Chapter 13 – Back To Normal

Chapter 13 – Back To Normal

April 3

Well, the good news is things are really back to normal here.

I’ve got a trick knee and a cold. So, I have to say I am in just about the same place I was before this all started. What you might call the old me, back again.

The trick knee I acquired on a trip to Ireland last fall. It has reappeared now that I am getting back to walking and moderate exercise. The wonky knee kicks in when I walk on uneven surfaces like cobblestones or pitchy sidewalks, or for no other reason than to be aggravating. So … like I said … the old me with the old knee.

The cold and sinus thing is courtesy of the general population, which is honking and coughing and doing a fair imitation of the walking germ mongers in some zombie movie.

Now I am once again driving and doing errands and getting out of the house, I guess it is only to be expected that I would run into a miasma of germs … A fog of microbes lurking about … wafting about and defying all attempts to avoid catching the backwash of infection. Probably picked it up in the health food aisle of the grocery store last week along with my vitamins.

So, despite all efforts to avoid a cold by washing hands and avoiding crowds and drinking fluids, I got zapped with the latest form of head cold mixed with sore throat.

Just a fun fest of phlegm.

However, now that my nose is chapped from blowing, my throat is sore from coughing, my hands are raw from washing, and my house is knee deep in used tissues, it would appear that I am on the road to recovery. At last!!!

I will say there is this advantage to having gone through chemo … the cold & sinus thing is positively ordinary and only mildly aggravating. They call it the common cold for a reason. You will eventually get over it. You are generally in good company. Just about everyone you know will have had some form of the same thing. And when it winds down you are back to who you were. Very reassuring. I love being normal.

Cough, hack, hack, blow, snort, honk, honk, honk


Today I went for a final appointment with my Oncologist. The office was backed up and my appointment was delayed because … get this …

IT HAS BEEN SNOWING ALL DAY! Here we are in April, and still it snows! And still I am wearing my blue coat with black and white checked scarf … the original fashion statement from my first chemo appointment … three months ago. Time to put away the winter duds. It is getting to be a drag.

And, unlike Old Man Winter, I am moving on. I got the all clear from the Oncologist. I am good to go. My blood levels … those cryptic markers so loved by all medical professionals, those markers that are tracked at every visit … they are at the same level as when I started Chemo treatment in January.

So, I am officially out of chemo and ready for surgery. Like I said … the new normal.

And about all those lingering side effects

… the neuropathy

… the skin sensitivity

… the taste buds that bring out the worst in a glass of water and make chocolate unpalatable…

Not to worry. They will eventually resolve themselves over the next days and weeks and months.

Can’t wait! Apparently, just about the time I am going into surgery, I will feel terrific … the best I have felt in months. I am really looking forward to feeling the good vibrations!

The surgery … not so much.

#13 & #13.5   COMMENTARY

During this three-week period, I met with

… the Surgeon for a review of surgical procedures and to sign off on the risks involved in the upcoming surgery

… the Oncologist for the final okay to proceed with the surgery

… my Primary Care Physician for a pre-op exam

… the Anesthesiologist for who-knows-what reason

… the ostomy nurse to have my stomach X-ed to mark the spot that would eventually become my new pee-hole … more correctly called a stoma.

…various and sundry lab technicians andx-ray takers and ultra sound readers. All of whom chewed through what was left of my chemo-free-pre-surgery time. Sigh

I wrote to a friend during this time:

“Feeling better … went for my pre-op physical. I must say it felt odd to be talking about any part of my body other than that which pertains to my plumbing.

So, he did an eye test … an EKG … a breathing test … and a hearing test, for who knows what reason … and ended up declaring me healthy enough to go to the hospital. I guess irony comes in all colors, shapes and sizes.”

And to another I wrote:

“I am really getting my wheels under me and racing toward the end of the month. As of now almost every day is booked with appointments. Had my pre-op physical today, tomorrow lunch with my bookkeeper, Saturday with a new kitchen client, and next week much the same … x-rays and ultrasounds and meetings with the anesthesiologist and then with the stoma nurse to mark the correct placement of my new plumbing system. This whole pre-op thing is a joy a minute.”

Looking at my date book from this period reminds me I also spent a good deal of time eating and drinking and enjoying time with friends. So not all white coats and waiting rooms. Life really was good during this period. But the weather was anything but!

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