On March 21, three days after my last journal entry, I came home from the hospital. Turns out I had no lung infection – just damage from radiation and chemo. Prednisone (a strong steroid) is the medicine that keeps the inflammation down and keeps me breathing. Unfortunately, it has bad side effects if used for very long, so I have to wean off of it. This time I’ve argued my doctors into weaning me off much more gradually and I’m keeping a close eye on changes in my lung capacity. (Yes, I actually argue with my doctors. I don’t often win, but I get lots of points when I do.)
I’ve learned some fun facts about Prednisone, though. It’s a lot like amphetamines! (Can’t recall how I know that….) The downside is that I really need to wear a button that says, “Help! I’m talking and I can’t shut up!” The upside is that my whole place is organized and tidied up. You should see my sock drawer! (Here, I must recommend Marie Kondo’s best-selling book, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up”. (http://amzn.to/2ofcwiV) The author is quite insane, but in such a sweet way. She’s the only person I’ve ever heard speak with compassion for socks.)
Coming home from the hospital is always a joy, and this time was even better as I had a visit from two dear hearts – my cousin, Ceil, drove from Charlotte and my sister, Cindy, flew in from El Paso. They spent the first week of April with me, and it was a great little reunion. There was so much laughter, good food, wine, and talking about everything under the sun. (I told them that if they wanted to speak, they shouldn’t wait until I finished talking, because that wasn’t going to happen.)
I returned to chemo this week – my fifth treatment was on Tuesday – and so far I’m tolerating it well. Next Tuesday I go back for blood work, the following week I’ll have a head-to-toe PET scan to prove the cancer is completely gone, and on the 25th I’ll have my last chemo treatment – the ‘insurance’ that the cancer doesn’t return. I’ve got follow-up appointments with the oncologist, the pulmonologist, the vascular surgeon, and my Chinese medicine doctor. (I saw the infectious disease specialist last week. He’s my favorite, and he said, “I really like you and I hope I never see you again.” And he hugged me.) They don’t all agree on everything, but I’ve learned to listen to them all with my body’s intuition and discover the best path.
If all goes according to my plans, I’ll be free at the end of April. From right here, this whole chapter seems quite short. Six months have nearly flown by. I am always grateful for your healing thoughts and energy. I continue to run into people who tell me they’ve been praying for me, and I wasn’t even aware they knew I was dealing with anything. I continue to appreciate my bald head, as strangers stop me in the grocery store and want to talk. It’s a lovely feeling to connect with people I don’t know, and to be reminded again that we are all one and the same.
Published on CaringBridge.org on April 6, 2017