Category: Veteran

Cycle 12 and beyond

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Cycle 12 was pretty uneventful, except that it was the last. So, my last day of chemo was August 26, 2016.

The weird thing is that peripheral neuropathy got worse in the weeks following the end of chemo. My feet and fingertips tingle all the time now and my fingers feel kind of “dumb” – I can’t do some things requiring dexterity.

I had a follow-up appointment with my doctor a couple weeks later in early September. I’m eager to get my life back on track, to start exercising again, to have food taste normal again, to have my hands and feet stop tingling.

I had planned to start lifting weights after chemo was over. My doctor said I should be thinking more along the lines of resistance bands, not barbells. That was kind of a let down. He also suggests yoga, tai chi, and walking, all of which are doable for me now, if I can just make myself do it.

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And now it’s November and I never finished my post. 🙂

I had a CT scan and doctor’s appointment last week and so far everything looks good. I’m in remission. I’ll get a colonoscopy in a couple months and another CT scan in 6 months.

My hair is growing back. I’ve regained all the weight I lost. While that’s not a fantastic thing, because I’m overweight, my oncologist says, “Sick people don’t gain weight!” So I guess I have to accept that for now.

I’m not as physically active as I should be, as I’d like to be. Part of that is because I started a graduate school program through University of Maryland so my time is somewhat limited. I’m taking two classes and they are simply a LOT of reading and writing.

The bpantsuitlog will likely take a different direction now, though I’m not sure what direction that’s going to be. I could write about things I’m learning for my job and my degree. I could talk about dealing with the VA. I could talk about knitting. I could talk about cats. I could talk about politics. More than likely, given how my brain jumps around on topics, I might talk about all those from time to time.

 

 

Still here

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I haven’t had a lot of time or energy to write lately,  but I’m still here,  still chugging along.

It seems every cycle adds a little something to the side effects column.

Just before cycle three,  the doctor asked me if I was experiencing neuropathy yet.  Nope,  hadn’t had that issue,  just the cold sensitivity (which lasts a little longer each cycle).

Guess what happened very soon after I got home that cycle? Yep, the neuropathy hit.  Only lasted a few minutes each time and only for a couple of days,  but again,  this one lasts a little longer each cycle.

Cycle four added “first bite syndrome” which is is own kind of fun – but was milder in cycle 5.

Cycle 5 didn’t see new side effects,  but they lasted longer this time.  I needed to keep taking my nausea meds for well over a week. Earlier cycles,  it was 3-5 days.

Work continues to be amazing and working with me and the time off I need. People have donated leave to me, enough so that if I keep working when I can, I won’t have to worry about missing any pay.

I worry that I may get too sick to work much at all the last couple of cycles, but I’m fighting to keep working as much as I can.

In other news,  my roommate and I moved to a two bedroom apartment in the same complex I’ve lived in for 8 years.

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They are renovating the apartments and we got one with all new appliances,  wooden floors in the kitchen,  bathrooms and entry way,  new carpeting,  new countertops, etc. One of the best things,  as far as I’m concerned is that it faces east. The apartment I was in for so long faced west.  In an area where is not uncommon to have several days of 100°+ each summer,  that can make for a very hot apartment and high air conditioning costs. So,  now we get morning sun instead of late afternoon sun and already I can tell how much better that’s going to be this summer.  I’m already sitting out on the porch more than I ever did in the old place.

On moving day,  we had a lot of help that I’m grateful for.  I worked as much as I could,  but by lunch I was wiped out and feeling a bit ill. A guy from my work came with a big truck and a dolly.  My daughter and her boyfriend brought another couple and two more young men to help. It was one of the smoothest moves I’ve ever done. It’s been a couple weeks,  and we’re selling in,  still unpacking,  trying to make things more organized and neater than they were before.

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Last night, my roommate and I went to military appreciation night at the River Cats (local minor league baseball team). There were other women from the Women Veterans Alliance there, and most of them lead the 7th inning stretch.

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I’m trying to be social on my non-chemo weekends. I’m not the most social person, but I need to maintain my relationships and stay connected to the world.

Women Veterans Unconference


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This weekend was the first Women Veterans Unconference.

I’m glad that I was feeling well enough to make it for at least a few hours each day. I didn’t do everything I’d intended to do, but I’m still glad I was able to make it at all.

I’ve been a part of the group that started this since the beginning of the group (Women Veterans Alliance, link in the blogroll). Over the last several months, between tutoring on Thursday evenings and now deal with the cancer shit, I haven’t made it to many meetings or Mix & Mingle nights lately. I’d missed the camaraderie; I’d missed my ladies!

I was touched by how many people kept asking about how I was doing and letting me know that if I need anything, to just ask. It’s nice knowing people are there. I was pretty isolated for a really long time and it’s just great knowing I do have people I can contact now.

I brought my roommate to the conference, too, as a caregiver (after all, he’s taking care of me) because I thought he might get something out of it, too. One comment he made was that it felt weird to be one of only about 3 men in the room full of women. Yeah, that’s how women in the military (and often in science/tech fields) feel all the time. . . . 😛