Been busy since my last post and surgery with recovery and some travel. Though the initial recovery from this second surgery went quicker than the first, there has been what seems like a lot of residual aches and pains. I've determined that the pain meds aren't quite so evil, and at the end of a day when all the tenderness is high and other muscles have started to ache, it's absolutely the best choice.
After getting home from the hospital last Monday I did a lot of resting for the first couple of days. Then prepping to leave for a weekend at an event in Wisconsin. This is a yearly trip we always make, and I was happy that we didn't end up having to skip it. Lots of friends and a lively Saturday, then spent the evening happily imbibing a lovely scotch. Stayed up far too late but was able to sleep a lot of the drive back home on Sunday.
No new news on the medical front. I have appointments set up with two oncologists to talk about the next steps. Both are three to four weeks from now, so we've got a bit of a wait in front of us. From what I understand we are looking at two options, either another round of chemo or we're done with treatment for now and we set up regular scans and blood tests. A friend recently asked me when we could start using the "R" word. I'm not really certain how long until we can consider me in remission. I know that if we are done for now and the first couple of scans show clear, there will come a point when I will be declared NED (no evidence of disease). But the bigger words like remission and cure are a longer way off.
This of course is assuming that I ever get to one or both of these terms. Stage 4 is an evil beast and I've yet to overcome the underlying fears of recurrence. I've found more rectal cancer patients diagnosed in stage 3 or 4, and they've all had a recurrence within five years of the end of their first treatment. And it seems that the recurrence is a dead end. It's truly frightening to think about it... but I know that this is only a portion of a percent of the rectal cancer patients out there, and every single story is a different one with a different journey. I am standing by my positive attitude and will continue to live the best I can in every day that comes. I refuse to give in or be laid psychologically low by tables or percentages.
I try to show the best of my positive sensibility here in this online journal, but I also want to show the truth of things. There are times when I am very scared. But I do not let it rule me. There may be moments of a tightened throat and eye prickling, but I use mindfulness techniques and conscious thinking to keep myself grounded and to allow those moments to be what they are without being dragged down by them. I can sit with fear very comfortably. It actually allows me to better make decisions and keep focused on the now and the tomorrows. As I've said here before, none of us have the promise of tomorrow. That lack of promise is why every morning starts with some joy for me. And I hope that it takes a very long time for me to lose the charm of that.
I guess what I am trying to say in a more blunt manner is... don't worry about me when the conversation here turns a bit darker. I don't want to hide that side of it as it does occupy my mind often. But it is just a small percentage of the time. Fleeting moments that keep me grounded and that much more pleased with the good things. I hope you will excuse me now as I go to work on a baby blanket for one of those good things that is coming.