After the chemo there was a four week gap to regain health before surgery. The gap between surgery and radiation will total six weeks, for healing from surgery and regaining mobility in my arms so that I can raise them over my head in order not to irradiate them as well as my chest wall. I understand the necessity for all this, but waiting for time to pass is a surreal and odd experience. I don't feel ready to jump back into life, given partly that doing so in my case requires a complete redesign of said life. And since my time from early March through mid-April will be partially consumed by travelling an hour each way five days per week to receive the radiation, plus every three weeks Herceptin infusions (a couple of hours factoring in wait time and doctor visit), plus physical therapy for lymphedema prevention and arm mobility, plus a couple of more Portland medical visits I need to take care of - realistically, how can I ask anyone to hire me until it is finished? It would be one thing if I was working now - I realize people make working work with cancer treatment, but this starting with a clean slate seems to require just that. A clean slate!
Things I Now Feel I Can Look Forward To
In late August and pretty much through receiving my surgical pathology report at the end of January, I honestly and dramatically wondered how long I would get to be around. There was so much unknown (to me, the one with the cancer). In all objective reality, it was and is thought by those who know about such things, that I would be cured. There is a certain risk of recurrence that I need to live with, of which I am choosing not to know percentages. If you or a loved one has had cancer, you know that objective reality is often missing from your deepest thoughts. You think about death and dying and missing life's milestones on a regular basis, even though no one really knows how and when they will die.
I now feel more certain I will see my kids graduate from high school. I feel somewhat confident I will be here to find out where Ani goes to medical school, and to find out an inkling of my son's path as an adult. It seems I might more likely find out what being an empty nester with my husband is all about.
I am happy to report this, as these represent a pretty major shift from late summer, when I was not even confident I would be here this summer to see how Breaking Bad ends.