Sunday, January 30, 2005

How Are You?

"How are you?"
"Fine, thanks...and how are you?"
"Great, but, sorry, I have to run."

Been there, done that, millions of times. Seems as traditional as turkey and little red wagons. Today I received an e-mail from a friend I've known for 30 years. Susan walked into the Oncologist office in No. Calif. for her first visit the day I had my last visit. (I continued care in So. Calif.) She had already been in the hospital for an emergency operation, had a different kind of cancer, different Chemo mixture but in many ways we were running (crawling along?) parallel courses.

Today when she asked if I was having trouble "finding myself?", I knew I would have to go beyond the "Fine..thanks". The truth is - I haven't felt my "old self" in almost two years. It was in March, 2003 that I had my t.i.a. (or whatever that was) which lead to entering hell.

In all due respect to the radiation and Chemo, I must blame the Shingles I got last July for really making my life miserable. (Now, of course, I realize the vicious cycle of lowered immune system & Chemo = increased chance of dah-dah - Shingles !)

I wake up in a drug-induced fog every morning. My Shingles medicine possibly helps, it is certainly strong, or is that drugged feeling left over from months of Chemo? Many days I let my dog, Hero, out the back door to go do his "business" - I go do mine -and we both go back to bed for a couple more hours.

By 11:00 or so I can slowly move around - by 4:00 I can actually pick up some speed. Toward evening my right leg starts dragging behind. My right arm loses strength and I swear that if Halloween was just around the corner I'd be ready for it. By my old standards I'm still "muddling along" as Susan so aptly put it. My brain feels fuzzy, it is hard to concentrate, worse to do bookkeeping or pay bills.

I refuse to say this is what getting old feels like. I am still looking for "quality of life". I thought I'd won the war when it was declared that I was in Full Remission. Now they tell me that was just one battle.

I recently saw a Social Worker at my "major university". She asked if I was depressed. I just stared at her and said "Who the hell in their right mind won't be?" Sweet young thing that she was, just stared back at me. I told her that some time ago I had a boss who maintained that sometimes it was more sane to be depressed than to deny it. Only a crazy person would think this was okay, gimping through life, afraid of the results from my next PET CT or MRI. Now, I don't intend to wallow in depression or live there full-time, but once in awhile a "this really sucks" may do me and a few others some good.

Okay, so I had a small chance of living this long. I'm not sure why - Is there a master plan no one is telling me about? I'm certainly no Lance Armstrong... I couldn't even steady my bike if I still had one. But, IF I have a larger purpose we'd best be getting on with it. I need co-ordination, exercises, strength, de-fuzzing and a few refresher driving lessons before I can hit the road, any road.

Patience has never been a virtue of mine and I actually am just now remembering that a long time ago I came to realize it was one of the larger lessons I was here to learn. HUMMM, imagine! Guess it took long enough today but I finally found a kernel of wisdom.


At 8:10 AM, Blogger karrvakarela said...

Hi Mom,

Came over from your son's blog to say hi and how are you and I hope you're feeling great. I'm writing from Pakistan and here, whenever we greet someone, especially someone older than us, we say "Assalamualaikum" which means "May you have a peaceful day."

Wishing you bucketfuls of those,


At 8:01 PM, Blogger ronnie said...

Hi, Mom,

Just stopping by to see how you're doing, and, as usual, your blog stopped me in my tracks. I understand so much and, in some ways, so little of what you say above - both of which are good things (does that make sense?).

The question Susan asked about "finding yourself" is so perceptive. Maybe the answer lies not in re-finding our old selves after we've had a weird turn of fate - which we naively thought we'd do - but in finding some new self.

Damned scary, eh?


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At 8:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW ... I just was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma of right upper lobe, along with enlarged lymph nodes in hilar region along lower portion of trachea. Had PET Scan yesterda will have MRI Brain today. I am a retired RN and know toooo much .... already I can't "FIND" myself. This past month has flown ... last night lying in bed I felt myself ... "SLIP SLIDING AWAY"! Glenda Powell


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