The fear of recurrence is ever present, and yet I’m feeling like I can begin to let go of that worry.
I saw my oncologist today about a headache and other pains. They had me scared. The oncologist did some tests and confirmed that is was nothing to worry about – that I should follow up with my ophthalmologist/optometrist as I definitely am in need of new glasses. One of the side effects of tamoxifen is vision changes, but that is typically vision changes due to cataracts, not refraction changes. Chemotherapy can also affect the moisture in your lenses. Since I had cataract surgery before I had cancer, my lenses are already implants. So vision changes are not necessarily directly attributable to cancer treatment. Either way, I’m not seeing road signs clearly even with glasses on, so it is time to go get my vision checked – and once I get new glasses, I’ll need to book my drivers road test so I can finally get my California drivers license!
I feel a little embarrassed. I went through waves of convincing myself that I had mets (metastatic disease) … I know I need to stop doing that. I find that I need the appeal to authority to help me stop the negative thinking, to move beyond it. This time, however, my oncology appointed ended better than my last. I don’t feel nearly as abandoned – more I feel supported – which is in part what I needed.
I’m doing some cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) – when I first heard someone use the acronym, I got confused thinking they were talking about “Computer based training” – Cognitive Based Therapy uses the premise that you can change the way you feel by changing the way you think. I’m working through it with a good book (recommended by my therapist) – When Panic Attacks: The New, Drug-Free Anxiety Therapy That Can Change Your Life – So far, it is really helping. That’s a good thing. I’m finding that I can apply some of the techniques to other aspects of my life (e.g. Impostor syndrome) so that is good too.
And so, my oncologist encouraged me to get on with my life. He also wants me to exercise more – which is amusing – the only reason I’m not is because I was told by my plastic surgeon to take it easy – so I’m easing back into exercise. I went out for a short (10km – 1hr) ride on the trike yesterday. I’m certainly weak – but today I’m feeling stronger than yesterday – so that is good. Tomorrow I may try a short ride on my foldie. Recovery involves taking one step at a time, even when you really just want to take one giant leap!