Thank You: You guys are amazing. This year's donation drive ended on Monday and your generosity is stunning. There will be no problem in securing the services necessary to keep TimeGoesBy open online and available for at least five years after I've died.
You are a terrific group of readers that any blogger would envy. Thank you so much.
As most of you know, my most recent cancer test reported remarkably good news. The radiologist's review of the CT scan stated in part that
”Since 11/28/2018, markedly improved appearance of the lungs with decrease/absence of multiple new and enlarging nodules from the most recent study. Appearance is similar to 10/5/2018 staging CT. No definite new nodules.
Wow. We all rejoiced. It doesn't mean the cancer is being cured. This chemo can't do that. But it is doing what it is meant to do – slow the growth of the cancer so that I will have a longer healthy period of time than I would have without the chemo.
One of the strangest things (to me) associated with this cancer is that if not for chemo side effects, I would not know I have a deadly disease.
Do away with chemo brain, loss of appetite and general fatigue that plague me for three, sometimes four days following the chemo infusion every two weeks and I would feel like I did before I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer – healthy.
Which is how I feel for 10 or 11 days at a time after those side effects subside, until the next infusion starts the process again.
It's as though I live a double life now - about 25 percent of my time as a sick person; the rest of it as a healthy person.
The intensity of the fatigue (the worst of my side effects) is hard to predict – sometimes I am tired but mostly functional, other times barely capable of crawling out of bed.
The contrast between healthy days and not healthy days has given me a new perspective on how I (and, I suspect, many other people) differentiate between those of us who are healthy and those who are not.
Until I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in May 2017, I had lived 76 years in good health, nothing much more serious than a bad flu now and then. I smoked cigarettes for many years but beyond that I paid a reasonable amount of attention to healthy behavior – eating well, exercising regularly.
I hardly ever thought about my overall health and always assumed most people were as healthy as I had been. Now that I have reached old age – a period of time when, as we here all know, a large number of health issues, minor and deadly serious, can upend our lives – I have gained a new perspective.
These days, I look at healthy people of all ages with wonder. They wear their health so easily, as if it will always be there, and until recently I was a member of their tribe, unaware that my health status would ever change.
Now, on the days when I feel as normal as before the cancer and I can almost pretend that I can ignore the cancer, there's an itch in the back of my (saner) mind repeating something like, “Don't get too cocky, honey. You know how quickly this can change.”
And, eventually, will change.
I don't have any conclusion to this rumination. I'm just surprised how, for so many years, I took my good health for granted.