The State of Affairs v.9.
“I just don’t know. You are one of those women we will never really understand.”
Putting aside the number of jokes I wanted to make in response, I asked him, “But you feel good about things, right?”
“About the way things are going with you? I feel great.”
* * *
I hung out with Dr. Jones yesterday and we talked about the great and unexpected decline in my CA125. He was pretty solidly sure that my number was going to stabilize around 134 (which would still indicate no active disease in my body, but would nonetheless be higher than “normal”), so when it plummeted well into the “normal” range without the help of any Western medicine, it came as a surprise to both of us.
Lets clarify something here. I knew I didn’t need more chemo. I didn’t know my numbers would ever return to “normal”. Both Dr. Jones and Dr. Bush had talked this through with me, and how a stable, elevated, CA125 was nothing to worry about – the only concern would be if it started to rise again. So that’s what I believed we were working with. I was not prepared for a normal tumor marker number.
Remember – God told me I didn’t need more chemo. Not that I would end up medically defined as “in remission” or “cured”. For all I knew, He wanted me to stop chemo to teach us all some lesson in dying.
* * *
I am battling a cold over here. I picked it up in Big Sky and it was a reminder that airplanes still pose an enormous threat to my suppressed immune system. And the fact that I can’t seem to kick it is another testament to the fact that chemo’s impacts on my system haven’t worn off yet. I woke up today with a headache the likes of which I haven’t experienced since my last hangover more than two years ago. Not fun.
Hope has a cold too (who even knew dogs get colds?) so the two of us have been doing what we can to get through the day and then settling into AP snuggle time.
I’ve been told to stay away from over-the-counter cold remedies as much as I can – no need to add even more toxins to my system after poisoning it within an inch of its life (literally) earlier this year. So I am taking this opportunity to learn even more about using oils and herbs and laugh if you’d like but they really do help.
* * *
On the menopause front, things are improving. In perhaps the biggest news of the year after my normal CA125, I have been able to sleep through the night! I’m not sure if it’s the colder temperatures (admittedly, the heat is barely on in our house) or the incense and oils or the yam cream (because that’s a thing) but if I wake up hot these days, its because Hope and I have buried ourselves under 5 super warm blankets and its really just too much for any living being.
Daytime hot flashes vary. I have days with none at all. Yesterday I had three. I notice I have them more when I move between warmer and colder spaces, which can be attributed to chemo’s impact on my body’s ability to regulate its temperature more than anything.
More often than not, rather than having a true hot flash, I just feel “stuffy” – like I need space from the air and my clothes. Its uncomfortable, but I prefer it to the sweaty mess I had gotten used to being, so I will take it.
* * *
Many of you have asked about the bath and beauty products I am using and if they are vegan and natural. I’ll do a separate post on this as I get further along that road, but the quick answer is that I am moving in that direction. I can’t afford to just scrap everything I have and start over (thanks medical bills) but as I use products up I am replacing them with natural, vegan products. I am fortunate to have a dear one who makes many of these things, so I am able to support her while making this shift (and I can tap into her knowledge about all this stuff) so that makes me doubly happy.
* * *
If I had to lodge a complaint, these days my brain would be the recipient. I told a colleague the other day that it feels as if my brain has been put through a cheese grater. It still works. All the information is still there. But I need to relearn how to access it and how to use it effectively. I am making progress and I am still hoping that it will correct itself within the predicted year for the reversal of chemo brain.
* * *
In other news, you may have picked up on the fact that I started yoga teacher training earlier this month. This was not in the original healing plan. But I think I mentioned in a previous post that I was intentionally leaving space for the opportunities God would present to me, and this one pinked right into place.
I’ve contemplated YTT for awhile – I think most serious yogis do at one point or another. There was one teacher I felt particularly pulled to study under, but it seemed impossible given the way her trainings generally worked (i.e. large chunks of time in a tropical location). So, in line with the frantic impatience that defined my past life, I started a different YTT right before my diagnosis. Obviously, I wasn’t able to complete it.
So when chemo ended I started to think about getting back into that program, and it just didn’t feel right. I looked at a few others that would be feasible for me, and none of those felt right either. This one teacher kept speaking to me more than others. So I told God – “if she ever offers a training that I can easily afford and complete while working, I’ll do that. Otherwise, I’ll remain a professional student.”
The next week, she announced her new school – and a 500 hour YTT that I could both afford and complete while staying on top of my job.
So I couldn’t really say no.
As I wrapped up my first 25 hours this weekend, I knew in my bones that I was with the right teacher at the right time. I am sure I will share more with y’all as the next two years move on, but that’s what I am up to in my down time these days. And I am excited to share what I learn at the feet of my teacher along with the knowledge I gain through my travels with others who are struggling to hold on to hope in those dark spaces.
* * *
As we parted ways yesterday Dr. Jones yelled over his shoulder, “I don’t know what you’ve been doing, but whatever it is keep doing it!”
That’s what I intend to do.