a hiatus

egret 2 - 12 Sep 2014 - Worn Pop 4

Now that I’m effectively back wading in the water again, it’s time for a break from this blog.

As it happens, it’s 6 months to the day since the first post when I decided that I would write my way through the deviation and keep a record of moments which I would otherwise have forgotten (chemo brain notwithstanding).

My new normal is in full swing. The departure date for the next big trip, which seemed so distant during my treatment, is just days away.

I’m feeling exceedingly well and will always be grateful for early detection, readily available treatment regimes and the support of family and friends.

A big thank you to everyone who dropped in here with your good wishes.

As and when anything relevant arises (routine check ups and the like), I’ll drop in for occasional updates. In the meantime, you’ll be able find me at Sentio soon, reporting on highlights of the road trip.

 

settling in

photo wallI think the Tamoxifen is settling in and bringing some friends with it.  I hit the fatigue wall in a big way a couple of days ago and, after a fun day yesterday assisting with the set up of a photo exhibition, today I am, shall we say, knackered.

The solution of course is sleep. Hmmm. The image below is of one of my nocturnal activities last night. Might as well get yourself a drink of water while you’re up.

I also felt the need today to warn Himself not to be too alarmed if I suddenly began shedding tears over apparently nothing. He seemed to take that prospect in his stride.

Next Tuesday I see the oncologist to check how the Tamoxifen is going. It appears to be settling in very well.

Painted in Waterlogue

discombobulated

Stilt dropping in

Discombobulated may be the wrong word. Perhaps unsettledness is more what it is. It’s hard to describe or rationalise when it’s occurring in the midst of improving fitness, a new discipline around food and exercise that’s holding and some great travel destinations and catch ups in my near future.

Perhaps I’m being too hard on myself and going too early into ‘what next’ thinking.

I was alerted to the possibility of feeling some levels of ‘funk’ after the major treatment phase was over. This is nothing serious in the scheme of things. It’s just that not knowing where I want to land when I drop back in to ‘normal’ is niggling me.

Common sense says that when energy and cognitive function levels recover, all will be well. I’ll keep going with the flow until. In the meantime, I’m back on the camera again. That feeds my spirit which I suppose is a good start.

 

 

walking my way into a new normal

eucalypt flowers - posterizedAt this time of year, the eucalypt trees are in flower. The lorikeets are voicing their joy loud and long. The laziest of forensic walkers can’t fail to notice evidence of their blossom grazing on the ground.

This week, a month out from the last radiation zap and two weeks into taking the tablets, I’m still keeping up my self-imposed daily walks. I have wet feet and photographic evidence to prove that rain isn’t going to stop me.

The lorikeets are enjoying their feasting despite the rain and, with each walk, I’m contemplating what my ‘new normal’ will look and feel like.

rain in the park - 22 Aug 2014 - Amsterdam FX T:S

Oyster Point rain - 22 Aug 2014 - T:S

there are always choices

On Tuesday I had the best conversation I’ve had thus far with my medical oncologist. I walked out of the consulting room feeling that my concerns about aromatase inhibitors (AIs) had been heard. He gave me his rundown on all the options including doing nothing at all. He made it clear that it was my choice, not his, as to how I might proceed from here.

While preparing for the discussion, I had fallen into the trap of assuming what his response would be. Fortunately for the sake of good manners, I had also made the decision to listen to him before launching fervently into my pages of notes.

My highest concerns on the list of side effects related to loss of bone density. Despite the fact that the good doctor would prefer I took the AI route, the options laid out included trying Tamoxifen which, while it has its own list of interesting potential side effects, will leave my bones alone.

So that’s what I’ve decided to do. A suck it and see approach to Tamoxifen knowing that all of the other options are still available should I change my mind.

When I visited the pharmacy to collect my first vat of tablets, they provided me with an information pamphlet. I am pleased to report that I will be totally compliant with this note.

Must not do

In other news, I’m two weeks into my new disciplined eating approach which includes taking care of what and how much. It’s so far so good on the red wine count. I’m allowing myself 2 standard drinks a week. Thus far, two kilograms (or 4.5 pounds) have left the building.

Painted in Waterlogue

And now that I’m almost over a cold which sapped energy levels just as they were starting to rise, the daily walks are up and strolling. It’s almost six months since I discovered the lump in my breast. It feels so good to be at this end of those six months.

 

stepping up to the next stage

flowers - L&G

The radiation treatment may have ended but the effects soldier on to a ‘high’ point a little while afterwards which, for me, includes a small but critically located skin loss. Still, it’s good not to have to make the daily trek to the hospital and great to have the end marked with family members bearing flowers.

This is the week that was and by way of announcement, it’s not appropriate behaviour to grab, scratch or utter curse words when the treated area decides to prickle, stab or itch when you’re out in public.

That said, it’s been seven days of putting some new practices into action. Some of these are easier than others to achieve.

Alcohol and coffee are on the avoid list. I cannot bring myself to totally give up a morning cup of coffee or red wine. So the word ‘avoid’ becomes ‘limit’ on my list. This week that meant reduced strength coffee and two small glasses of wine over the week adding up to five alcohol free days.

Easier asks are:

  • avoiding red meat.
  • consuming no sugar except when it comes in fruit
  • eating smaller portion meals
  • oats for breakfast
  • vegetables, vegetables, vegetables with broccoli as the hero
  • fish
  • exercise that matches capacity – no matter how small each day
  • juicing (with pulp included) as a lunch option
  • water, water, water

Juicing - Waterlogue and FX Colour Comic

So far so good with the exception of a lemon tart.  I’m feeling better for the change already and hopeful that all of the above becomes habit-forming sooner than later. A lot depends on it!

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