I’d like to be saying that this year I feel stronger and fitter than I did at this time last year. I’m not sure I can say that. But… I am definitely healthier.
This time last year I got my official diagnosis of celiac disease, lymphedema, and high blood pressure — pretty much all at the same time — October 28th. I remember that day quite clearly.
In the last month I’ve learned that I don’t have any signs of cancer, I got cleared for 1 year follow-ups with my breast surgeon, I’m showing no signs of the celiac anti-bodies (it took a year on gluten free diet for them to clear up), my blood pressure is under control, and I have no pre-clinical signs of lymphedema (which means, not only do I not have any visible swelling, I’m also clear on the impedance test that they do – so that is an every 3-month scan that I no longer need). In addition, I finally got to the surgery to clean the arthritis in my toe, and although it hurts, the pain is not nearly as bad as it was before the surgery!
Last year at this time I was exploring the idea of going back to my PhD. I was starting to feel ready. I’m now back at it, I’m teaching and working on my dissertation. I’m enjoying both, and wishing I had more time and a better ability to concentrate, but I’m making good progress.
These last two months have been difficult for me emotionally. I’ve been dealing with a lot of death – death of my father, and the death of a couple breast cancer friends.
So, although I feel like I should be celebrating. I feel a bit tired. I want to get back to exercising regularly, but my darn toe just isn’t cooperating. I’m hobbling a little and will hopefully be able to jump in the pool tomorrow, even if it is just for a short swim. Something is better than nothing.
Now I probably am healthier than this time last year. It was actually the year before that I last felt physically stronger. Last year the lymphedema slowed me down. I haven’t yet gotten back into regular cycling. I have since done a lot more swimming – where I now typically swim a mile. I have done a fair bit of hiking in the last year, regularly getting out to Alum Rock park for a 7km loop.
I feel a little like this is a rambling post, but I felt I needed to make it. I’m fighting the emotional blues while knowing that I should feel good about how much better I’m doing this year. It is hard for me to feel good about how I’m doing when a good friend is not sure yet if the new chemo will work – and she is out of alternatives. Things are on an upswing for me, let’s just hope it stays that way!
Feature image CC0 via Pixels.