I painted my nails again yesterday. You can hardly see all the damage. I feel better. They no longer hurt, they are regrowing, and I have a pretty ring to wear to remind me. Regrowth, strength and peace. Can't ask for much more than that. I feel better when I can’t see the nail damage. Going forward. Sometimes it does help if you simply decide to refuse to see the truth.
Monday morning, it's a lot cooler now, but I don't care. I'm wearing my traveling sweater over top my pjs this morning and it is heaven. I hate the summer heat, the humidity and the pollution in the city. I hate that we close all the windows and sit in the dark with the air conditioners on. But I hate it even more if we don't them on and have to suffer the sweltering heat and can't sleep. I hate the pollution. I hate being in this hot, humid, concrete, car fumes, bus fumes world. And it can go on like that for weeks, weeks and weeks. Usually we go away for part of the summer and I don't have to suffer all that much. But this year we are stuck here. Even when my immune preclusions lift on June 1 I will still have to stay here on account of the radiation treatments. Not only that I will have to go out into the heat every day, ride the bus in the heat, go for my treatments every single day, or five days a week anyways. Two days of heat and I was in near tears, just miserable. I got my husband to leave the air conditioners out for a while because the weather forecast was for two weeks of more normal temperatures. So we suffered for those two days. But now we have a reprieve. Yipee!
I understand how people who hate winter feel. I get it. I personally like winter. I like skiing, skating, the pretty snow falling on my face. I don't have any problems with winter. But I hate the summer in Montreal. And so now I understand how the people who hate winter and just have to get away must feel. Luckily it is easier and cheaper to find a summer getaway from the heat than a winter getaway from the cold. I can just go back to the prairies and stay with friends and relatives. I can just head out to a remote park somewhere and camp the whole time. But not this year. This year we are stuck here. This year is my immersion into the best and worst of city life. On the one hand we have not only the really good doctors, but the really good support services with physiotherapy, and group support, and a personal trainer and dietician and massage and laughter workshops. On the other hand I will be forced to stay here through the heat and humidity. I will be here for the worst of city weather this year. The best and worst.
My sister is back home. I am off drugs and pooping perfectly. Still a bit sore and limited range of motion, still stitches and tape but heading into that long, slow steady recovery phase. The acute part is over, the acute pain, the acute risk of infection, the acute risk of ripping out fresh stitches and causing fresh injury. That phase is pretty much over now. Ten days later. Risk of pretty well all the infections is done by the tenth day. Today. So far so good. No sign of infection. And then it's fourteen days before the skin rebuilds it's water barrier, so that's when I can start having a bath again, and start swimming. Next Friday. Moving right along here. Day by day, this relentless passage of time. Going forward. First I was waiting for my sister to come, and then she was here and we were in it, being swept through time like going through rapids on the river, swirled around surgery day, and then out into the calm waters again.
Time going forward. If it didn't go forward I would be still caught up in chemo. I would be still waiting for chemo to end. Or I would be still in last summer, slim, healthy except for the cancer growing in me that I didn't know about, and reasonably happy with my life, but not as happy as I should have been, looking back now I say, not as happy as I should've been if I realized how much I had, how lucky I was be to well and doing interesting things and having good relationships with all these amazing people from my family to my old friends to new friendships that I'm just forming. I was lucky.
And I still am lucky. I look at the wall of cards in the doorway and realize how lucky I am. I look at all the chemo hats and scarves in my box and realize how lucky I am. Flowers. Phone calls. Emails. And simple likes on my Facebook page, people following me and being happy to see me there and doing things. I am lucky. And I have a future in mind.
I don't really know where I will be at this time next year. It's truly up in the air right now. Even if I get my old job back, I might not be doing the conference. They might decide they don't want/need a conference every year. I might be doing more work than usual on that, but not too much work. If all goes well.
Or I will be back in treatment, still in treatment. That is an option too. I'm hoping for my three year break. Everybody I know seems to get at least a three year break if they make it through that first round of treatment okay. I'm hoping for that.
In the meantime, we are getting health back from the surgery and going forward.
Yes, yesterday I did do my mountain walk, all alone, the full distance, with a stop at grocery at the end. This is way ahead of where I've been since treatment started. And I carried groceries home. And I did mess around with my knitting and set myself up to start working on the sleeve for the grey sweater, but I did not actually start knitting anything. And I did a manicure. I did my yesterday list.
My armpit throbs, this is not a good sign. Maybe I did not squeak that infection thing after all.
Today the good bath is a part of the schedule. The first part of the schedule. I will look for signs of redness and also keep an eye on myself for signs of fever too. I did notice a bit of redness on the underarm scar yesterday, but no sign of fever. And the redness was not much.
I painted my nails again yesterday. You can hardly see all the damage. I feel better. They no longer hurt, they are regrowing, and I have a pretty ring to wear to remind me. Regrowth, strength and peace. Can't ask for much more than that. I feel better having painted nails and not looking at the damage all the time. Going forward. Forward in time. Sometimes it does help if you just refuse to see the truth.
Reminding myself to enjoy this moment. Enjoy this moment of coolness, even if it is raining. Everything is so green now! Enjoy this moment of optimism. The results of the lymph nodes are all negative. The margins will be good an no further surgery necessary. Light radiation to follow and then a good, long recovery and no real reason to expect a recurrence. This moment of optimism. Believing this until I get bad news to the contrary. Enjoying this moment of regrowth, strength and peace. Yes, I am getting stronger every day, even with the hiccup of the surgery, that was nothing compared to the chemo. Enjoy today. Enjoy this break, enjoy the support programs that will happen this week. Keep getting better. That's all I have to do right now.
Dispatched: May 13