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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Oh, the Difference A Year Makes

I find that a year after the heart of my chemo and radiation I am feeling so much better.

It was a year ago that I was about halfway through my double-whammy of medicinal torture. Not that I am complaining now. Was it worth it? To quote a former vice-presidential nominee, "You Betcha!"

But at the time, I was undergoing an internal misery. Suffering from bronchitis, I had to be pulled off my chemo pump for a weekend. I actually reveled in the fact I could shower without a tether of the little clear-plastic tube that linked the 24/7/365 pump to my medical "port" mounted under the skin in my chest.

Ah, the small things.

There were bigger things going on as well. Mom was in the hospital, still gravely ill. I had just lost my Uncle Albert "Buddy" Zuckerbrow, who passed away after a few weeks of serious medical issues.

The bronchitis that prompted Dr. Z to briefly halt the chemo also threatened to send me to the hospital. My blood counts were very low and the doctor thought it could go either way, hospital or no. He actually asked me whether I wanted to go to the hospital and if I had said yes, that's where I would have landed. I preferred to "tough it out" and get back on the chemo at home as soon as possible.

Seems the choice worked. That week I learned a new respect for nausea and its aftermath. The porcelain throne and I became good friends. I went off chemo, then back on, and it struck me with a vengeance. But I soon regained my footing and began to improve, even as I faced several more radiation treatments.

Today, a year later -- I can hardly believe it's been that long -- I feel so much better that the blur of the past year feels as if it's in my distant past. I guess it is, yet I won't ever be able to let it go. Which is why I keep writing about the experience. I hope this helps others find their own footing and maybe avoid some of the pitfalls I experienced.

But those experiences led me to where I am now. I recently joined a fitness center to rebuild the muscles sliced and diced by Dr. Joseph Boyer during my esophagogastrectomy, and after the endoscopy of a few weeks ago, I find I am able to eat and digest food (imagine!) much easier. Hooray for Botox.

So of course I wish the experience had never happened, but it did and the past year led me here. Not a bad place to be.


Anonymous said...

Having to fight your own body is no picnic. I don't know how anyone keep their sanity when faced with something like this. I'm glad you kept that and more, like your sense of humor and your political sarcasm :>

Jamie said...

What a difference a year makes, huh? You've come so far, and it seems like you're really thriving. And like you said - though you had some bad experiences along the way, they helped you get to where you are now. Great way to look at it. Thanx for always keeping us posted! Make sure you celebrate your milestone!