The State Of Affairs v.12
One year ago, I was hovering in the space just before my very last chemotherapy treatment. I had no idea what laid beyond that sixth round – and if you had told me there is a pretty solid chance I: (a) wouldn’t have believed you and (b) would have been completely incapable of handling the news. I was already playing around with the idea that I might not do the recommended maintenance chemotherapy – and had made up my mind that I certainly wouldn’t do the entire prescribed year. But I don’t think I was in a place yet where I could have gotten my mind around the idea of saying no to additional treatment in the face of an “incurable” diagnosis.
So, as you can imagine, I’ve been doing a good bit of reflection on the then versus now thing. Which seems like as good a time as any to do another one of these posts.
There are sure to be more – posts that delve a bit into the lessons learned in the last year and the things that have come as surprises. But since I am still asked fairly frequently, lets get into some of the more mundane details today.
First and foremost – my pigtails are back! They are meager little buds, but they are there. There are a few stragglers who need to be corralled with the help of a headband, but if you knew me before, you know my headband game has always been strong, so this is a bit of a nonissue. And if you knew me before, you also might remember that the summer often found my pigtails in buns (I like to think this made me something of a 21st century Princess Leia, but I digress) and my little pigtailetts are remnicent of that look. I am quite delighted.
Physically, I am doing well. I still tire easily and these hot flashes and my body’s inability to regulate temperature are hanging in there. Its impossible to dress in any way that is remotely comfortable for an entire day. But those are the extent of my complaints. I am slowly getting back to spin class and a more vigorous yoga flow, and one of my dearest sisters and I are contemplating taking on the Richmond half. I need some motivation to really get moving again.
Dr. Jones is considering letting me skip the CT scan and bloodwork we had planned for this month. We had talked about spacing them further apart if they would make me anxious, and really, it seems that’s the only purpose they serve right now (well, along with depleting my bank account). I feel fine, and none of the symptoms he has me watching for have arisen. So fingers crossed I get a reprieve until at least October.
There is some debate about when my official remission date is. It could be the date of my surgery – assuming Dr. Boardman actually got everything then. It could be August 2, 2016 – the date of my last dose of chemotherapy. Or it could be in November – when we finally got “normal” numbers. For Dr. Jones’ purposes, we are tracking based on how far out from chemotherapy I get. Being one year out and still in remission is a HUGE milestone – most ovarian cancers recur within 6 months of treatment. The next milestone will be the 5 year mark. But as Dr. Jones’ reminds me each time I see him – every day with normal numbers is further out from chemotherapy and another reason to celebrate.
Goodness, I love that man.
Y’all know by now that I have been struggling in the mental health department. Things seem to be under control right now, and there is a goal among my healers to put the depression itself into “remission” within three months. I am reading more and more about how to use yoga and Ayurveda to heal depression and anxiety, and I am looking forward to implementing those practices in the coming months. You will hear more about all that for sure.
My diet is still hanging out in the veganish-gluten-freeish-soy-freeish arena. I have to admit that ice cream season has made me a little lax, so I am cracking back down this week. My body just feels better without much dairy, meat, soy, and gluten, and that has to mean something. I have also become religious about drinking my green tea each day (and learning to make sun tea has taken that to a whole new level!). My supplement regimen is still pretty intense, but most of those are to help with the hot flashes, so I’m not planning to give them up quite yet. I’ve also begun utilizing several adaptogenic herbs – something else I’ll be sharing more about in the weeks to come.
Hope is amazing. She truly is the best dog ever on Earth and she continues to help me heal in more ways than she knows. I joke that she is finally learning how to “dog properly” – things like sticking her head out of the window in the car, noticing her reflection, playing tug, and being afraid of fireworks are all new this year. I am fairly certain she missed several typical puppy milestones because she was so focused on me last summer. But she seems over it now and ready to take on life as a carefree pup (with mild separation anxiety, but you know . . . )
So that’s the update. There are a few things brewing that I am going to share in another post. Overall, things are good. Far better than a year ago. Nothing has returned to normal, but the shift that has occurred has been a good one. One not of my planning, but one more beautiful than I could have created on my own.
And that’s part of the magic – isn’t it?