Monday, June 12, 2017

Ten years ago this month things were not so good

At bottom right, 11 years volunteering
I might have burned myself out with my last post – I haven't felt like blogging.

But I figure that although no news is often said to be good news, people might think something terrible happened – which they correctly thought when I disappeared for a while after relapsing (two times) – or they will think I have nothing left to say and will stop checking in.

So herewith a post.

Things have been pretty calm, which is news in itself. Our summer tennis league started, and I'm enjoying playing outside with my Paper Dolls teammates. We have an especially fun time when we play with our sister team, the Valley Dolls and go out afterwards to Pizza D'Action in Holyoke.

I'm supposed to stay out of the sun but can't do it totally because summer means outdoor tennis.

I put on a lot of sunscreen and wear a sun protection shirt and gloves. The shirt by Coolibar is supposed to be breathable, but it is not, so if anyone knows of a more breathable brand, please let me know. By the end of one of our clinics at the Canoe Club, I felt like stripping down to my sports bra.

Lucky for my skin but bad for tennis, those Paper Dolls matches were in such bad weather that we played in light rain in the last one, and in the first one, we fought the wind. My father always said don't complain, it's an outside game.

For sun protection, I also bought driving gloves. They go up to my elbow and make me feel elegant. Unbeknownst to me until recently, the sun can damage your skin through your windows and windshield, making your left side especially vulnerable.

On my most trip to Dana-Farber for a checkup with Dr. Alyea, we went back and forth over whether I should increase my ECP to every week (to hopefully reduce the rippling on my thighs and abdomen) or whether I should stay at every other week and hope for more slow improvement.

We ended up at the same place as in every other consultation I've had in the past six months or so.

It's a lifestyle matter and basically up to me if I want to spend a whole day every week getting my blood sunburned. At least for the summer I'm going to stick with every other week.

To me the ripples look oceanic, but they're probably not as bad as I think. And the main issue, my flexibility and my hardening abdomen, is definitely better. So as my mother used to say to me when I looked at my face so close in the mirror that I saw all my flaws, I have to say to myself, "Stop looking so closely then! "

I feel good and am moving well, so I should just sit (or move) with that.

While in Boston I also attended Dana-Farber's Volunteer Appreciation Dinner and enjoyed it very much. Free food and recognition, yay. My contribution is through the One-to-One program, where people like me who have been "there" provide support to those going through it. At the dinner, I sat next to a woman who was in a similar program for breast cancer survivors, only theirs is in person.

She said that after she recovered from treatment, she ran a triathlon. And then another. And a third.

I told her that I had planned on doing one back in 2007 when I relapsed, but now I don't think I have it in me.

I also told her that I recalled my first words when Dan (Dr. DeAngelo) told me I had relapsed.

"But I was going to do a triathlon!"

He said, "We'll get you back on your feet."

I said to myself, "I AM on my feet."

When I told him I felt fine, he said that if not treated with chemotherapy and another transplant, I wouldn't feel fine for long.

That relapse was in July 2007, so it was brewing 10 years ago this month.

The same life but another life.

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