Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Around and around

For those readers unfamiliar with the place I live, our house is up a small hill from the eastern edge of a lagoon on the Columbia River, around which there is a three mile long trail.  Half the trail follows a railroad trestle over the lagoon, and half is the streets through the Alderbrook neighborhood.  It is quite beautiful and scenic in any weather.  On any given day I see a wide variety of ducks, eagles, great blue herons, sea lions, once or twice a family of otters, container ships and fishing boats... you get the picture.  I wish I had tracked my mileage on these loops throughout my cancer treatment.  I have no official information on miles swum during chemo or miles run or walked, but by vaguely estimating I can approximate.

Based on the fact that until my surgery, I swam and ran on alternating days with very few exceptions, I would guess I swam 70 miles or so, and ran about 180 miles.  These are pretty vague, mental math approximations.  This week I started walking my loop briskly, poodle in tow, in my running clothes.  (I have always maintained that if you wear exercise clothes, you're exercising.)  I have some time before running, and more time before swimming, will be ok again.

There is a point to all this, that I was going to write about today.  And it involves the many, many Alderbrook loops I have traveled on foot, mostly with the dog during this at times completely craptastic time.  These loops, as well as the miles swum, made it all far less craptastic, and part of that is because of the neighbors I saw on a regular basis, and who gave me so much support in the form of check-ins, dog patting (when she allowed it) and plain old non-cancer chitchat.

During the last few months I feel like much quality time was spent talking with neighbor women.  I learned that my neighbor a few houses down the hill had breast cancer twenty five years ago, as a single working mom.  She has been one of my biggest cheerleaders, and a huge inspiration.  Another neighbor took on gluten free baking to cheer us up repeatedly with, frankly, some of the best chocolate chip cookies we've had.  Yet another sensed my isolation and took me to Portland to buy clothes in the hope (mine) that I would eventually feel like wearing something cute and giving a €{^#% what I look like.  Yes, when you're bald, with no eyebrows and a gray to pale gray complexion it is pretty hard to care, I'm guessing even for someone who cared more than I did in the first place.

On most of my loop outings, I encounter a neighbor or two, and of the many things I have for which to be grateful, I wanted to mention these.

As far as my situation at the moment...  I feel better every day.  Physical therapy on my lymph compromised arm is torturous but remarkably helpful.  I have kept to myself about my reconstruction, but I will say, as horrified as I felt about my decision to do it during the first two painful and swollen weeks, no pun intended they are really growing on me.  The implants are starting to feel less like foreign invaders and more like, well, nothing.  Ani commented that they look just like mine, but better.  My arms are regaining their mobility faster than I expected, though the left is a lot easier than the right, and I am planning to ask the radiation oncologist whether I can get started earlier than planned.  So... the end is sort of in sight, that clean slate in front of me, waiting.

1 comment:

  1. I'm impressed. You are doing exceedingly well, though ii must feel painful and slow to you. It helps me so much to read what you write.