Good things.

Last weekend, I was lucky enough to see some good friends. It was so refreshing! My friends are either fully- or partially-vaccinated, and we are starting to feel hopeful again. With Spring just around the corner, I feel like we’re all starting to breathe a little easier.

Stella is getting her groove back!

One of the nicest things that has happened lately is the compliments I’ve received. Now that I have hair again, I’ve ditched the baseball caps and have started dressing myself a little more nicely. I no longer just want to disappear. My radiation oncologist said, “You could run into someone at the grocery store, and they’d never know what you’ve gone through!” (Both of my oncologists are women, and they’re so upbeat!) One friend said I looked very stylish. Another said I looked “all skinny and shit”. Today the nurse coordinator at the clinic said, “With that jacket, you look like a rocker.” (It was just my Levi’s leather jacket, but it’s one of my favorite pieces.) I don’t tell you these things to brag but to say, “Hey! It feels good to feel and look like me again!” And I’m trying to stay off the shopping sites, because it is so tempting to buy myself some nice things! Now I just need a little color in my face, and I’ll be good to go!

Today was a little shaky, though, because I’ve had trouble sleeping. Since starting radiation, I’ve noticed that my asthma is much worse, and my blood pressure has been up. Could the two be related? Maybe. I’ve had to keep my inhaler handy, which is something I don’t usually have to think about. Could it be the radiation itself or is it just allergies? I don’t know, but it has left me feeling rather ragged. Add nausea (see what I did there?) and you have the absolute blahs. I was in bed most of today. I don’t mean to complain, but I hate having to take time off work. Since starting treatment last May, I’ve had to take more time off work than I have from my last three jobs combined. It makes me feel conspicuous and insecure. I feel like, “There goes my career!” But cancer is a bitter mistress who doesn’t take “I have to work” for an answer. Sometimes I get laid flat by it. Only 16 more radiation sessions and then an infusion of Herceptin and Perjeta every three weeks until the beginning of September. Yippee!

If I have the energy this weekend, I need to bag up the oversized clothing in my closet and dressers and make a big donation somewhere. Yes, I could keep it “just in case I get fat again” or I could give myself the incentive to keep the weight off. I’m almost back down to where I’m most comfortable. At one point, I was up to 2X in shirts and we won’t talk about what size pants I wore. I felt very tired and sluggish at that size, but I didn’t seem to be able to get the weight off despite working out and starting to jog. How I knew that something was really wrong was when the weight started to drop off by itself. I sometimes wonder if there wasn’t something about my cancer that made me swell up first and then shrink again. I really wasn’t eating enough to have put on that much weight. Granted, I had more of an appetite than I do now, but it wasn’t a super-sized appetite. In fact, my son was harping on me back in 2016 – 2018 about not eating enough.

I think it’s going to feel really good to clean all those clothes out of my closet. Not only will it give me some more room, but it will get rid of the reminders of how bad my weight got. And then? I can do a little shopping if I need some new work clothes or anything. Although I work from home, there are times I need to go to the office (during non-pandemic times), so I do need a few nice outfits. (And okay, yes, I already ordered myself a new pair of jeans and a couple of cute tops. I do wish I had kept some of my skinny clothes, but after about 6 years of being too big for them, I gave up!)

To move or not to move?

In a recent post, I talked about making a move to North Carolina. In the quiet moments this week, I noticed that some doubts were creeping in. I don’t know if that’s because it will be a big process (fixing up this house, packing, moving in with my son down there temporarily, then buying a house there, and moving again!) or if it is because I am feeling like it’s the wrong move for me. I realize, with much gratitude, that I have a lot of friends here. I mean, A LOT! I have a community, and it took me a long time to find them. There is a lot to be said for having a tribe. These women have had my back this past year – bringing me food, sending me gifts (like warm blankets and jewelry), messaging me warm words of encouragement. Had it not been for the coronavirus, they would have come to the house to hang out with me on the rough days and would have taken me to chemo sessions. The damned virus kept us distant from each other, but they were here with me in spirit. It’s going to be another couple of years before my best friend and her wife hit the road in their RV (something I’d like to do myself). Other friends are here to stay. What to do?

If I’m here and my son is in North Carolina (a situation we’ve been in before), we will see each other only rarely. If I’m down there in the vicinity of where he lives, I’ll be away from my tribe and all the fine doctors I’ve grown accustomed to, and I’ll have to start over. If I move down there, the cost of living is cheaper. If I stay here, I could downsize into a small townhouse or condo and potentially save money. Then, when it’s time to hit the road, I could get rid of the last of my big items and move right into an RV. Arguably, I could save more money by moving to NC for the last of my working years, but man, it feels like a huge undertaking, particularly when you consider the two moves part of it. Given the work that needs to be done on my house, I was thinking it would be easier to have it done without me in the house, but I need the proceeds of the sale to buy something else. Ugh!

The answer will come to me, as it always does. Probably in a dream. I have typically had chaotic dreams when I’m getting ready to undergo a major life change. And by chaotic, I mean they usually involve tornados or tidal waves, which seem to indicate a “clean sweep”. The most memorable dreams I’ve had recently seem to indicate that I’m moving out of the worst part of my grief over my daughter and into a new mindset. That’s a very positive thing. It would be hard to be away from my son again. He gave me love and comfort during this crappy time when it wasn’t safe for anyone else to come around, but hopefully if I go through this again, we won’t be in the middle of a pandemic!

Now. It’s time for me to try to eat some soup so I can eventually crawl back into bed. My exciting life!

Peace, J

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About Me

A writer and solitary soul in the mountains of Western North Carolina.

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