Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What's going on

I realized that I haven't blogged about me and how I am doing in a while, which was the whole point of this blog in the beginning. I'm doing okay mostly. The cancer business is really in a maintenance phase meaning I go to my medical oncologist three times a year for another two years, I go to my radiation oncologist once a year for a few more years, and I go to my surgeon annually and have a mammogram arranged through his office for life. I also go to the endocrinologist again in January for another thyroid ultrasound and if its stable I will be back on annual ultrasounds for a few more years and then I hope to get to one every five years.

Nearly three years out from chemo, my hair which I used to keep long and straight is now short and the natural wave shows. All the ugly gray which first grew in is gone and I am back to my brown with a few strands of gray here and there. I still get occasional tingles in my fingers from left over neuropathy. The other chemo side effects seem to have faded.

It is harder and harder to lose weight - is this aging or as a result of cancer treatments? The same can be said for my lack of a brain - due to chemo or aging? I don't know but I will claim chemo brain for a while and will look for my inner size six that I know is still there.

My current medical issues revolve around my left ankle which is still painful and I think I will have some clean out surgery in December as it is not any better. My back is my central complaint. I have had three treatments to relieve pain this year alone. I take two pain meds and an anti inflammatory for my back. This is not a situation which will change anytime soon. Two years ago it was not a problem at all. As one area is treated another area shows up. It is not fun and is a life changing event. But its not cancer - is that a cheery thought? I don't know - its a life long problem as well.

Emotionally I am feeling okay. I take antidepressants and see my therapist regularly. I am on an even keel and am coping with life. Do I sound like I mental disaster? I hope not. They say after a cancer diagnosis there is a sense of PTSD and that 25% of cancer patients are treated for depression after the fact.

A lot of the stress is off me in that I am no longer going to the doctor every week or so. Now I am going every month. Every time I pull into the hospital parking lot, the stress of the whole cancer roller coaster returns at some subliminal or not so subtle level. It is easier to stay off the roller coaster when I stay away from the hospital.

Four years ago I was working in downtown Boston and looking for another job as my work schedule got me home from work two hours after my husband and my boss was impossible. I wanted a job closer to home. I left my downtown job and got a job closer to home and got laid off two weeks before my breast cancer diagnosis. This little quirk of fate allowed me to switch my life into volunteering, working part time and for non-profits which actually makes me happier than trying to juggle medical issues and a full time job in downtown Boston.

My husband and I are happy in our lives. We both have taken turns being patient and caregiver which gives us a new perspective on things. Anyway, that is my life in a nutshell now. I am doing okay but my life is forever changed again. The only thing I regret is getting cancer a second time and I had no control over that.

4 comments:

Nancy said...

I like the honest description you give about your life after cancer. It's good to read about what it's like on the other side of treatment. What does your back pain come from or don't you know? I have some now and don't want it to worsen.

Lauren said...

While you may not always feel like it, overall you sound like your doing quite well. Clearly all of your cancer problems don't go away when they tell you your done treatment. Its totally normal to have worries about recurrence and bad memories of what has happened in the past. I suppose calling it PTSD could be appropriate. I'm waiting for a study to come out stating the ridiculously high percentage of people who experience it post-treatment. Thanks for being real with us.

Zeddy said...

I believe cancer can be beaten.








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linda said...

Your self-disclosure in this post makes me feel like I'm having a cup of tea with you.