Hello, hello, hello! I return to the clear the cobwebs from around here fresh off an absolutely fantastic week at the Outer Banks beaches. I am still buzzing from the good times, slightly less sunburnt, a bit worn yet from sunrises and late, late nights, but settled back in fully unpacked and laundered. A most excellent kick off to summer festivities and fun.
Diving directly into the medical stuff... so those last appointments with my radiologists and pulmonology were more impactful than I expected. Talking to my radiologists about my new breathing difficulties, and the lacing of blood in my phlegm that morning, they immediately (almost in stereo unison) said "radiation pneumonitis." The symptoms started almost 4 weeks to the dot from my last radiation and were pretty clinically standard for this. Essentially it is inflammation of the lungs in reaction to said radiation. It's angry and swollen, but luckily there is a rather easy solution - the steroid prednisone. I am about halfway through the run now and have definitely seen improvement. So long as I don't overexert myself it is not really slowing me down that much. (Though, there is that whole "moonface" look that I just can't quite get used to.)
This treatment break has felt like the best vacation ever. There's still a doctors appointment somewhere most weeks (though I did have a 2+ week break!). But my body has rebounded in spades from the lack of poison in my life. So often while in treatment I was at the direction and mercy of my body. I might have plans or expectations for the day, and then my body would change the direction of the day or even just flat-out say "NO!" to everything. I've learned to be even more mutable than I was in the BC (before cancer) days, but I do still dislike having my options limited. There is also that whole control thing. It's awfully nice to be able to make decisions for myself versus having them forced upon me. It has been nine weeks since any type of treatment and, to be completely honest, there is some part of my mind that really hopes next week's newest scans show everything is all clear again. It will be two weeks from now before I get the results... yet my hope and optimism have somehow rebounded as well in these warm summer days. Could there possibly be some time with N.E.D. on my horizon? This thought has come to me. I am as scared of it as I am enticed.
It is funny how the mind works. As a casual dabbler and gourmand of psychology, I am always diving down the rabbit hole of trying to figure out how I got where I am in my head. When I have been in the middle of the cancer shite with treatments and all, my mind is always hoping for the best results at every scan: shrinkage and/or disappearance of tumors. When I was in N.E.D., clear and fancy-cancer-free, my mind was caught up in the fear and scanxiety of new tumors with every scan. I now find myself somewhere between those two spaces. I am not N.E.D. and I am also not in treatment. So my natural state of optimism has stepped in and has whispered this possibility to me. Bourne upon the soft wind of the bedroom fan in the wee hours of the morning.
I sit with this thought, with this possibility; also with the fear of this possibility being untrue.
And I am unsure where that puts me. At this moment it puts me at the brewery that is essentially just around the corner from my house. Using the dimmed light ambience of a local pub, the rise and fall of conversation and occasional bouts of laughter in the air, the occasional bursts of chatter with the waitstaff, and pauses for people-watching to calm me while I pretend that I have grand prescient thoughts to throw out to the universe.
I am in love with my life these days. And that makes me more desirous of a clean bill of health. It makes me even more aware of all the future events I have to look forward to. It makes me feel more alive than I have in years. What more could I desire than even More?