On April 30th, I went to the City of Hope BMT reunion. This was my second one (celebrating 1 3/4 years). It is a very upbeat party on the lawn of the hospital grounds. I went by myself this time (girls were in school) and had a very nice time.
I come away with deeply turbulent feelings on these things. First, everyone there is a cancer survivor. That in itself is a reason to be happy. You can also see what damage has been done to the body, scarred faces, missing limbs, unstable gaits. But they survived. When you sit down to eat, you always chat with the people around you. I sat with two ladies that had cancer -- one even had the same doctors as I did! The second lady was your stereotypical older lady with loud clothes and super bright personality that you see at art openings. She survived (her first year), but the toll on her body was enormous. Didn't seem to effect her spirit, though.
Walking around, comparing yourself to other survivors (yes, that is what you do -- and you know it), I seem to have come out pretty good.
That is untill you see the kids with the BMT buttons.
This is what always disturbs me the most. The little kids with a button that says that they had a BMT x number of years ago, but they look only half that age. The toll on their bodies is telling, and obvious, at this early stage of what should be a long life. It can't be easy explaining to everyone that they are not able to (fill in the blank) because their body was attacked by cancer, radiated, chemoed, rebuilt from stem cells harvested from them (or someone else), and somehow they survived -- albet in a much weaker form.
I am blessed that the girls are healthy and strong.
I also like to wander the campus and look at all the plaques placed around their. While interesting, it is also a reminder that these people didn't survive. Hope only goes so far.
The statistics are irrefutable. For me, I have 5 years from initial diagnosis. While I may be cancer free now, there is a 70% chance that it will return. The doctors know the numbers, and while they are quite positive about my long term health, the stats don't change just for me.
That puts a different spin on career track guidelines.
As far as how I am doing physically, not bad.
I am fat as a cow, can't feel my toes, can't feel my finger tips, off ballance ( because I can't feel my toes and I am fat), can't remember names worth a crap, get cramps at weird times on weird muscle groups, and can't see well in bright light unless I have my cool new sunglasses.
While I did sign up for the YMCA, I have yet to get into a groove. Excuses, trips, projects, and hey -- is that something shinny? Hopefully, I can get the girls to take me there so they can swim.
My eyes have healed nicely, according to Dr. Rice. I can see 20/20, with some help from reading glasses. While it is nice to "wake up and see the clock", my brain still hasn't been wowed by that. I have to remember to look up to see the clock. It is nice, though.
The thyroid keeps me warm, and I have to keep myself super hydrated or else I start having weird cramps and spasms. I still am learning to listen to my body, something that I really neglected to do in the past.
We will see if I do better over the summer.
I probably should go exercise now (but ice cream sounds soooo tempting).