Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Newly-busy days

So much going on! I just wanted to file a quick update here--not as verbose as usual, I hope.

First, I started teaching last week. It's nice to be back in the classroom, actually--reassures me that I can return to My Life, and not be stuck in the life that hijacked me almost 6 months ago. My first day was rough--I have two back-to-back 3-hour sessions on Tuesdays. In the first, I forgot to conserve energy, and went bouncing around the room the way I usually do. About 2 hours in, I was hit with chemo-style fatigue and wondered how I'd make it through the rest. In the second class, I sat on a chair almost the entire time. I told both classes about my health--the first, so we could arrange a plan for any time radiation might make me late for class, and the second, to explain why I sat on my ass the whole time. Interestingly, this week a student came to me to talk about breast cancer (usually it's to ask for job negotiation advice). His mom was just diagnosed and he wanted some reassurance, I think, and some tips for her.

Second, in the few days before radiation started, we squeezed in a quick trip to Yosemite. That, too, was a good return to life. I actually did all of the following in three days: a 2-hour horseback ride, a 2-mile hike (mostly downhill), and a 12-mile bike ride. In the past, this would not have been an especially active getaway for us, but I feel an enormous sense of accomplishment now. Now I just have to keep up the exercise! We got my bike tuned up before the trip, so it's ready to go.

Third, I started radiation on Monday. It is going fine. There are no side effects right away--those don't usually appear until the 2nd or 3rd week, apparently. It really is painless--a bit like sitting on the slide of a giant microscope that buzzes for about 45 seconds. If you're not smashed on the slide, you can imagine, that wouldn't feel like anything. Anyway, I am showering with Ivory soap and deodorizing with Tom's of Maine for the next 6 weeks, and I have an appetizingly-named cream to apply--it's called RadiaGel. Mmmmm.

Finally, since my diet has garnered lots of sympathy and support (thanks so much for that!!!), I'll let you know that I've made it through my first 3 weeks pretty well. At Yosemite, I sometimes had few good options, and I had three meals on our trip that I consider really cheating (fried [!] fish at one, scrambled eggs and waffles at another, a Quizno's sandwich at the third). Otherwise, it was not TOO hard to ask for my fish cooked without any oil or butter, and my vegetables steamed, and extra veggies instead of the rice. So it's worked out, and I've lost at least 5 pounds (maybe more, but that's using different scales, so who knows). I check in tomorrow and we'll see how it continues.

OK, that's it for now. Thanks for checking in. I don't feel "done" with all of this yet and I do appreciate the ongoing support, so much.


Heidi and Sarah Face The Day said...

Hi Jen (actually wanted to say a word that rhymes with ranch sort of but not sure I'm allowed as it is probably TMed by NSM)! Thanks for updating. I was wondering how things were. Your Yosemite trip sounds grand -- great you could do all those things and manage your diet and that you are back to work. I admire you so much! Keep up the good work and attitude. Do you have any diet tips for me?!! AMMC said that I looked fatter today! Nice, huh! I bet KOM never barks that at you! Have a goody!

Anonymous said...

First, it's KGM--Kibble Gustaf Markewich--not KOM, which I assume means Kibble Overbeck Markewich.

Second, really, I am so thrilled with you! Three weeks ago, who could have imagined you doing any one of horseback riding, hiking, or biking over a three-month period, let alone a three-day one. And now teaching on top of that. You are so back (baby), and so quick! It's so exciting to watch you get reborn, so to speak. The past few months have been rough, but it's so good to be here with you now, as you resume living life to the fullest and render the past six months a relative bump in the road. You amaze me, and I am so happy to share your recovery with you. It doesn't just put life back into you, it puts life back into me. So TYTB and ILYMTYLM!!!!! (And IRS for my excessive use of "so.")