Thursday, July 28, 2016

Mini-Update, 3 Years Out

Joshua and I celebrate the same birthday in September. We were married in January of 2010, and six months later we left our life in LA and started traveling around Europe on our bikes. We were both at the terrible Pap smear in November of 2012, which lasted for hours and eventually lead to the first diagnosis. In December, between Christmas and New Year's, we were overwhelmed by the diagnosis. January was when we moved to Berlin and found my doctors. My surgery date was at the beginning of February.

March is when I started chemo and radiation. I had five chemo treatments but I don't know the dates or even remember when the last one was. Sometime at the beginning of May was my last radiation treatment. 

A few months of recovery, and then in November we got the good news that my first check-up came back cancer-free. 

All year long we can celebrate, or look back in anger or sadness or with the echoes of pain, physical and psychological. Most of the time we do not think about it. Our life is very good, right now.

But this year, in May, there was a milestone that we acknowledged with weight, quietly. Three years. I can't be sure why we use May as the marker. The end of treatment, we now know, is when the cancer was over, even if the confirmation didn't come until November. That's probably it. We never made a conscious decision to celebrate one date or another. In fact, there's no date - just the month of the year.

Over the past three years there have been all kinds of milestones, and a long, slow progression towards feeling good and strong again. Even though we did a lot (oh my goodness, that first year was crazy), each day and each week took everything out of me. I could feel myself functioning at a controlled pace. I don't know how many of you know about The Spoon Theory - if you don't, now you do. Every day I only had so much energy, and I had to ration it carefully to ensure that I didn't crash. Some days, and weeks, were much better than others. If I overdid it, my body revolted with a solid 8 hours of waves of abdominal cramping, vomiting, and drinking water just so I'd have something to throw up. 

In June of this year I overdid it - took on two or three more things within a week than advisable - and I was fine. Tired, but that was it. Just tired. Is it possible that things are that much better, after three years? It took this long to get to fine? I don't expect it to last. In fact, this week I have felt like doing nothing. I want me some Pokemon GO running on the table beside a jigsaw puzzle, to eat all meals out, and to treat every day like a vacation during which day drinking is no big deal. 

It's just another week, so that hasn't exactly been the routine. But I feel like I would rather not be present for the obligations and responsibilities and chores that daily life requires. I do not want to see people. I wish I would leave myself alone.

That feeling, like all the feelings I've had, will pass. I know what it's like to one day wake up with energy again, excited to go out into the world. That will happen. 

Healing takes time. Recovery takes energy. Things are still getting better. I made it to three years, more than halfway to the 5 year mark which will indicate that I am just as likely to get cancer again as anyone else. 

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