Post-chemo update

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Amazingly enough, I’m going on six months since chemotherapy, so I thought I would post an update on my status.

I am fine.

Oh, more detail?  Ok.  Cancer-wise, everything seems to be just as it should – blood tests are all good, no swollen lymph nodes, no pains anywhere suspicious.  I have a PET scan in November so I will get another official all-clear then.

My hair is coming back.  Not nearly as quickly as I would like, but I don’t look like a

See? Hair! (well, a little hair)

cancer patient anymore.  I just look like one of those women who, for reasons that have never made sense to  me in my whole life, decide that they want to chop their hair to an inch long.  It’s too curly to lie flat and too short to really curl, so it kind of sticks up and out and does whatever the heck it wants.

In related news, my eyelashes have also come back, which is a huge relief.  Not having eyelashes was much worse in a way than not having hair.  It made  me look like a mutant of some sort.  The hair was something that people “get” right away – “oh, chemo, poor thing”.  The eyelashes were hard to even put your finger on  – I just looked strange for some non-specific reason.  And the fake lashes were a pain.  They’re hard enough to put on when you have real lashes to help attach them, but without, they are quite the challenge.  So all in all, the return of eyelashes is a blessing that I am quite grateful to see.

The big toe that had the awful staph infection back in May never really healed.  It got better enough for me to ignore it throughout the summer because of sandals, but as closed-toed-shoe season approached, I realized I really couldn’t wear shoes without pain and I needed to have it taken care of.  My worst fears were realized when the podiatrist said that the nail had to come off and took out what she called a “clipper”.  It was at least 12 inches long, stainless steel, looked very much like what one would use to crack a lobster, except for the razor-sharp implements on the end that was coming at my toe.  I closed my eyes and proceeded to come close to breaking Sam’s hand.  I heard lots of snipping noise and kept waiting for the pain, but other than one short moment, it just didn’t hurt.  So much for my greatest fears.  (It is a little tender now, but it’s healing nicely.)

I’ve been on Weight Watchers and have lost the weight that I put on from the steroids.  I’m back in my old clothes and that feels great.  I’m also working five days a week now, although still part-time.  However, I was part-time before cancer, due to the fibromyalgia and the exhaustion that can cause.

All in all, I think I’m doing pretty well.  The joint pain that seems to be a side-effect of the chemo is not going away and from what I’ve been able to research, may last for months or years or never go away, so I’m just working on learning to control the worst symptoms.  But otherwise, cancer doesn’t seem to have affected me long-term.  Physically, anyway.  It changed me a lot.  Hopefully if you’ve been reading this blog, you’ve noticed that.

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4 thoughts on “Post-chemo update

  1. Thanks – all of you. You touch my heart and humble me. Honestly, God held me up like a dad holds a kid who fell. All I did was try to remember that His arms were there and strong.

  2. Nermin

    Kimmie, I’m so happy that you’re doing well. Seems like all the prayers from your loved ones have been answered. You’re such a strong and amazing woman and I am so blessed to have you as a friend. love you!

  3. Kim,

    I’m not saying this just to be kind; I really think you looked amazing the whole time you were getting treatments. You have such beautiful skin and features that you always looked nice even wearing a scarf on your head. I did notice that you were pale and your smile was missing at times, but mostly I saw your grace. That said, it ihas been wonderful to see your smile and quick wit again!

  4. Marty Shafer

    Interesting to me how people react to chemo patients.

    During the summer between 1st and 2nd grade, my son Erik insisted on having his head shaved. That’s fine except for the fact that he was very fair complected and looked like a chemo patient.

    Erik was an aspiring golfer (even played on the Pepsi Tour in high school). I took him to a skins game at Shadow Ridge CC that featured many big names from the PGA including Davis Love III. Professional golf is the only sport in which the profits go entirely to local charities; usually something that medically benefits kids.

    When Erik spotted Davis Love III and held up his cap to be autographed, Davis immediately took a knee. He put his arm around Erik and asked him if he was having a “good” day. He signed his cap and wished him well. I realized that DL3, seing pale skinned and bald headed Erik, thought Erik was receiving chemo.

    In my estimation, a “real man” will always be one who will reach down to help a kid. Whether Erik was a cancer patient or not, that moment reinforced my already high opinion of Davis Love III and what the PGA means to local kids charities.

    And as for you, Kim, I admire the strength and class you have demonstrated through this difficult period in your life. I hope that you will be the inspiration for someone who has been or will someday be challenged. It’s like Vince Lombardi once said, “It isn’t about if you got knocked down, it’s about if you got up.”

    You’re awesome!

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