Friday, March 05, 2010

Reflection on a Year

I've been receiving a lot of comments lately:  "You look good!"  "Look at your hair!"

It's been one year since I started chemotherapy for breast cancer.  And my hair has come back:  salt-and-pepper gray, thick, and wavy.  The wavy part intrigues me as for most of my life my hair was straight.  I'm wondering if the curls will stay once I get a haircut.

And I do need to get my hair cut.  At least, styled.

But I have enough hair that I no longer wear a hat indoors, although I still do outside because it's cold.  (I always have, so this is not new.)

"How are you feeling?" is the other question.  That one is harder to answer.

Most of the time I feel pretty good.  Unless I have a Herceptin treatment, I'm back at work full time.  I'm back at the Y, doing aqua aerobics and aqua jogging three or four times a week.  My Girl Scout troop is active--we've got booth sales scheduled the next two Saturdays for Girl Scout cookies.  The next round for the Berkeley-Sakai Girl Scout Exchange is beginning.  There's the Coolbrith Circle and the Rubber Stamping Group--and so far I've managed to get cards made for birthdays and anniversaries done on time.

And then I come home and collapse.

I don't want to think about grocery shopping.  Or dinner.  Staying up past 9:00 p.m. is unusual--but then, I'm up at 5:00 a.m. most days.  (It's a shower schedule thing.)

The question the cancer gone?  My mammogram in December was clear.  I am choosing to act as though there are no rogue cells floating around my body.

I feel very lucky.  My cancer was caught early, I was treated immediately, the team has been competent, professional, and warm, and the side-effects were well-managed and transitory.  My kids were old enough to be pretty independent and to help out.  Hubs has excellent insurance and a great work schedule.  My company has been equally accommodating, letting me work from home or with a reduced schedule.

So last weekend I was at a party and cut loose.  There were some long-time acquaintances who had never seen that side of me.  There were others who suspected there was a crude and rowdy nature carefully constrained behind the conservative suits and heels.  Felt good to let her out, although I wasn't planning on it.

I am amazed at the outpouring of love and support I received, not only from family and friends, but from casual acquaintances, relative strangers.  I'm part of a Divine Mercy list and we're praying for people all over the world.  We call ourselves "prayer warriors" and we're effective--not always at changing the outcome, but at ensuring that those we pray for know the strength of God's love.

Thank you to those of you who have been following along and praying for (and with!) me.  Your support has made a difference.