I’ve had some good days in the last few months, starting to get out and about and even play some tennis! It was not a winning season, but I didn’t expect it to be. It was just fun to play. I certainly felt how far my fitness had slipped. My reaction time is a little slow, too. But I believe it will come back. But the last couple of weeks have been mostly good. But I get so frustrated at the ups and downs.
I had a UTI a couple of weeks ago, the lab work however came back as negative for any infection. So I rolled along that week while the doctor pondered what could be causing my symptoms and I kept getting worse. Finally I called him and headed to the Midtown ER. Bob and I headed downtown on a beautiful Sunday afternoon and ran into complete grid lock in town as all roads around hospital were closed for the annual Atlanta Pride parade! As we got a couple of blocks from the hospital at one point we considered dropping me off on the corner to walk to ER. I could’ve joined the parade, or more appropriately, the homeless that hang out around the hospital. (Thanks for that visual Patti!). The way I looked, I would’ve fit in better with that group. We circled for an hour before a road was opened that allowed us into the hospital. So after 2 hours in the car with a raging UTI (ladies, you understand), I went into front door of ER, made a bee line for restroom only to see the ladies room closed/out of order. I’m in a full panic now, I bolt into the men’s room for relief, but it was too late. (My apologies to housekeeping). So now on top of being in pain, I’m humiliated. I now officially look like a homeless person that walked in off the street. Anyway, 10 HOURS LATER, we head home with antibiotics for UTI after all. About 11:00 p.m. the ER doctor decided she wanted to do a CT scan suspecting intestinal blockage from the X-ray. Oh no….not doing that. I’ll let you know if I’m blocked and this isn’t one of those times, so home we went.
It’s a week later, UTI is cleared up but I am managing a blockage that started Thursday night. I’m sticking with clear liquids and some full liquid, allowing fistula to do its work as a pressure relief valve. I’ve been kind of miserable the last couple of weeks, I must say. The chemo pill side effects are not even worth noting in light of everything else. It is worth noting, though, that my tumor marker continues to rise on these pills, so that is worrisome.
This blockage seemed a little more severe than a couple I managed before, so has me a little scared. I’m better today, but I don’t yet feel safe. Every time one of these happens, I can’t help but wonder if this is the one that can’t be resolved and I feel my time being very small again. Just as I get comfortable and at some peace, something changes that reminds me that I can’t really exhale. I’m told that I’m very strong. Tenacious might be a better description. I just hang on really tight. I confess that I often need help to keep my strength up. Of course, Bob is my first source of strength, even with his own fears. Pain management is important, pain is the enemy. Another are anti-depressant and, as needed, anti-anxiety. I take that when I can’t get morbid thoughts out of my head, and it helps. So I’m not super human strong, I just don’t want to leave yet and we all need help sometimes.
I’m often in awe of all that God has brought me through. I know I haven’t done this alone. Several years ago, early in my diagnosis and treatment, I learned a valuable lesson, I mean really integrated the lesson into my mind and heart. I was driving to work one spring morning and was passing by a park. As I inched along in traffic I took in all the people out jogging, walking, playing tennis and stuff. “Don’t these people work?” I wondered with envy. I honed in on one person in particular. A woman about my age walking her dog and I thought “That must be nice, to be healthy and have time to walk your dog in the park on a weekday.” Come on, we’ve all had these thoughts as we trudge through the work-day. But I was struck with the thought that no matter what it may look like, most people carry some burden… financial, relationships, grief, health and any other number of problems. Instead of being jealous of this woman, I wondered what her burden was. Please understand that it did not comfort me that this woman may have problems of her own but it erased all jealousy I may have felt. I realized that from the outside I look like my world is my oyster. I put myself in her shoes and felt empathy for another human. “You go girl.. walk on this spring morning, and find your joy”. I’m reminded of this lesson everywhere I go and with everyone I meet.