Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Counting Down

Three weeks from two days ago we get on a plane (or rather the first of a series of three planes) and fly off to Wellington. Preparing for a major move like this involves a strange combination of limbo and rush, kind of like planning our wedding did (although most of the details don’t overlap, except for changing information on certain things like bank accounts and the house title . . . although, come to think of it, I didn’t, in fact, change anything about the house title when we got married, which is why I just filed a quit claim deeding Ian’s share of the house to him last week, after 5 ½ years of marriage. Well, I wanted to make sure it would stick).

I’ve spent the last two weekends away, visiting friends and relatives, which has necessarily ramped up my activity level when I’m at home, and has helped me start to feel disjointed. For example, I wonder “what’s the point in unpacking my bags and putting away all my clothes again?” And yet, in the next three weeks we’re holding a garage sale and hosting a going away party and potentially having out of town guests for a night or two (A&E in SF, are you reading this???), so in other words we’re actively living in our house still, so it can’t all go to shit yet. But there nevertheless seems to be some futility in putting things away in a chest of drawers that, 2.714 weeks from now, will be stored in someone’s basement anyway.

A while back I made a list of things I wanted to do and people I wanted to see before taking off, and I’ve crossed off all the people (by seeing them, not by deciding not to see them), but I can’t even remember what was on the list of things to do. I don’t feel like I’m missing out, though—it seems I just do a pretty good job of enjoying my life while I’m living it. I try not to focus too much on leaving the dog behind—he’ll be happier with Mom and Marsh than he would be for 20 hours of transit and a month in quarantine, and a kennel whenever we travel, etc etc . . . but it’s sad. He’s a very sweet dog.

The necessary details are marching along. We’ve rented the house, we’ve sold our cars, we’ve hired the movers and scheduled them to deliver a couple major pieces around the city. I typically don’t care that much for spring—it doesn’t grab my soul the way fall and winter and summer do—but I did notice the other day that I was starting to seriously look forward to asparagus and fava beans . . . and the thought of another 7 or 8 months of squash and sweet potatoes made me sigh. But the adventure, the opportunity for a different global perspective, those I’m excited for.

Now we just need our visas to come through soon . . .

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

No Thank You

Last Monday, the day before I had my port removed, I completed my second to last appointment for all things cancer related. I had my meeting with the radiation oncologist, which I appreciated very much indeed. I spent some time with a resident at first, and then with the doctor herself, and both were willing to answer all my questions. The doctor in particular was convinced that radiation therapy would increase my long-term chances of remaining cancer-free. She works closely with my surgeon and my regular oncologist, and I think the three of them make a fine team, and will help numerous other people whose challenge is breast cancer.

She didn’t pull punches in trying to convince me, letting me know that possible side effects include reduced bone density in the ribs under the radiation site (which could lead to easy fractures if I, say, ever fell off a horse) and ulcerated skin at the site which might ultimately need to be healed with a skin graft. These, of course, are unlikely outcomes.

But in the game of probabilities, are these side effects any more or less likely than the possibility that some cells escaped surgery and the naturopathic remedies I was using, and are ominously at large in my body?

The doctor apologized for not having a study that really spoke to my (agreedly unusual) situation; I explained that my husband is a statistician, and I therefore know pretty well that statistics say nothing whatsoever about individual cases, so I wasn’t likely to be swayed by numbers anyway. I’m not sure if that helped or not.

The upshot was, though, that the entire two hours I felt like I was at a documentary screening or something equally unrelated to my specific life. Informative, but in a vaguely distant way. The thought of the possible side-effects didn’t make me afraid; the thought of what might happen if I didn’t do six weeks, everyday treatments didn’t make me afraid. At this stage in how I feel about my health and my life, the entire scenario simply did not apply.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Last Step

Two days ago I got my port removed, rather than cause the shit storm that teaching Ian to access it would’ve engendered. It’s great—I feel, now, completely free. In fact, for the last couple days, I’ve felt huge buffeting waves of energy flowing into me and knocking me around. I should clarify—this is definitely spiritual energy, not physical energy. The procedure was relatively short and minor, and took place with only local anesthetic and sedation (something like Valium but with even stronger amnesiac effects—don’t ask me what I did Tuesday afternoon but I’m pretty certain it didn’t include signing any legal documents), but the physical after effects have, nevertheless, included many naps and a lot of richly dream-filled sleep. No, the waves of energy? electricity? come when I’m lying in bed, or on the couch, and something hits me and I feel like I’m suspended, washed this way and that, on a warm, wild sea of possibility. It’s exhilarating, this life.