Despite appearances, I have not abandoned this blog. After Randy asked me if I had decided to stop writing, though, I thought maybe I should post an update.
In the last few weeks I’ve finished up the spring semester, taken a summer session class, and started work (which I wish I could write about because it is fascinating!). During that time I have also continued to train for the 3-Day in August and I ran my first 10K in May. Yes, that’s right; I ran 6.2 miles(!). Six months ago I would never have thought I would do something like that in a million years. Of course, “run” might be stretching it just a little bit, because I didn’t actually run the entire 6.2 miles. I walked 3 or 4 times for about a minute each time, but I crossed the finish line nonetheless. And it felt great! I had a my six month check up with my oncologist a couple of weeks ago and things still look “perfect” (his word). As far as I’m concerned, that’s a good assessment. Next week I will be seeing my radiation oncologist for what I think might be a one year post-radiation appointment. It’s difficult to believe that it has been that long since I went through radiation, but I think it has.
I still have a few lingering side-effects from my cancer journey last year and some of them may never go away. For example, I still have some numbness and nerve damage on my left side under my arm and along my back shoulder. I notice a significant difference in strength on the left side when I try to lift something over my head or out to the side…basically anything I need to use my shoulder muscles to do. I still have my port, which isn’t really a side-effect so much as something that is just kind of constantly there. I don’t think other people really notice it, but I see the line running into my neck and along my chest every single time I look in the mirror. My hair is still short and has remained really curly. It’s kind of amazing to me and I’m still getting used to having brand new hair. I spent my entire life learning how to wash, style, and live with my straight blonde hair and now I have to relearn everything I ever knew about my hair. But I’ll take it…short curly hair is way better than no hair any day!
One of the side-effects that I’ve written about before is the early onset of menopause. I knew that some women revert back to their regular cycles several months after chemotherapy, but when I got to six months I was beginning to wonder if I would be one of those women or if I would be one of those who were sent permanently into early menopause. I’m truly happy to report that I’m not and that I’ve gotten at least some reprieve. Hopefully it will be a good long time before I have to deal with hot flashes and hormone changes on a regular basis.
While I am celebrating my health and life every single morning these days, however, it seems that around each corner there are constant reminders of what we are all up against every day. I will write more about those reminders in a separate post.