This Week’s Digest

I have a bad habit of torturing myself with what has come and gone. It often sounds like this: “Last week at this time, I was waking up on vacation; now I’m…” “Last month at this time, I was getting ready [for something wonderful]; now it’s over.” I’ve done a fair amount of looking back during my breast cancer treatment, not always to torture myself, but rather to reflect on and take note of all the changes in my life and in my body.

Lying in bed this morning, my mind did a lot of, “Last week at this time…” and I’m happy to say, that today, I came out on top.

Last week at this time, I was struggling to get out of bed mornings and sometimes not getting out of bed much at all. Now, even though I admit it often feels hard upon waking to face my life and my day, I do get up, every single time, and once I do, I feel okay. Sometimes even joyful. And either way, more solid.

Last week at this time, I was barely moving my left arm, never lying on my left
Image 1side, and wary of hugs. Now I am still tender on and a bit protective of my left side, but
I can reach and lift and hug and carry again.

Last week at this time, I was still more exhausted post-surgery than I was through chemo, and when I got out of bed, it was to spend most of my day on the couch. This week, I went for three, two-mile runs. I also went to the farmer’s market and bowling in Shelburne Falls and to a school assembly and out to lunch with friends, and this weekend, I am going to the mountains with my family.

Last week, I cried in my radiation oncologist’s waiting room, so desperate to be done with all of this, so desperate for things to be a little easier. This week, I took it in stride that I have to go to Boston (a couple of hours away) for another opinion about how to proceed with radiation. (My radiation oncologist is torn about whether or not to radiate my lymph nodes. Torn about whether the risk that would bring to my heart and lungs outweighs the risk of cancer recurrence. I’m trying not to think about that too much—that those are my options: either potentially damaging my heart and lungs or potentially dealing with breast cancer again.) And I am taking it in stride that if I radiate my lymph nodes, and if my heart is too close to those nodes, I may have to do my radiation in Boston (where they have a machine for better protecting the heart). Getting treatment in Boston would mean figuring out how to spend most of summer there since I can’t (or won’t) drive four hours every day for six weeks of radiation.

Last week at this time, I was physically and emotionally stopped. Now, I am on the move again, slowly returning to a life outside the confines of my home and my head.

10 thoughts on “This Week’s Digest

  1. Wait, what? THREE two-mile runs!? That is AWESOME! Way to go.

    You know, lodging required by medical treatment is tax-deductible. Also, if you itemize, travel to & from medical care is deductible. LOL! When people used to say things like that to me, I’d have to bite my tongue to keep from saying “Yeah, but you have to have something to deduct from!” But if you do, that might be helpful, at least in the long run.

    Your insurance might cover it: http://www.bankrate.com/finance/insurance/surprising-health-insurance-benefits.aspx#slide=4 The example given there looks extreme, but if you can argue that the specific type of rad. treatment is medically necessary, maybe you could get them to pony up some or all of the cost. Obviously 8 hours of driving/day for some unholy number of weeks is beyond the pale, so…

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  2. Jenny, This is wonderful news! I love how you have shifted your perspective and you look absolutely fabulous, girl. Except I’m not used to you with angel hair! I know it must feel good just to have your beautiful curls back on your head:-)

    love, lj

    >

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  3. Such resilience is inspiring, Jenny. Here’s what Emily Dickinson has to say about Hope. “Hope” is the thing with feathers – That perches in the soul – And sings the tune without the words – And never stops – at all –

    And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard – And sore must be the storm – That could abash the little Bird That kept so many warm –

    I’ve heard it in the chillest land – And on the strangest Sea – Yet – never – in Extremity, It asked a crumb – of me.

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  4. Dear Jenny

    Ihope you rest a bit now, after such long struggling.
    You deserve love, laughter and joy.
    Take care of you. Lot’s of love Mariejeanne.

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