Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The cancer care schedule

I'm applying for a year's extension on my tenure clock. That's been recommended to me many times over, and though I get a lot of psychological comfort and benefit from working on research projects right now (hey, I can write on a laptop while lying on the couch!), it does seem like my productivity will be taking a hit.

Here's what it takes just in terms of formal appointments to handle cancer. I'm giving my schedule in a 2-week block based on chemo treatments. So the first day is always a Tuesday, if you care. And this assumes nothing goes wrong and I never have to go in for anything else.

Day 1: Chemo (all day at USC-Norris Cancer Hospital)
Day 2: Back to Norris for Neulasta shot in my stomach
The Wellness Community (TWC) Support Group
Day 4: Physical therapy at Cedars-Sinai (post-operative)
Day 8: Acupuncture
TWC Support Group
Day 10: Physical therapy

Driving times:
Norris - 45 minutes to 1.5 hours, depending on traffic
Cedars-Sinai - 35 minutes to 1.25 hours
Acupuncture - 15 minutes
TWC - 15 minutes

Up to now, there have also been extra appointments for looking at wigs, buying the wig, having the wig styled, going to my landlady's support group, going to a TWC intake meeting, etc. Fortunately, these drop off now and I can plan on the above. It is really nice when I have a few days in a row with no cancer-related appointments! Meetings at school never looked so good.

Then, day to day, there are various things I'm supposed to be sure to do, to promote health and healing and to combat side effects. These are:
  • get up by about 10-11am (I know, play me a violin)
  • take Chinese herbs 3x a day (for side effects)
  • take expensive drugs 3x a day (only just after chemo)
  • go on at least a 1/2-hour walk
  • do my series of post-surgery arm stretches
  • every other day, do a set of hip and leg strengtheners (these areas get weak during chemo, and can be in pain due to Neulasta)
  • get to bed by 11:30-12
These are a lot of things that demand a share of my time and attention, that are not necessarily how I want to spend all that time and attention. Of course, they are also all health-promoting things, and in some ways it is very nice--almost a luxury--to be "forced" to tune in to taking care of myself, and doing things that put my body and life first.

Still, these are not the activities that tenure rewards. So year extension, here I come.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What about bumping? Who told you to put the kibosh on bumping? I didn't tell you to put the kibosh on bumping. Do you know what putting the kibosh on bumping can do?