-inflicted, working hard at the cabin, digging ditches, pouring concrete, moving materials, splitting wood, hiking higher and higher. Then when I got the news in November I realized at least some of the continuous and recurring soreness was due to the cancer spreading rapidly through my bones. Who knew?!
I have always pushed my physical body a bit too far, riding on my bike long distances, hiking and scrambling up mountains, working on the house, rebuilding the humble cabin in the woods, or just taking down and chopping a dead tree. Even in my art I would take on huge collaborative projects that required weeks of printing large blocks (my other blog
Cranking the press daily, out of the question for now,
but will get back to that!

Printing the first large project with my friend Barbara Mason

So I'm often sore, often stiff, often nursing some bump and bruise. I can take pain, a lot of it. But the underhanded erosion of my bones was new to me. For a few months last year I thought I would have to "back off" my physically demanding lifestyle and start to get old gracefully. Little did I know my body was being eaten from the inside bringing in a different kind of pain, a constant mixture of soreness and sharp stabs.

This past Saturday I woke up wanting to go walking, wanting to garden. Almost felt weird to have a desire to exert myself a little. I felt like the old me for just a little. But wait, be careful, you are detrained, I tell myself. My lung capacity, my ability to use muscle fuel, taking a very deep breath, sweating when I get hot, everything is operating normally now but at a lower level than before. But it's working! The meds are working, the body is working. I have no pain. I can fill my lungs to capacity with cold dry desert air. I can walk two miles now, without stopping to sit on a park bench. I can sneeze without wincing! What a blessing! What a joy!
I can now look forward to a "normal" week, not new-normal but old-normal, real-normal.

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