Saturday, June 4, 2011

Better Days

It’s been over two weeks since my last radiation treatment. Life has improved ten-fold. I can finally eat and drink pretty much normally. The only remaining side effect is a little dryness in the throat – mostly in the evenings. I am also drug free! No more drugs needed to combat the many side effects of cancer treatment.

I don’t see another Doctor until the very end of June, and that is just a follow-up with the radiation oncologist. In July, I will be scheduled for another PET Scan, bloodwork, and a follow-up appointment with my main oncologist. Every day that goes by and every scan that comes back clean lessens my chance for recurrence. So for once, time is on my side.

This is the best I’ve felt since October of last year. It’s hard to believe it has been that long. Feeling unwell is a gradual thing, and you don’t really realize how bad you really felt until you start to feel better. The same with the chemo “fog”. I thought I was firing on all cylinders during my treatment, but as my ability to concentrate and general well-being improves I am starting to realize that maybe I was a bit off.

A couple of co-workers approached me about a 5K/10K trail challenge in August to raise money for the leukemia and lymphoma society. They propose that for our office summer picnic that employees who want to can participate in the race and that we could then have our picnic immediately following the event. I was humbled that they wanted to do it, and am very excited about participating. I want to get in better shape and this is a good short-term goal to kick-start my effort. This weekend I need to unbury the treadmill!

I did lose a little weight during radiation, and actually because I was eating such small meals during radiation I think it’s helped my stomach to shrink a little. I’m eating enough, but I’m not overeating like I was before. I hope to continue this trend.

I have found that some of my taste/food preferences have changed during this whole thing. I’m not sure if that is a temporary or permanent thing. For example, I can barely drink a soda. I don’t like the taste or the carbonation. I think I want fried food, but when I eat it I don’t like the mouth feel at all and usually end up just picking at it. Multi-texture foods are a real treat! For example, I want Subway all the time. It’s the coolness and all the various textures. At work last week, for a catered lunch there was meatloaf and mashed potatoes. It just seemed too heavy and rich. I would have rather had a sandwich. I do have a serious soft spot for ice cream though – I think because I still have some dryness. That and because it’s been in the 90s for the last two weeks. Seriously, it’s barely June!

So all and all, life is pretty darn good. If I could just get my hair to grow faster! But that’s such a little thing in the grand scheme of things. Hopefully I’ll have enough hair by my Birthday (August) to be able to go out without headgear. If not, I’ll just put on a big tiara.

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