I just realised that yesterday was the third monthiversary of my last chemo. ie three months ago I finished chemo.
What has changed? Well this:
has changed. Yep, I have hair up to 3cm long now, and people keep commenting how dark it is. Well duh! This lot hasn't been sunbleached yet. I even have some white hairs (it seems that the thick red hairs I used to have are now white, thanks, chemo!) My eyelashes are regrowing as are my eyebrows. Think yourselves lucky that I am not showing you what other hair is growing back ;-)
I can now sprint across the road if I have to (and then I puff for a while). By the end of chemo, I could barely shuffle. It really attacked my legs (technically the neuromuscular junction). I can walk all day if I have to. I can walk up ramps - couldn't do that by the end of chemo! Just couldn't! My calves were too tight, felt like I had been wearing high heels all my life and had to walk in flat shoes again. I can garden - getting up off the ground is quite feasible these days and getting there isn't an issue either. But don't ask me to do it all day long.
I still sound like a crow most times. My nails look worse now than they did then, if that is possible (three are half-detached). My fingertips are still numb I think, or maybe it is the nailbeds are not happy. Not sure about that one!
I am somewhat more lively than I was too. I have two new scars and a couple of new bumpy bits to replace the cancerous ones. Part of me doesn't respond when I touch it, until I press hard enough that the muscles underneath notice. (And what is it with the itch on the back of my arm, the itch that is insistent that it needs to be scratched, yet when I scratch it, it isn't there? And the skin doesn't respond? I know the back of my right arm is numb so how can it say ITCHY!) My skin is fairly lousy due to the number of ingrown hairs that I have - half of me is lumpy bumpy. I still worry and fuss - the vague wheeziness I have at the moment, could it be secondaries in my lungs or just hay fever? That twinge in my back - could it be a secondary too or is it just I've been sitting in a different, less comfortable chair and also starting to do some heavier gardening? Will I see my 45th birthday (a year and a bit away), will I see my 50th? That is the thing with cancer - you get through all the treatment (not that I have finished radiotherapy yet) and then you have to wait and see what happens. Whilst you wait and see, you have to get on with your life. After all, you're only guaranteed this life and you have to make the most of it. But the cancer thing will never go, well maybe if I live to a hundred. I'm unlikely to be cured, but if I am lucky I'll be dancing with NED - no evidence of disease. You have to keep on going, if nothing else because it might not be cancer that kills you.
On a totally different topic, it has been a totally brilliant day - warmest in Melbourne for ages! Maybe a bit too warm cos I feel a little hot, but that is what long cool drinks are for. The garden called to me - don't go to some stupid show, stay home and be with us! So today instead of going to the gardening show, I stayed home and did gardening. I weeded out the front for two or three hours and then whipper snipped the back yard for an hour. The new whipper snipper is easier to use than I thought it would be - it is quite well balanced for an electric one with the motor in the head. The front yard is nowhere near under control yet but I am slowly getting there. Some parts of it are quite good. With another hour or two, I'll have about 80% of the outside garden bed under control. It will take another day or two of weeding to get the rest of the outside edge under control. Then I'll have to take on the tough perennial lawn grasses that have run amok across the middle of the yard.
Guess I'd better go back outside and tidy up the mess of weeds I made. I am very good at making messes but not so good at cleaning up after myself.
I won't have everything pretty for the BBQ I'm having next weekend (Nathan will be down from Sydney, yay!) but the yard is pretty enough even with the weeds. It most certainly is Spring!
PS going PINK for breast cancer month. Ahem. Gotta find out if I can dye my hair pink too!