i was just filling out a form for my mammogram next week. one of the questions asked me to “rate my overall health” with possible answers of “excellent. good. average. fair. poor.” i went to circle excellent and then caught myself. really? am i really excellent? frankly, no. but it got me thinking…how do i explain how i am? i wish i were excellent. i used to be excellent. i dream of being excellent. but i’m not excellent. (i checked average if you’re wondering).
it’s mind-numbing to go from being a very healthy – never sick person to a cancer person with lingering cancer side effects. my mind has a hard time processing it still.
i’m on the heels of both a neurologist and radiation oncologist appointment where each conducted thorough exams and ordered up more tests, including x-rays and a whole slough of bloodwork. the theories that they are putting forward are far-ranging, although none address all the symptoms (symptoms being back pain, arm and feet numbness, endless thirst, weight gain, fatigue, and so on):
· an electrolyte imbalance has triggered the neuropathy/numbness i had during chemo to reappear.
· diabetes brought on by the hormone therapy drugs i’m on, which dramatically alter my glucosamine metabolism.
· the surgery that rearranged my back causing muscular-skeletal complications (my physical therapy and acupuncturist are on board with this one too).
· carpal tunnel.
· spine misalignment butonly while in motion.
· thyroid imbalance.
· low calcium.
that there is a lot of what-ifs. all of them would suck in one way or another. and all of them don’t quite feel right…i’m in excellent health dammit!
as if the cancer gods were smiling down on me, this article popped up in my news feed last week: “long-term problems persist for many cancer survivors.” true dat.
my favorite quote from it: “Overall, we found that cancer survivors are often caught off guard by the lingering problems they experience after cancer treatment. In the wake of cancer, many survivors feel they have lost a sense of personal control, have reduced quality of life, and are frustrated that these problems are not sufficiently addressed within the medical care system,” said Dr. Burg.
whoever this dr. burg is, i love her.
speaking of gods and love, i leave for india in just over a month (february 26). i love all of you so much for helping me get there. i was walking the other day and the thought popped into my head that my grandparents gg and pop, wherever they are together, love that i’m going to india. that made me smile. i got the good warm tingles. and one last thought on love…well it’s related to love. i’ve recently been through more loss—women through BAYS, a 17 year old acquaintance to a rare lung cancer, and a dear friend with colon cancer being told there are no further viable treatment options. so, hold each other tightly. share your love. pause and look at the wonderful things around you.
i’ll leave you with the daily tweet from one of my favorite bloggers, lisa boncheck adams who is living with stave IV breast cancer: find a bit of beauty in the world today. Share it. if you can’t find it, create it. some days this may be hard to do. persevere.