A Strange and Cruel Disease

I’m looking out at the beautiful evening — slight wind coming up here at nightfall, with just a glimpse of The Mountain (Mt. Rainier) out my window across the water.  Billy Joel’s River of Dreams playing on the iPod. The kids are watching some godawful cable show called iCarly, and right now I’m feeling like life is pretty darn good.  No obvious side effects from the first round of chemo — fingers crossed.  I’m taking the anti-nausea med in the morning and at night. I’m not sure I need them yet, but I really don’t need to experiment to find out.  I don’t think anyone tolerates nausea very well.  If I didn’t know of this diagnosis (6 weeks ago already!), I’d never think there was a thing wrong with me.  What a strange and cruel disease.

I’m sure I won’t continue to be so lucky as the weeks go by and the drugs do their job, but y’all keep those fingers crossed for me, will you? The family and I are heading to visit my parents/siblings in Ohio on Monday.  We had planned the vacation time off long ago, and my doc thinks it’s OK to go. Probably better to do it early in the game, though I doubt I’ll be riding any roller coasters at Cedar Point with my kids. I don’t need to do that to myself anymore.

The surgeon tells me I’m healing up fine from the surgery, but I need to do some stretching to be able to straighten my left arm and get back the range of motion.  I also visited the lymphedema clinic to learn about ways to prevent/deal with that problem (swelling of the arm after removal of lymph nodes).  Gee, only two trips to doc’s offices this week!  I guess the cancer treatment now becomes part of my daily/weekly schedule.

I’m still overwhelmed by the diagnosis (How CAN this be?), and frustrated/saddened/maddened by the facts of breast cancer vs. the perceptions in the general public.  (F’r instance all those admonitions to get yearly mammograms when for a certain subset of us they are NOT reliable, and an emphasis on family history when in reality only 15% of cases are related to genetics.)

But as several people told me, the anxiety level has lessened now that I’m in chemo and it feels like I’m taking active steps rather than being victimized. That’s not to say that I don’t have tearful moments. But if I do indeed have to be on this road, well then, let’s get on with it — teeth gritted all the way.

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