The on-going, first-hand tale of a journey through medical oncology... and what happens after.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Just thinkin'...

As many of my friends and most of my family will attest, this is dangerous ground. Ed "thinking" is something to fear, as I understand it, because it is pretty unpredictable in terms of conclusions and even communication. As in "how the hell did you come up with that" or "come again, I didn't follow you there." So be it. Just be thankful that you only have to endure this every once in a while. For me, it's 24/7/365.25, thankyouverymuch.

I have been reading compulsively these last few weeks. This is partly because I have more energy again, but it is also to find some answers. But, you ask, what are the questions? Ah, this is the rub - I am not sure what the questions ought to be these days. For the majority of 2007, I was submerged in a sea of anxiety, adrift in the impenetrable mists of interrupted normalcy, and too damned tired to reflect on the flotsam, jetsam, and general floating junk of living that whirled around me in that foggy ocean. So, I read. Fiction (fantasy, sci-fi, alternate histories, and historical) and non-fiction (predictive global warning, DNA, food manufacturing) - all set to distract me from the here-and-now, I guess. Questions like... what causes a cancer to develop and take hold in one's colon, or breast, or lung, are there any probably-cancer-causing variables that I should try to control (and which ones are random), should I further change some aspect of my daily "living" to enhance my chances of celebrating a longer life? Big questions.

And little questions too... should I walk to work in the sub-freezing temperatures of mid-January (improving my strength and energy, but possibly damaging sensitive and re-growing nerves in my hands and feet)? When is the right time to visit my general practitioner to "check-in" - she did not hesitate to suggest the colonoscopy that ultimately led to my new world, and I think she deserves to hear about my progress, but I am still on the clinical trial follow-up schedule and maybe another doctor visit isn't needed? And how important is that self-accumulating pile of paper on my desk, anyhow?

Work is another sticky dilemma. Some days it feels like the work challenge is really no different from being a cancer survivor. In both situations, we are trying to move past old habits by way of a new reality into a new organization of living - and we are struggling mightily without a roadmap. In both situations, we need a re-established baseline of "facts" upon which we can rely. And where does that baseline come from? How the heck do I know... but I know that I need it.

I am continuing with my exercise program - three days a week, for about 30 minutes each session so far. I am sleeping OK, if you can ignore the constantly tingling (to the point of annoyance) in both feet. Oh, and the flatulence! Woo-wee, that's a real stinky place these days. But is it my diet, or am I still readjusting internally to the lower abdominal resection of April, 2007? I won't go into any further detail, but the resolution of that surgical procedure can take as long as 18-24 months... and that does not seem to include any complicating realities forced onto the situation by five months of chemo-therapy.

Just thinkin'. Lots of questions, no apparent answers yet. Just thinkin'.

1 comment:

Megan said...

I have a theory that when you are in the midst of chemo you seem to know to prioritize just getting better and all the deep thinking about the big questions, cancer or otherwise, just gets filed away for a later date. Ed, you're at that later date! But I think you're doing just the right thing in "just thinking". Let the thoughts ruminate. Don't obsess and don't ignore. Eventually all this thinking will bring you more clarity if you just let it do its thing.