Friday, March 01, 2013

1 year later

For the past three weeks I've been back to work full time.  Still completely from home as I'm still a little bit scared of germs at the office.  Lorien bought a desk of her own, so now we can both reasonably be working from the home office in the basement at the same time.  It's not too bad.  There are some things that are less than ideal by never being physically in the office, but there are some nice advantages as well.  My tentative plan is to return to the office sometime in the spring, but even then I think I might want to keep working a little bit from home.  I really need to take the time one of these days though to finish reading through monitor reviews and just make a decision, so I can stop just using the monitor on my laptop, which isn't really that good for full time work.  (I'm deciding between the Dell Ultrasharp U2410 and the ASUS PA246Q -- hopefully I won't wait so long that whatever I choose is no longer available.)

I'm continuing to go in to the cancer center for weekly bloodwork.  The past two weeks have had pretty awesome results.  While I'd love to report that everything is completely within range, I'm not quite there.  But pretty damn close.  The only thing out of range is RDW, which is the variation in size of the red blood cells, which is slightly high.  Which really is pretty meaningless by itself.

And I'm continuing to, to a first order, feel pretty good.  I'm still biking, and still doing yoga.  And we're going to Tahoe soon to visit some friends -- we'll see, maybe I'll even feel well enough for some snowboarding.  If there's any snow.  And we can figure out reasonable logistics for Dylan.

Unfortunately, things aren't completely well, and not quite as good as I'd like.  While I haven't truly felt like I've had a cold for a little while, there's the tiniest part that still hasn't really gone away, a little bit of congestion and runny nose.  And a little sore throat in the morning.

And the past few days I feel like I've been fighting off another cold.  Hopefully I can keep that at bay.  We need to make more chicken soup.

I'm also still having sporadic digestive issues.  I've tried really hard to correlate it with any specific foods that I'm eating, and I just don't think the correlation is there.  This past Tuesday was really bizarre.  I had a late afternoon snack of a Clif bar, about an hour before going to yoga.  Yoga in general went well, although the whole time my stomach didn't feel quite right.  Not painful, but just not right.  Right before shavasana, the teacher gave us an opportunity to do whatever pose we individually wanted to.  I've been pondering it for a little while now, so I tried a headstand.  Which I used to be quite fond of (and have done in some odd places, including the aisle of an airplane, and on the playa at Burning Man), but hadn't tried in several years.  Maybe not since Dylan was born.  Anyway, it took a while for me to get fully into the position, but once I did, from a whole body and muscle perspective, it felt really good.  Not so good, however, for my stomach.  Again, it wasn't painful, but something immediately felt not quite right and rumbling around from it.  So I came down.  By the time I got home, I was actually in pain, and I didn't feel like eating dinner and just lay down on the couch for a while until it eventually subsided.  The working hypothesis has been that the bacteria in my gut has been somewhat trashed from treatment and multiple rounds of antibiotics, and I'm taking a ridiculous array of vitamins and probiotics and supplements to try to build that back up.  But I just can't understand why, if that's all that's going on, a slight inversion of my body would cause me to end up in pain for a couple of hours.  I discussed it with my oncologist, and her suggestion was that I see a gastroenterologist.  Which I might, but I'm somewhat undecided.  It was the narrow viewpoint of a GI specialist that ultimately delayed me getting properly diagnosed last year.

Speaking of which, today it's been exactly one year since I started chemo.  I'd been pondering this and couldn't really come up with when is exactly the right time to start marking time and "celebrate", as it were.  Is it the first inclination that something was wrong was on 2/16, when I had a chest X-ray?  Or 2/17, when I had a CT?  Or 2/21, when I got the results?  Or 2/23, when I went to CPMC and met with the doctor who basically said, "I can't actually tell you that you have cancer until we do a biopsy, but I've been doing this a long time, and I can tell you that you have cancer"?  Or on 2/24, when I had a biopsy?  Or on 2/25, when I had a PET/CT?  Or on 2/27, when I first met with an oncologist and got the definitive diagnosis?  Or on 2/28, when this blog shifted primary focus from Dylan to cancer?  Or on 2/29, when I was admitted to the hospital?  Or on 3/1, when I started chemo?  I suppose it doesn't really matter, but I'm definitely calling it a year at this point.  And I'm still here.  Obligatory xkcd,

So I suppose I shouldn't complain too much about not feeling 100% perfect.  And I am feeling well enough that we're discussing traveling somewhere, but I'm feeling not well enough that I'm also wondering if the time is right, but I don't want to keep putting things off indefinitely.  We had been tentatively thinking of France, but I wonder if a destination where food and drink is such an integral part of why we're going makes the most sense if I might not be in a position to enjoy it as much as I'd like.  So then we started pondering the idea of Central America or the Caribbean, but Lorien pointed out that if I'm still having congestion issues, I wouldn't be able to scuba dive.  And it would kind of suck to be in a place with good diving and not be able to go.  But I think we should go somewhere -- we both could really use a vacation.

By whatever time we'd reasonably go, my passport will be expired, so it's time for a new one.  I'm going to miss my current one -- it has a lot of stamps from a lot of countries, and I suspect that the next 10 years probably won't see quite as much of a range of travel as the previous 10.  My hair had been getting a bit odd and unruly (and definitely darker and curlier than pre-chemo), and I wasn't too psyched at the idea of freezing that in a passport photo for the next 10 years.  So today I got a haircut.  No pics yet, I'll post one when I have it.  So now I'm all set to get a new passport.  Hopefully 10 years from now I'll be doing the same again.