Very little is new in the world of Cancer Banter, and that's a good thing. Actually, that's a great thing.
My emotional and physical energy are high. I'm taking longer stretches between blood count checks (and blog posts), and I'm getting more comfortable with the lapses in time. It's been a gradual letting go process from daily, to three times a week, to weekly, to bi-weekly blood tests. Soon, I'll be going in monthly and then, eventually, once a quarter for visits.
At first, I became anxious and edgy when the time between blood checks surpassed a week. I operated from fear. "No, better not do that biopsy," I told my dermatologist. "My platelets might be too low." "No, better not shave my legs," I told myself. "A nick could be fatal (or at least messy." I was addicted to the constant feedback and soothing reassurance of my counts. I lived life by the numbers.
As I'm being weened away from the blood draws, I'm also pulling away from visits with my doctor, staff and patients. I especially miss the upbeat perspective of other cancer patients. It's embarrassing to whine about my skinny butt and deformed skin after meeting an optimistic 30-year-old man who's had ten brain surgeries in ten months. Or an energetic 19-year-old boy about to undergo his second donor stem cell transplant. Or a patient middle-aged woman whose bone marrow doesn't make enough white blood cells or platelets. (She's been a blood patient at CoH for a year and a half, but her doctors are still stumped by her under-production.) On the other hand, if I chose to complain about my concave ass(ets), I'm sure I could find someone who would understand.
But, as I've predicted, my "other" life is expanding while my patient life is contracting. I just returned from another trip to San Francisco to visit my friend Bob. Since I'm "off leash," I got to luxuriate at the Japanese baths, Kabuki Springs and Spa. George and I will be visiting his family in Seattle next week, and later in the month I'll be flying back to spend Easter with my family in West Virginia. We may be hunting for Easter eggs in the snow with my great nephew Will.
I'll be reading one of my "works in progress" at Gorgeous Stories, "brave, moving and often hilarious new work" from Terrie Silverman's workshops, on Friday, March 14, at 7:30 pm at the Church of the Angels in Pasadena. (Call or email me for more details.) I call my piece "Strangers in the Night," and, no, it's not about cancer.
I'm working on revamping my Open Mouth, Insert Fork blog site and will start posting on that site when the rehab is complete.
I'll be seeing many of my local gal pals this Saturday at my first annual Take Comfort! party, a celebration of the food, beverages, music and friendships that give us comfort. I'm hoping that, as a side benefit, the high-fat comfort foods of chips and dips, mac 'n' cheese, meatloaf, cole slaw and plenty of chocolate-based desserts will add some "junk in the trunk."
Not much is new in cancer world, but a lot is going on in my new, non-patient world. And that's just the way I like it.