Sunday, February 24, 2013

Busy Girl

Another week at my sister's and helping take care of my nephew in the bag. That makes 3 weeks out of his 7 weeks old that I've been there. Already I am impressed by how much he has changed each time I show up. It will be almost a whole month before I make it out there again, and I'm certain that I almost won't recognize him by that point. This aunt stuff so far is pretty cool. Mostly I'm getting the opportunity to hang out more with my sister, but that is good stuff indeed.

Got home earlier today from a quick trip down to Kentucky for the weekend. Had just enough time after getting home from my sister's on Friday to un- and re-pack quickly before getting back on the road. A lot of hours on the road, but plenty of quality time with friends and good folks. Nothing like dressing up with your closest friends to make for a good time. Got home late this afternoon, unpacked fully and have been spending some quality time with the neglected kitties. The crew hit a great barbecue place last night and I picked up extra to bring home. So dinner was a breeze tonight. And doubling down on good barbecue isn't a bad thing, especially when it's good smoked brisket.

I've got six days here at the house before I pack my bags again for another trip. At this point next week I'll be winding down from a full day of travel and initial sightseeing in D.C. with two of my best girlfriends. In the very short interim I have a theatre date, lots of laundry to do, local bands to see, a possible birthday event, and many errands. There has been very little standing still in this year so far. I am glad, however, for the busy- and full-ness of the year. The doctors will get a hold of me again soon and I'll run out of steam in the coming months. So I'm getting it all in now while I'm at full capacity.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Good Days

I've been taking advantage of these good days recently. Other than the last couple of seemingly random back pain incidents I'm feeling about 100% lately. I know chemo will be starting sometime in the next few weeks however. So I'm reveling in the "feel good" current moments. Been keeping busy visiting with friends, doing some pre-spring cleaning culling, and researching accommodations and activities for an upcoming trip to Washington D.C. at the beginning of March. Two of my best girlfriends and I all turn/turned 40 in the first three months of this year. We had been discussing a mutual birthday party or some other kind of celebration. We've settled on a trip together out to D.C. I think I may be the only one of us who hasn't been out there before, so I'm pretty stoked for the trip. I'm always pretty excited to go somewhere or do something that's new to me. We will be hitting a few museums, likely some strolls along the mall and whatever else strikes our fancy.

Heading back out to my sister's again on Monday. This will be my last chance to head up there while she is still on maternity leave. After she is back to work my visits to help with my nephew will likely be on weekends. Until he is sleeping solid through the nights (which can be a few months), they are very happy to have me coming up and taking night shifts. I feel genuinely lucky to have the freedom to help out so much and be a part of the beginning of this new chapter in their life. A decade ago neither my sister or I would have guessed that we would become so close and such good friends to one another. It is a blessing.

The sun was shining bright and long a couple of days ago. I opened all the blinds in the house, had some upbeat music playing and was dancing around the house accomplishing chores. I was all smiles and feeling particularly happy. I stopped in one moment and felt inordinately lucky to be able to have that happiness and this life. That sense of fortune washed over me and I simply sat with it for a short time. I am so glad that I am able to experience the enjoyment in most any moment and to find the "grandness" in even small things. I promise myself that I will always attempt to live my best and to the fullest. No matter what tries to get in my way (stupid cancer!).

Monday, February 11, 2013

Winter Quiet

Spent another lovely week at my sister's home helping out with my new nephew. The first week I went up to help and visit they didn't really take advantage of my help as much as I expected. Now that they've gone a whole month with sleep deprivation, they were far more inclined to use me. I took the night shift a couple of times which allowed them to get seven or more solid hours of sleep in a night. It felt good to be so useful. It was also amazing to see all the changes in my nephew after just a couple of weeks. They grow awfully fast at this stage.

This past weekend was the annual re-creation event hosted by my local group. I spent the day volunteering and visiting, even had some spare time to peruse the merchant hall this year. One year I'll get around to taking an Arts & Science class again. But didn't find the time for it this year. Several friends from Minnesota came "back home" for the event. Got to spend a big chunk of the evening visiting with them and having a good time.

The only bummer in the day was some back pain that decided to crop up late afternoon. I think it is probably due to some constipation, but also maybe because I stood and walked and skipped around from nine in the morning until the pain hit at four. Might have gone a tad too long without some rest in there. Getting accustomed to limitations has not proven to be one of my strong suits. Left the party Saturday night pretty early for me. And didn't get much sleep in the night because I was trying to get the pain regulated. Luckily there were no plans for Sunday, so I mostly caught up on sleep and squashed down the last of the pain.

The cancer center is holding a short eight-week version of the LiveStrong Y program. I signed up and it started this morning. I'm hoping that getting moving again and building some core strength back up will prevent, or lessen, those kinds of pain issues. I'm looking forward to the warmer days of spring as well, good walking weather.

Winter has solidly settled in, as it always seems to do in Feburary. Cold and snow and wind and gray days, my least favorite season. I often find that my energy levels are down at this time of year and it seems as if parts of myself are in hibernation. It's my season for curling up with tea and books for hours. And blankets, lots of blankets. My cats love me in this season however, because I actually sit still for some amount of time rather than getting up and consequently kicking them off my lap every twenty minutes or so.

Not full of any inspiring words or epiphanies this time around. It is a quiet evening and my mind is still and quiet as well. I guess I can't expect all of my posts to be revelatory. Though I appreciate you all continuing to check in on me.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Big 4-0

That's right folks, I am 40 today. And damn proud of it. You go through a cancer diagnosis and all of a sudden age is completely irrelevant. At this point I will be thankful for each birthday that I can put under my belt. All this last year doctors and nurses and such have been telling me that I am so "young and healthy" (outside the cancer thing of course). And it was a pretty nice reassurance to hear constantly. So this milestone kind of seems like nothing in comparison to everything else I've had to learn to overcome.

Got a second opinion from my secondary oncologist yesterday. He suggests that we do another 6 treatments (3 months) of chemo. I've only done 6 treatments so far, which is a half course in a typical treatment course for my cancer. I remember early conversations last year and everyone talking about a full six months of chemo by the time we were done with treatment. So completing the second half would put me in that original range.

Called the local cancer center today and I hope they can get me started the last week of this month. Won't know more until after the 18th when my primary oncologist is back in town. He's in Germany at the moment. Which reminds me that I would love to start my own far flung adventures soon, but it looks like at least another few months before we can start planning those.

It feels pretty good, however, to know what the next course of treatment entails. I hope it goes as relatively easy as my last set of chemo. One more reason to look forward to the coming of spring. I certainly hope that this year brings renewal in all the best sense of the word.