Monday, October 29, 2012

Waiting out the wet weather

3 weeks since the last blog post.  I suppose it's inevitable that as things return to normal, my cancer related blogging will tail off.  Anyway, let me try to do a little catch up and let y'all know what I've been up to and how I'm doing.

I did finish up house chores.  The deck, at least.  Ultimately it was quite a bit more work than I had anticipated.  And I did get back on my bike, 2 days in a row.  Both times trailing Dylan.  The first trip was short and felt good.  The second trip was a bit longer, and by the end of it I was feeling pretty beat.  Between the deck and biking, I think that I perhaps overdid things a bit over the course of a half week or so.  Even though the acute side effects of the radiation have passed, it will probably be a slow process of getting back my normal level of energy.

Right around that time, Dylan got a cold.  I think I've been somewhat fighting it for more than 2 weeks now.  I've got a persistent cough, and on again off again congestion.  It's kind of annoying.  I'm hoping that it's just me fighting a cold, which is probably exacerbated by having a weakened immune system from treatment.  If it's still persisting by the time that I get home, I think I'm going to go to the doctor to get it checked out.

Which brings me to my whereabouts for the past few weeks.  After enough time had passed post treatment that the side effects had dwindled, Lorien and Dylan and I embarked on a bit of a Northeast tour to visit my family.  Any such trip had been on hold for quite some time.  We did a bit of a loop from Philadelphia (where my parents live), up to New York City (where my Aunt Elaine lives), down to New Jersey (where my brother Steve and his family are), and back to Philly.  It was good to see both family and friends -- Dylan got to see his friend Teddy (Neal and Genevieve's son) in New York, and I caught up with a friend from high school and earlier (Andrew Mathis) who I hadn't seen in 25 years.  I also got a chance to see the fall colors.  While they're not quite as impressive down here as they are up in New England (we did a fall trip up there a few years back), it's still pretty beautiful, and unlike anything we get in Berkeley.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot, another thing that happened on this trip was that Dylan turned 2!  He got to spend his birthday with his grandparents.  Lorien's friend Kathryn (who recently moved to Princeton) came to our little party along with her daughter.  Dylan did an awesome job blowing out the candle on his birthday cake, which came from the same local bakery that probably almost all of my birthday cakes growing up came from.  (I had a tiny bit of guilt not baking him a cake myself, but it would have been a lot of effort for the day after we flew cross country.)  Somewhat surprisingly, after talking up the chocolate cake for days leading up to the event, he didn't even end up finishing his slice, over several sittings.  I suspect that the problem was that one of his 2 year molars was coming in, and he at the time was starting a bit of a downward spiral both in terms of crankiness and appetite.  Some of our trip (esp. the beginning part of being in New York) was kind of difficult from all of this.  But the tooth is finally in, and he's much more cheery, and once again eating well.
Dylan blowing out his candle on his second birthday

Lorien went back home a week ago, and Dylan and I stayed with my parents for another week.  This was a bit of an experiment -- Dylan had never before been away from Mommy for more than about 36 hours.  It was a little shaky in the very beginning, but he's doing surprisingly well.  We'll see what happens when he gets home.  I suspect that this minor period of weaning might not be permanent.

We'll also have to see when we do get home.  We were supposed to be returning today, and I had tentatively been planning on returning to work on 1 November.  But we have the misfortune of being spatially and temporally located in the path of an approaching hurricane.  Our original Monday flight was canceled on Saturday night.  We switched to a different Monday flight, then that got canceled.  Right now we're scheduled to return home on Wednesday, but I suppose that also could end up getting canceled.  It's somewhat sad that Dylan will end up missing Halloween.  I'm not a huge fan of pre-fab costumes, but he is obsessed with the movie Finding Nemo and a few weeks back I happened to see someone selling a Nemo costume in his size really cheap, so I got it.  I guess we could dress him up in it a little past Halloween, just for the heck of it.  (He does have a few birthday parties coming up.)

So far out here (in Broomall, which is in Delaware County, west of the city) it's just like a normal rainstorm.  But things are expected to pick up in intensity overnight.  The Jersey shore is already getting hammered quite a bit.  I'm not too worried -- we're probably almost 100 miles from the actual coast, and we're not in a flood prone area.  The biggest likeliest potential annoyance would be a long term power outage.  Thankfully my parents have a gas stove, although the oven is electric.  I went out this morning (the markets were pleasantly empty) to get some ingredients for baking chocolate chip cookies -- I should probably stop tying and start baking soon, in case we lose power.

So that brings me up to the present.  I'd love to report that I'm home and back to work and totally feeling healthy and normal, but sadly none of those is true right now.  Hopefully they will all be true in the not too distant future.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Feeling better

It's been a little while, and I'm sure some of you are wondering if I'm still feeling like I was in my previous post.

I indeed was, for a while.  Having not been able to handle "real" yoga very well on my previous attempt, Thursday I went back to the somewhat lame yoga at the cancer center.  And even that was kind of a challenge for me.  As recently as Thursday night I was complaining about how sore and tired I was most of the time.  We had been tentatively planning on going to Tahoe this past weekend, and on Thursday night I made an executive decision that we weren't going to go, and I was going to spend the weekend resting and recovering instead.

What a difference a couple of days makes.  Friday I started to feel noticeably better, and by Saturday I was close to normal.  Not exactly normal -- I still have a bit of a sore throat in the morning, but with a little soothing liquid (either kefir; or my latest discovery, aloe juice, which is kind of weird) it goes away.  The biggest change is that my energy level is back.

While a million people may have headed into San Francisco this weekend for a temporal convergence of assorted events, I instead put my sudden burst of energy to productive use.  Last week we had some repairs done on our backyard deck (mostly replacing wood that had rotted).  I spent Saturday prepping the deck somewhat (sanding down the top surface), and building a little elevated platform for the plants that sit on the deck, so that they don't trap water on the deck.  Just a small project, but I have to say it felt really good to be sawing wood and pounding nails and actually making something useful.  Sunday and Monday I stained the deck.

I'm almost almost almost done.  All that's left is a few surfaces that aren't very visible, and a set of moveable steps (for the hot tub) that don't necessarily have to be re-stained.  Which leaves me with a bit of a quandary.  Do I just declare victory and not do anything more, or do I open up a third gallon of stain for the few remaining surfaces.  And do I let the fact that this stain is $50/gallon sway my decision.

So now I again am feeling sore, but in a good way, after a few days of good, honest work.

I suppose in retrospect we could have gone to Tahoe after all.  Oh well, it's good to get the deck done before the rains start.

Also on the recovery front, my hair continues to grow back.  I'm starting to look very much not bald.  And I just noticed that body hair on my front and back is starting to return.  My eyebrows also continue to fill in -- they had pretty much totally disappeard.

Hopefully I can be done with the house chores soon -- I'm eager to try getting back on my bike.