*peeks head in*
Is anyone still out there?
I have been meaning to write this blog post for months now. When I took my blogging hiatus, I had no idea how long it would last. Checking in with an update has been on my to-do list since the last time I hit “publish,” but I didn’t want my return to feel forced. Thus I waited until I felt ready to put some things into words. So here I lay in bed with my little Buster Pie curled next to me, staring at the WordPress screen once again.
First, let’s talk about my health.
I haven’t had any scans or oncology appointments since the last time we spoke, so as far as I know, the cancer is still gone. I do have a scan in June so let’s cross our fingers everything will be fine by then! That 98% survival rate you hear so often with Hodgkin’s is only after five years of being cancer-free. There is a much higher chance of recurrence during that first five-year window following treatment. So that is something I worry about with basically every waking second. I think it’s starting to give me wrinkles.
I wish I could say I am feeling wonderful and grabbing life by the horns, but well, some chemo side effects are still with me four months later, and they still suck.
First, there is chemo brain. Sometimes I feel like it’s worse than it was while actually on chemo, but perhaps it’s just more noticeable because I have to use my brain more being out in the real world. Not only am I generally confused and have difficulty communicating, but I seem to be losing chunks of time. Large periods of my life completely disappear into the abyss that is now my malfunctioning brain. I used to be so sharp! Now I rely on my iPhone alerts and endless lists to get me through the day. On the bright side, I have finally turned into that incredibly organized woman I’ve always wanted to be. Unfortunately out of necessity.
Fatigue! Oh what an enigma chemo fatigue can be. My energy levels are indeed coming back, but I am having a hard time judging exactly when my new found energy will run out. I’m just going along, doing my thing, and then CRASH. While I do have more energy these days, when the fatigue hits, it’s still mighty crippling. I feel like there’s no predicting it, so I just keep chugging along and take time outs when I need to.
Hair. It is growing so slowly! I thought by now I’d have a cute little Michelle Williams pixie cut but it’s still a borderline buzz cut. I gave up the wig a couple weeks ago because I finally got to the point where having the wig on my head at all hours was worse than looking like a boy in lipstick. I hate the way my hair looks and generally don’t look in the mirror much or pose for pictures anymore. I have no desire to remember ever looking like this, and thanks to chemo brain, I probably won’t.
Apart from chemo side effects and worrying about cancer all the time, life is good. I love being back at work and knowing I have something to do every day. I moved into a HOUSE! A cute little two bedroom, 1-1/2 storey rental house slightly off the beaten path. It’s the perfect home for me, Buster, and my sister. Decorating the house has been a nice distraction during this period of life. It is probably the girliest house you have ever seen.
I have done a complete 180 with my eating habits since finishing chemo. I am trying really hard to eat the best I can to help keep me healthy, which means less adventures in the kitchen. No more trays of sweets or rich foods made with packaged products. Trying to do the ‘au naturel’ thing, which has also translated into all other products I use, including makeup and cleaning products. Except I haven’t given up beer and whiskey. A girl’s gotta have some fun too.
Finally, I am going to Colorado next week!! I leave for the Blend Retreat on Thursday and I am both terrified and ridiculously excited. Travelling alone with chemo brain is a little disconcerting, and I’m scared I won’t be able to keep up with the rest of the gang. But it’s all worth it to be in the mountains with friends.
Soooo… does this mean a comeback? I am still not sure. To be perfectly honest, it is really hard to come back to this blog when there is so much of my history in it. In some ways, it is almost creepy how the cancer car wreck happened on the internet for the whole world to see. At this juncture, I am very ready to move forward from both my cancer self, and my pre-cancer self. And coming back to write here is just not in line with that. So we shall see. A new blog may be in order. I really want to start writing again, but felt the need to test the waters first. Dip my toes in to see how cold the water is. It may take my body some time to adjust, so thank you for bearing with me on the sidelines! I appreciate it more than you know.
P.S. I am still avoiding my inbox and not answering emails. Sorry I’m not sorry.