2015/12/22: Day 93 - Six Weeks of Recovery

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Six weeks of recovery.

The first two weeks as the radiation continued to work its destructive magic. Targeted by the brachytherapy at the tumour, impacting cells around it.

During those weeks, the body was healing as well, and then by week four the healing was well on the way. Energy was increasing. Fatigue lessened. Able to do some shopping to wrap up Christmas lists. Decorating is a gentle task which was smile providing during that time. Do a bit, sit for a while, do a bit more. I am thankful for the ability to afford cleaners, recognizing it is a luxury not everyone recovering can afford. By the time we would be having our early Christmas, the house was ready.

The weeks of healing were moments of recognition that a symptom when it reoccurred hadn’t been had for a couple of days or even a week. Gastro fell back into normal patterns. Naps decreased in frequency. New minor aches and pains developed as healing kicked in, as well. My body was shifting into the next stage. Hope settled in that my body would return to normal.

In the midst of this time of healing, was an overdue mammogram. Only by a year but with a sister, aunt, cousin and mother that had breast cancer, mammograms are to be annual. The thought of “what if” weighed heavily. The thought of having to go through more treatments so soon after these ones was dreaded. I recognized that the probability was low but anxiety found its way into the late night thoughts. You know, when they say, hmm, we’ll just take one more image of that spot, it doesn’t reduce one’s anxiety. Thankful for G’s Christmas arrival shortly after and during the waiting for results. It was a great distraction, full of joy and love.

Side note: why don’t they phone to say there was no sign of cancer. Currently they phone within 48 hours if there is further testing required. Even an automated dialer for clear results would be welcome to reduce worry. So, Dec 11, after not receiving a call, presumed this meant it was clear, and it was confirmed by a letter received on Dec 21. Peace.

I am learning about the waiting and wondering regarding cancer. The hope of a clean result. The recognition that this path to “did it work” is a 5 year one.

A friend and support for me throughout this journey was experiencing health issues and is now facing a recurrence of cancer a year after her treatments were done. She is in the midst of plan, options, and starting a new journey.

Friday, Dec 18th would be my 6 week appointment. Waiting & wondering. What would they say? How would it look? What is the schedule going forward. The morning of my appointment, I learned of the death of a coworker from cancer, she was only 47. I reminded myself we hear / see the deaths, but, survivors walk amongst us. Hope.

I went by myself recognizing that this will occur multiple times in the years ahead. Hopeful for no bad news.

The appointment went well. The treatment had gone as planned. The healing was exactly as it should be. Measurements were acquired for the size of the “max” dilator to use. Survey completed for training. Okay to head back to work in January. Hugs received & given by nursing team.

So, is it a definitive, you are clear: no. Time will tell. Next appointment is 3 months, then at the 6 month, there will be an MRI as well. All indications are that it went well.

Until the 5 year mark, there will be the times of wonder & waiting, and hope.

Something about this occurring for me for the first time during the season of Advent is appropriate. A time of waiting and preparation: hope, peace, joy & love. Not always in that order. Chaotic at times, full of mystery.

Life.


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