I'm improvising. A beach towel is my floor mat. Two cans of artichokes are my free weights. A broom handle is my stretch bar. The work out is still working out. My shins are sore. My butt cheeks are sore. My whole body does feel worked out and stretched out. It's good. Today is a treat and a break, a one hour walk along the old train tracks.
Tuesday morning at Camp Comfort. It's grey but not raining. Yesterday it started off grey and then it rained, hard, for most of the day. I don't mind. I didn't come out here for cottage fun in the sun at the lake. I came out here to decompress, to open up, to have a week off cancer, to give my husband a break from being caregiver. All of this can happen in the rain just as easily as on a sunny summer cottage day. This cottage is winterized. The heat is set, the place is comfortably warm all the time. The cats showed up in the evening just as there was a break in the rain, and they both spent the night inside with me. Tiger does have something wrong with him, he's thin and he has the expression of pain on his face. He doesn't move much, he doesn't eat much. He just climbs up on a comfy chair and sleeps there. I let him. Perhaps a week of relaxed warmth will help his body heal. Pingu on the other hand is a going concern. She follows me around the house, especially if I go near the fridge where the smoked, black forest ham is stored. She climbs all over me and purrs in my face, she stomps around on her furry fat little feet like she owns the place. She's outside now, she goes in and out. She slept with me on the bed last night. She's a busy little thing. She is quite happy out here in the country for now. I think it is fine to leave her here until winter, October. She is fine. Tiger not so much. But I'll give him this week anyway. And I'll mention it to T, and maybe, if the place is not rented, Tom will let him stay inside next week too. Let the poor cat rest up and health up. Like me.
So, what did I do yesterday? T showed up. The sewage truck showed up. Then T came in and we had a visit, and I served him a bowl of the homemade soup I was making (onions, celery, garlic, fresh tomato, white wine, salt, simmered, and then cooked rice added, plus the chopped celery leaves for garnish) sour dough bread and camembert cheese. We chatted a bit. We talked about being a care giver and couples taking care of each other in their old age. He took really good, loving care of his last girlfriend who died of cancer ten years ago.
Before that, first thing in the morning I had my two cups of coffee. I read my online papers, I did some writing. I did my range of motion stretches. I did my core exercise routine thoroughly, twice as noted in the exercise sheet. I'm improvising. A beach towel is my floor mat. Two cans of artichokes are my hand weights. A kitchen towel is my towel. A broom handle is my bar. It's working out. My shins are sore. My butt cheeks are sore. My whole body does feel worked out and stretched out. It's good. Today is one hour walk day. In the rain. T recommended walking along the railroad tracks, there are no trains, but there is a bicycle contraption that rides on the rails, two bicycles one on each rail, and two people sit in the middle and peddle them. It's quite a popular summer attraction. No fear of running into that today in the rain, this early in the season though.
I set my computer up on the kitchen table I sent an email to my office replacement explaining that my doctors appointment that was going to be June 3 was delayed on account of the lab being slow and is now rescheduled to the middle of the conference. Had a few text messages with my husband, and a FaceTime call in the evening. Had a few text messages with my sister, it's +30 in Calgary and she was dreaming of jumping into my lake. Did some Skype chat with my son in the morning, sent him that blissed out picture of little Pingu with the fat feet.
After T left I went upstairs and had a nap. I’m keeping to a good health routine out here.
And then I got into my new writing project and discovered that is is a bigger project than I thought it would be, and I’m not so enamoured with my own writing any more either. I’ve been waiting quite a while to have a chance to work on this, and that was a bit discouraging. But new projects often look like that when you actually get a chance to get into them, so all in all, I still feel encouraged. But it will be a lot of work. A week at the cottage by myself is barely enough to get started. Especially because I am doing the health priority homemade spa life too. I am still exercising an hour a day, still napping an hour a day. Socializing with T and my family an hour or two a day. And then I'm tired. I have to stop at the end of the day. My brain is cooked by then.
I cooked for myself all day yesterday. No sweets, no compulsive eating. It was a bagel with smoked salmon, onion, capers, tomato, cream cheese for breakfast. That was a big breakfast for an old lady. Homemade tomato vegetable and rice soup, sour dough bread and camembert cheese for lunch. Grapes. Three egg omelet with black forest ham, half an avocado and two radishes for supper. One glass of grape juice spritzer. One glass of white wine spritzer. One banana.
Today T is going to take me to buy groceries in the small town. I only need enough for the rest of today, tomorrow, and Thursday. Three days. We leave to go to back to the city on Friday morning. I still have three full days here. The weather is cool and rainy today. I can make something with the rhubarb in the garden after I get a few more ingredients. Mainly flour, perhaps some brown sugar. Strawberries? Make a pie? Or a crisp?
So that is today. Range of motion exercises. Shower and dressed for a rainy day. Do my walk along the railroad tracks, I have a good rain hat, hood, and coat, plus a warm sweatshirt hoodie, and sweat pants if necessary too. Then it's work on my writing project until whenever T shows up to take me with him to get groceries. And perhaps a bit of cooking when I get back. Tuesday.
And so what about Wednesday? I might take a day off exercise. I might give myself that day off. My muscles are getting stiff again. I am pushing myself. But I also need to remember to let myself heal as well. This is an overall healing time for me.
I did not go outside yesterday. Interesting. Here I am at the lake, but even when the rain stopped yesterday evening I did not go outside. Well I was going to go out but then my sister texted me, and my husband called and by the time that social stuff was done it had started to rain again.
I am keeping to a fairly normal schedule even if I don't have to. I wake up early, drink my two cups of coffee, shower, have a breakfast, do my exercise, have a lunch at lunch time, have an afternoon nap after lunch, work 'outside' stuff like emails in the morning. Start working on my writing project in the afternoon. Work on that until 5 or 6, make myself supper, curl up on the couch and read my book and play with cats in the evening. Go to bed early, sleep deeply. That's the routine.
I am remembering that pause at the beginning of cancer. Back when I was in that first pause after all the tests. I was hoping for something benign, then I was hoping for something that could be treated with a targeted therapy. I was afraid it would be the full blown, full body, chemo, surgery, radiation that would take six months or a year out of my life. That was what I was most afraid of. And that is what it turned out to be. But I didn't get it at the time. It took me until November or January to understand that I was in the middle of the big, hard cancer treatment. Mentally I did not accept it. Partly I guess because of the way that Baby Doctor presented it. He didn't know either. Looking back I realize that he was so new that he hadn't seen anybody go through the whole process from start to end before. That's partly why I didn't get the information I needed from him, he didn't know enough to give me a real idea of what would happen himself.
And watching the young women at the beginning of their treatment in the cancer group I can understand how the medical people don't want to tell you everything up front. It freaks you out. It's unbelievable, and all the bad stuff might not happen.
I'm like that now. Again. We are in that pause now, again. Waiting for results. This was my originally scheduled day. I might have found out today. But it wasn't set, the pathology was still not done, so, it might have been another day of anticipation and then let down. Once was enough. We were all set for June third. I was all pumped for that. And it didn't happen. Once was enough. Next Wednesday will be soon enough. We'll know for sure then. There will even be time to double check the results. Wait for the pathology. And if the pathology is weird, then wait for a second opinion too. I've learned that. So. I am here, at the cottage. Resting up. Relaxing.
Yes, it's in the back of my mind. It could still be bad. There could still be cancer that needs to be treated. The cancer might have mutated. The cancer might have spread. The cancer might still be there in my breast, just not enough of it removed. Microscopic. All that could be happening right now. This week could be all the break that I get this summer. It could even be all the break that I get for the rest of my life. There is a part of my brain that is looking around the cottage and thinking to myself, yes, if this goes really bad and I really start dying then I will try to find a moment where I can bring my family here to be around me, and we spend some time here together. That could be as soon as this fall if it all this cancer business starts to go south.
And yes. Realistically, the way things were looking is that the news could be good on Wednesday. The cancer was not that aggressive, it's all dead there is no sign of cancer anywhere anymore. I am cancer free now, and the radiation and pills really be prevention, two different ways to keep the cancer from coming back. I might even be able to qualify for the trial, partial breast radiation and leave the lymph nodes out of it. That would be good, that would be my ideal. But realistically it will be most of the cancer is gone, hopefully radiation will get whatever is left, and I go through the regular, four to six week cycle of radiation. My poor new, mutilated, blind boob will get burned and turn smaller and harder. My lymph nodes in my arm pit, my chest and neck will get burned too. It will be painful and it will cause permanent damage. And maybe even more cancer too. That is what will probably happen. Realistically.
But it could still be much worse. Or it could still be somewhat better.
It is weird to compare what I was doing in this pause last fall and to see what I'm thinking and doing now, this spring now that I have more experience. And also now that it's a different season. It's early summer. I don't have the same urge to stock up on food, do fall cleaning, hunker down and be prepared for a hard winter. Now I am trying to 'open up' and let the winter fall off of me as much as possible. I'm healing and relaxing. My concern is now for my own body. I don't care about the house work. I care about my health. I care about being strong enough to make it through the next phase with the least amount of further, permanent damage that I can get away with while they do their best to kill the cancer by partly killing me too. I know what it feels like. Mentally as well as physically. I am trying to restore myself as much as possible. Last fall I was already in top physical shape. This spring I need to be restored before I get into it all again.
My hair is still growing back, I don't have my hair back yet. The stitches are still healing. The boob and back of my arm are still sore to the touch. My finger nails are still black and dead and only partly grown back. I am still damaged. But I am fighting my way back. I am exercising. I am eating well. I am napping. I am sleeping deeply at night. I meditate. I take care of my mental health. I am staying calm and not freaking out. That is what I am doing now. I am making a point of being out here in the country at Camp Comfort. I made an effort to make this happen. I am having pet/pat therapy. And I will get more when we start babysitting Luna too. I am helping to make that happen too.
My meditation practice has grown deeper again in this quiet place. When I meditated in Iqaluit I experienced a sensation of love and protection. It was like I was wrapped in a warm blanket, in a cone of protection. It became routine. When I meditated in the city I experienced a sensation strength, strength coming up from the ground through my butt. The sensation was so strong that I felt like I might become one of those yogis who could levitate right off the ground. That became routine during my first years in the city. Now I am starting to experience the glimmer of a new sensation. It tickles. Joy? Mirth?
Dispatched: June 11