Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Hopefully-Halfway Point

Despite surgery in February, I continue to have some back and rib pain and joint problems. Both mentally and physically, this has been my biggest challenge. It's not just the pain and the problems, but the indication that in spite of all our efforts, this disease has a toehold, and continues to progress in certain ways. "CR" seems like a distant dream sometimes, but Dr. A. was very positive last week and believes this is just another obstacle, a pebble in the path. I was still frustrated, but I did feel that he listened to me and took me seriously; that alone is comforting. We talked briefly about some options; he would like to wait until I'm done with chemo to pursue them, but he made it clear that's my call. I left feeling much better, at least psychologically.

Today is the last day of my 10-day "chemo vacation." I have finished two cycles, and start the third tomorrow. A cycle consists of four infusions (two per week for two weeks), and then ten days off. The plan is still to do four cycles of chemo, but I'm preparing myself for the possibility of five or six. The two weeks of chemo seem to drag by: tick . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . tock. And the vacation is over in a flash. Most visits to the infusatorium usually fill me with gratitude and humility. I'm in a rough patch right now, but so many others face much greater struggles and hardships. I need to count my blessings:

  • I am still mobile.
  • My breathing has hardly been affected.
  • I can still drive.
  • I still have the support of a wonderful family and amazing friends.
  • I'm having very few side effects and so far, they are manageable.
  • I am still able to live independently. (Thanks to Bro #2, I was able to stay afloat financially while waiting for my SS disability payments to start.)
  • I still have Miss Molly at my side, and she is a constant source of love and comfort.
I really just need to keep perspective, especially on bad days. And if I absolutely have to give in and host a little pity party, I should do it quickly and quietly, with the blinds closed, and then get over it and move on.

Chris came over today with a flat of pansies: big, fat flowers in bright, happy colors. I will fill my big window box with them, and even on rainy days, I will see these pretty, cheery flowers and celebrate springtime. I will think about Chris's kindness and generosity, and all my friends who have been absolutely unwavering in their support.

After nearly a year and a half on the front lines, I still have lessons to learn. I need to keep thinking about gratitude, and perspective. In everything but money, I am rich, rich, rich.


Laura said...

Thanks. I needed an attitude adjustment today!

Sandy said...

Miss Coot - I sincerely hope that you do NOT pull the blinds and wallow alone... that's what this community is for -- to listen, to have a virtual hand-holding, and to let you know that others are, at the least, listening... I continue to intend your treatments bring you great results and that you are feeling better and better every day!