Musings on a Sunday in a post-cancer world

I am entering my 2nd month of being in remission and it feels wonderful.  However, cancer and chemo have lasting effects.  They don’t necessarily have to be permanent but they indeed make their presence known even after treatment is over.  For instance, I made it through 6 cycles/18 straight weeks of chemotherapy without any neuropathy.  Four days after my last treatment, the neuropathy hit my fingers and toes.  I am fortunate to have access to the wonderful resources in my oncologist’s office.  She has a nurse practitioner who is well-versed in complementary medicine and she advised that some particular vitamins may help increase the circulation for me.  My fingers have gotten better and I’m still hoping the toes improve. In the meantime, I try and stay active and do foot exercises to keep the blood moving.

I mentioned that the neuropathy is still an issue to my oncologist earlier this week when I saw her (I see her every three weeks due to clinical trial protocol).  I also mentioned that ever since chemo, my balance has been a bit “off” and I feel a bit unsteady at times.  Between that and the neuropathy, sometimes I look a bit lopsided when I’m walking.  I asked if physical therapy might be helpful and she was completely honest with me.  She said, “I think oftentimes that physical therapy is overlooked and not asked for when it can be helpful.  I have no problem recommending this for you because it could be very beneficial.”   I felt relieved and I was very glad that I’d spoken up.  I’ve mentioned this before but it is so important to speak up, ask questions, and ask for help if it’s needed.  There is no reason to feel embarrassed in speaking up.

I also had another lesson in humility today. (Now, don’t get the idea that I’m a mower and trimmer and gardener because I’m not – I’ve gladly let the menfolk in my life take care of most of that.  They were around today, too, but we were all going off in different directions taking care of stuff.)  I was outside working in the yard and some neighbors pulled up with equipment and smiles.  The lady jumped out of the vehicle and said, “Many hands make light work!” and with that, her family unloaded the trailer of lawn equipment and got to work.  In less than an hour, my yard was mowed and trimmed.  When they showed up, I was brought to tears due to their generosity.  When they left, I again got teary-eyed.  I am so blessed to have such generous people in my life.  I am also humbled by the fact that my strength and endurance are still coming back and I still cannot do as much work as I did before cancer hit me.  I have to take more breaks to rest and catch my breath.

Lastly, the kiddo is going to prom next week.  THIS has made me feel old.  We went shopping today for “prom attire” and although in the end it was a successful venture, it indeed wore me out both physically and mentally even though we were only in one store.  In an effort to find slacks, a blazer, and dress shoes, the teenage attitude came out and it was exhausting to me.  An hour and a half later – still in the same store – we left with our purchases.

As I reflect on the day, I am so glad to be in remission to be able to accept neighborly help and to tolerate the teenage attitude when it rears its ugly head.  Since being diagnosed with cancer, I have never had a bad day.  I have good days and I have great days.  Today will fall under one of those great days.

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