Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Pendulum Swings

Friday was Daffodil Day - The annual fundraiser for the Cancer Society - and it ended up being a pretty good day.

The weather was good and my work had organised a fund-raiser (including auction) for the end of the day.  All up, we raised close to $1,000 from the proceedings and it was humbling to see everybody dipping into their pockets for a cause that is obviously close to my heart.

I've decided it is time to take another little look at how things are progressing for me and I must say that I think the pendulum is actually swinging more in my favour now.

Firstly, while I struggle to retain body temperature these days, with the help of thermals and a decent jacket, I can cope.  The big challenge has been trying to keep my fingers/hands warm, but after a couple of false starts, I've finally found some effective gloves (a perfect case of you get what you pay for - they were by no means cheap, but at times like this, money couldn't be allowed to rule the outcome).

Secondly, the saliva situation seems to have settled back down.  While there is definitely no return to pre-treatment levels, I'm pretty sure that there has been some recovery and certain foods are slightly more manageable.  Sure, some things are still too much of an effort to even bother with, but by the same token, with a little bit of care and patience, some other things can at least be tackled in small quantities so as to at least give a glimmer of normality.  The biggest "nuisance" is now probably the restricted jaw movement.  While a normal person can open their mouth to fit in 3 fingers, I can only manage two.  That means you have to take smaller portions and coupled with the saliva issues, adds to a slow but steady approach to eating.

I say the jaw is a nuisance, but in reality it is merely one of those side-affects that I have yet to find a workaround for.  While other side-effects are relatively easy to compensate for (I know what the limitations are and adjust accordingly), for some reason this little issue still catches me out from time to time.  It doesn't impede anything really - I've made allowances for it - it is just annoying.  Other things have "improved", but this bugger is just plain stubborn.

Speaking of stubborn, the one thing that doesn't seem to be enjoying any movement from the pendulum is my hearing.  I'm still waiting for the experts to get back to me, so in the meantime just have to ask people to repeat themselves and/or move closer to them to hear.  Noisy environments just exasperate things, but again it is perseverance to the fore.

Where does that leave things?  Well, sleeping is good, energy is steadily improving, weight is holding it's own (maybe a kg or so down), eating has settled, I've adjusted to the saliva status and the winter blast hasn't claimed me as a victim health wise.  My diet is still pretty much on the healthy side (the system throws a number of obstacles at me with regards the "goodies" I used to love and in all honesty I don't miss them), the osteo sessions seem to be making good headway and apart from a seasonal financial reporting glitch I'm still managing my time at work well.  The report card is therefore looking pretty good.

Long may it continue.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Happy Rebirthday

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of my last radiotherapy treatment and is now officially my rebirthday.  It seems to me that as it is the day that marked the new beginning, it deserved to be recognised on an ongoing basis.  It was something I decided on doing a year ago and still seems appropriate now.

I had great intentions of filing this post yesterday (doing the big yippee!! type thing) and even had an idea as to what the content would be, but it just didn't seem right.  So, with the extra day, a celebratory beer in hand and a slightly clearer head, here goes.

My treatment was due to finish on Friday the 13th of August 2010 and that seemed sort of poetic in some warped way.  However, through the 7 weeks of treatment we missed one day (the fact it was only one was pretty bloody good all things considered), so Monday 16th August became the magic day.  To say the last year has gone by really fast is the obvious cliche, but in reality that is exactly what has happened.

While it was meant to be the start of a new chapter of healing, in reality it was a new chapter in pain as my body continued to process the treatments.  

When I look back at this time last year, my blog paints a very different picture than the one of today (check this out for proof - so what next) and it is times like this that I'm absolutely gob-smacked about how matter of fact I was being about what I was going through.  It was probably drug induced stupor to some degree, but I think throughout this lengthy process I've downplayed the sheer brutality of it to myself.  Sure, those on the front line with me were very much aware of the challenges, but I seem to have gone with the flow pretty much and that is why looking back at these old postings still unnerves me a bit.

While I have nothing but good things to look forward to, I have no desire to actually forget what I've been through, or how lucky I've been. 

So, over the next few weeks I think I'll actually take the time to reminisce by reading some of those old postings and maybe then I'll finally be able to get things aligned in my own mind.

To all those people who were on the front line for me - another big thanks and this celebration is as much about your love, personal sacrifices and perseverance as is it about me actually beating the odds.