Tomorrow morning I go in for my 3-month checkup. Minimal jitters so far; my onco apparently sees me as well enough to have skipped the usual 6-month scan so I’m expecting an uneventful visit. In fact I’m more worried about what he’ll say regarding the weight I’ve gained back (something he’s already told me is a high risk factor for recurrence) than discovering any new cause for alarm via the physical or bloodwork.
The no-scan part is unqualifiedly good news, not just for what it says about my condition but because PETs are – regardless how competent and friendly the techs may be – uncomfortable and rarely much fun. Ditto the 24 hours preceding them. Yes, I’ve done them often enough the last few years that they’ve started feeling some variation of routine but make no mistake: there is no part of this that compared to my pre-cancer life feels routine at all. Or will, ever.
Next month it’s three years since I was diagnosed with NHFL. Sometimes it’s really hard to believe it, that this happened to me and is to some degree still happening. If it weren’t for this blog and a few pictures of me with no hair I might get confused that it was someone else. Mostly what I am aware of is befuddled wonder at how quickly these years have passed, even more so than they seem to at this age. I just don’t know where the time went.
OK, that’s not strictly true. I can account for where a lot of it has gone and still goes: to resting. Yesterday afternoon and evening for instance, which passed with me sprawled on the couch at the current housesit binge-watching cable series – this week’s obsession is The Leftovers – and making sure the resident cat had enough food while watching the sun go down behind Mt. Tam in the distance. Stubbornly not thinking about work, paid or volunteer, but rather about the good things life ambushes you with: walking in the open air by myself or with company for instance, or the great delight that lies in listening to friends discuss subjects I know nothing about (the other night it was properties of ice at various sub-zero temperatures), or the beauty of Oakland and the bay from the 5th floor of a downtown office building. Berry pie ala mode. Being alive three years after discovering I have cancer. That kind of thing.
These days physically I feel pretty good. I have fractionally more energy month by month and some days I really notice it. Maybe it’s getting all that rest, maybe it’s the CPAP adjustment last fall, maybe it’s the antidepressants, maybe it’s just that I’m now well over two years since treatment ended and the hardest part of recovery is finally behind me. Probably it’s all and I have no way of telling which is which and for the most part I don’t care. I’m NED, slowly piecing together a post-cancer life, and that’s really all that matters. Others aren’t so lucky, as my onco has at least once reminded me.
Not sure what I’ll do once the checkup’s over tomorrow. I customarily keep the afternoon free so I might just go back to the housesit and watch some TV. Hang with the cat there and with mine who I brought along (though never at the same time).Take a nap, go for a walk, soak in the hot tub before bed. Feel good, and appreciate it. Except for the morning’s activity it’s just another day off.
But not routine. Believe it.
Addendum 2/13: Checkup results show all clear still. No sweat, right? Except for that business with the pocket notebook that I when I got to the clinic wasn’t in my pocket so I concluded it had fallen out. (Gotta get that rip mended.) Then when I got back to the house eventually discovered I’d never put it there to begin with. So I must have been more stressed than I thought.
(Republished from my personal Facebook account)