Monday, September 04, 2006

Am I ok? Part Deux

Hello people of the world-

I have just a quick minute to get this blog posted and then get back to the daily grind. I'm getting lots of encouraging emails and comments about being off Interferon, and I appreciate them all. You all have been so wonderful. I can't tell you what it's meant to me to have you accompany me through this last year.

School is awesome. I've always kinda been a workaholic, and this profession seems to fit perfectly with that. I'm hoping that later in the year maybe it won't be so hectic, but experienced teachers are telling me that's pretty much a pipe dream- that the first year is basically all catch-up. I feel good, though, and confident that it will be a success. It feels so good to be a productive member of society again! And the IRS is loving it, too.

As far as being off Interferon, I can't even describe the feeling. My skin is getting soft again, not flaking off in scales, and almost back to normal. My hair is growing in thick, my gums have stopped bleeding, the nausea is gone, and I mean really gone, the depression is slowly lifting, and I can stay awake more than 2 or 3 hours at a time. I'm excited to be normal again. My taste buds are back, and I'm eating veggies at every meal again, which is not only wonderful, but also delicious! The fatigue isn't totally gone- I'm still pretty wiped out by 2 or so every day, but the good news is vitamins and food aren't making me sick anymore, so that has helped lots as far as the energy level goes. I've read and heard that sometimes it takes up to a couple of years to get over the fatigue, but this is totally liveable. And, to be honest with you, I've got no complaints.

I can't say enough times how awesome it feels to be back. It feels so awesome to be myself again. I can't believe that year of Interferon is over sometimes, that it's gone and I don't have to do it again. There at the end, just a few days before I quit, it had become almost unbearable. Fatigue like I'd never felt before, constant diarrhea, jaundicy eyes and complexion, and pain. Pain that became close to unbearable, not because it was so bad, but just because it never went away. Bobby and I both knew that I'd be hospitalized before the month was up, but neither one of us would say it. We just kept saying, It will be over soon. Inside, though, I'd all but given up. I consider myself a survivor, someone who can handle her share of the load, but 13 months of Interferon had been too much.

Know what doctors say when you give them this list of symptoms? They say, "Hmmm. Well..... um, are you depressed? Sometimes depression will make you feel that way." Depression causes jaundice? Who knew.

And then, like a quiet whisper, it was just over. No big to-do. No huge relief from family and friends. I just kinda gradually stopped the treatment and tried to start feeling better. Somewhere in there was the no-more chemo party, where I had a lot of fun, but a lot was going on that weekend- stress and weddings and showers and jobs, etc. I honestly can't speak for anyone else, and at that point, I was so tired, I was just pushing through for the sake of doing so. Really the party was in my head a few weeks later, when, for the first time in too long, I had my life back.

Work gives me a lot of time to be doing stuff while I'm thinking, and it feels good to work things out that way. Looking back, it's crazy to think how sick I was and how long I felt that way. A year of it is a long time, and I don't blame anyone who gets down after a while. What a tough choice it must be to decide to go back on it after having lived through it once. I really don't know what my decision would be if it came down to that again. Today, I'd say no way. I'd say it's better to have that year to really live. But hey, that's just me, today. Tomorrow I could be gung-ho for it. Kicking cancer ass!

I've been thinking about my stepmom a lot lately, I guess with the holidays coming up and all. Thanksgiving was always the best time of the year with my dad. I'm guessing I'm gonna miss that again this year. Oh well. Bobby says we might do something fun, like a little short cruise (not Tom), which would be awesome. Maybe it'd be good to do something new, something to break old habits, which obviously die hard. I have a picture of my Dad in my desk drawer at work, and I look at him every day and say hi. Sometimes I wonder how long this will go on, how many years I'm going to miss him like this. I hope that where ever he is, he has a great holiday this year, just like the good old days.

Not sure what the bunny fixation is today, but I got a couple of good laughs out of them, and that never hurts, right? Hope you did, too.

I'll write more regularly, I promise. Don't be mad...



Carver said...

Hi Lori,

Congratulations on being done with INF, that is huge! Also, great to hear you are back to work and going full steam. Sounds like it will get better and better from here on out.

Take care, Carver

Anonymous said...

Hi Little Friend,

It is wonderful to hear that you are doing so well. You are in my thoughts so often. Give my love to the Boob and call me when you get a chance.

The Bug

Sarah said...

Yay yay yay! Screw INF! What a miserable effing drug!

I'm glad you feel like your old self again (or at least can see her coming back!).

Here's to hoping that part of your life is behind you!

Come up to Canada (eh?) for your little vacation! Cruise smuise.

Peter said...

Hi Lori

Good to hear more from you. You sound great, and I'm so pleased for you.

I hope you will continue to post.


Katy Smiles said...

I love you, Lori Lee.
You are a survivor like no other!
I miss you too. Can we get together soon? I'll fix my phone and get your phone number.
(Now that I have money).
I love to hear that you love teaching. I want to hear more. I love it too. It's absolutely wonderful. What grade are you teaching and where are you teaching?
You are a beautiful pruveyor of words.


I'm Too Young For This!