The Road to Recovery

It’s one month since my last radiation treatment.  There are sure signs that I’m on the road to recovery.

Physically, I’m looking different.  I have hair… I have eyebrows.  Both make me look twice when passing a mirror.  Strange but I got used to seeing myself without eyebrows.  The lack of hair I never got used to but scarves served their purpose hiding my head.  People ask if my hair is coming back different but sad to say, I think it will look very much like it used to–lots of premature gray (at least I’m saying it’s premature…) I enjoy being able to run a washcloth over it and be set for the day.  A friend asked me what I put on it to make it stick up straight.  I’m not sure she believed me when I told her that going every which way was most likely my natural look.  Anyway, my hair is now about a 1/2 inch long so I’m still a ways from needing a haircut.

Another interesting physical change is my finger nails.  Did I tell you how they were loose and I was constantly worried about them falling off?  Both my finger and toe nails are now almost normal looking and seem to be adhered once again.  The other day I was looking at the horizontal ridges which I know are from stress.  What I hadn’t noticed before is that there were eight well defined ridges.  And guess what, I had eight chemo treatments.  I bet they are related. 

Oh, you might be interested in knowing that my skin has returned to normal from the radiation.  I expected to have a deep tan like I get every time I visit my sister in NC and forget to use sunscreen at the beach.  Certainly the radiation burns on the skin were similar but they sure didn’t last like a regular sun tan.  Maybe because they weren’t the same type of burn???

Also physically, but not so visible is my energy is returning.  No I’m not quite back to normal but I don’t need naps every day.  And guess what???  I mowed the grass last week! Yes, the whole yard.  Come to think of it, I’m not sure I had enough energy last summer to mow the lawn.  Strange how that hindsight works.  Mom pointed out how I had been complaining that I needed a nap every day last summer.  It all made sense after the diagnosis. 

I’m not sure about the whole chemo brain stuff.  It’s still a challenge to concentrate on projects and to remember what was on my agenda for the day.  Some friends have told me that the brain fog lasts a year.  In any case, I’ll use it as my excuse for forgetfulness and any otherwise unseemly remarks I might make.  It works.

People want to know if I’m in remission or better yet, cured.  I don’t know when I’ll have that answer.  I go back to the doctor in August and will have lab work done then.  The last labs with the cancer markers were good so next month’s labs will have a good baseline to compare with.  I had forgotten that I’m not really, really done with chemo. I have to go back every six months for a couple years.  I know for certain this treatment is not nearly so hard on the system and I’m thinking I will keep my hair. The main thing now is that these doctors all have hold of me and will keep a very close eye on everything.  (Remember you MAY use me as your example of what not to do–ladies, get those mammos…don’t wait until you are 50.)  But in any case, we all thank you for your prayers as we travel down this very different road. 

Now that we’re well into summer and it’s more than plenty hot here it’s time to get out of town.  Matthew and I are planning to spend more time in Strawberry.  Bob already bought me some paint to I can work on the ceiling up there. (I know, what a nice guy…)  It does appear that I’m on the road to recovery and I’m sure it will be more fun up in the mountains where it’s cooler–even if it is with a paintbrush in hand.

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