How Long has it been? Sorry i haven't posted in a while, been busy. How long since my last chemo? I dunno. I'm getting married next Saturday, dammit! My eyebrows are growing back, still light but getting there. I'm so happy I'll have some for the wedding. My mustache stubble is sooooooo dense/thick now. For clarification, I lost the mustache more so than the rest of my facial hair during chemo. My body hair is growing back slowly. I'm so worried I'm gonna have way more hair than before, and denser to boot. But that is a small price to pay for survival, no? The hair on my head is pretty much back to normal and definitly thicker. Like I needed that! ;)
Last week I looked in the mirror and noticed I had color again. Such a weird feeling. So happy to see it. I usually have some color year round, it's my Sicilian half. But during chemo I was pale white. Dani is of the opinion that I was more Grey than anything. Seeing color in my face just made me feel so healthy, so alive. These little things I notice that make me so happy...............it's just different, you know? It's the little things that you notice after an ordeal. An ordeal I still try to trivialize sometimes............
How Sick Was I?
As I've said before, I didn't "look" unhealthy most of the time. I kept most of my head hair and gained weight during my illness. I went out, partied, and almost always had a smile on my face. Dani did the worrying while I put on the face of defiance, like all I had was a bad cold. Not flu, a bad cold. many people go into "seclusion" while fighting Cancer. I was immunosupressed but dared infections to try. Thank God for her. She still denies her role but she was instrumental in my survival. She's as humble as they come.
Tangent - the "tingling" in my left hand is gone for the most part, accept when I workout. More on that later...
Sooooooooooo, I've tried to get back in shape for 5 weeks now. I didn't think it would be this difficult but I guess that tells me how sick I was. This is more frustrating than anything I've ever encountered. I fooled myself in thinking this was no big deal. Some say it takes the same amount of time to recover as the length of ones fight. That means six months of recovery for me. We'll see about that, dammit!
I decided I would walk/Hike Rock Creek National Park (RCNP) for my recovery effort. It's flat and relatively easy. Nice way to begin, no? i would wear my hiking boots and carry a pack, carefully weighed out, and do it 5 days/week. Wasn't sure of distance but I could keep track of time. I would Start at The P Street Entrance in NorthWest (NW) and head North. That was a 30 minute walk.
I estimated I was doing 2miles/hr through all this.
Week 1 - I walked from P St to Calvert St. That was 30 minutes in RCNP. Plus 30min to get there and 35 minutes to get home. an hour and five minutes. I was carrying about 6lbs. on my back. And it frikken hurt!!!! My feet killed me and my right ankle would swell up like I sprained it. WTF is up with that????
Week 2 - P St. to the National Zoo (Adams Mill Rd entrance). Total time in RCNP=1hr. It was still taking me about 30 minutes there and 30minutes to walk home. So now I was up to 2hours walking eachday. My feet still killed me. I would switch to sandels for my walk home from the Zoo. It helped a little. But still, my feet killed. By the time I got home I could barely walk.
Week 3 - P St. to a little North of Pierce Mill. Total time in RCNP, 1 way= 1.5 hrs. Round trip was @3hours and I was carrying 12lbs. I wasn't doing any better, foot wise. It was frustrating. I wasn't, IMO, pushing myself physically, but my feet and ankles were giving out. This Sucks! Three weeks of recovery and I couldn't push myself physically?????
Targeted for Crime - You think one would be relativly safe in RCNP, eh? But this is the city. One day, the day after grade school was out for summer recess, 3 kids on bikes pass me in the opposite direction about 15 minutes after I start my hike. Five minutes later they come up from behind me and ask me where the Zoo is. I tell them how far North it is and they continue on. I think about it. Young teens. Locals. On bikes. They don't know where the Zoo is? Bullshit. My Spidey senses started to tingle. RCNP foot trail follows the road for the most part. Other parts are isolated. Crime does happen but I wasn't gonna allow paranoia take over. I was wondering if they questioned me as a test to see if I was a local. The only out for me was at Calvert St. The only place for these punks to hit me was just after a foot bridge before Calvert St Entrance/Exit. It was a moderately steep hill where only other people on the trail could see, the road wasn't visible from there but it was a 1 minute "run" from there to get out of the Park. I decided if they weren't there then everything was cool. If they were, I might have to run for it. I pulled my phone out as I crossed the bridge. Coming to the end and starting up the hill I saw the 3 punks. They were "resting".
Two taps of the "talk" key and I was speaking to Dani. I started to tell her, very loudly, were I was and that I would see her in about two minutes. This confused Dani. She was at work. Dani has had to do this before. Call me because a creep was invading her space, either on Metro or while walking in our neighborhood. In all fairness to her, it confused her because I have never had to call her for this type of help. So I continued to talk to her as if she were waiting for me at Calvert St, no matter how much she protested. it didn't matter b/c the punks couldn't hear her. Soon, Dani caught on, just after I passed them. She started to flip out but all was good. I was in visual range of the exit and traffic, and there was a Park policeman within sight. The fuckheads passed me saying "we only have a little ways left for the zoo". For some reson I debated continuing on, knowing there were even more isolated areas ahead. Dani was upset that I would even think about it and I did the smart thing and bailed at Calvert St.
Still, my feet were killing me. The walking wasn't working. I neede something else. Something with low impact. To make a long story short - Dani to the rescue, again. She was able to get me in to her gym free of charge. At least for now. And as long as I show up with her in the Morning.
This may shock those who "used" to know me; I get up around 7AM and head straight for the gym. No coffe in me, no food. Who woulda thunk? NO COFFEE???? I used to not be able to take a shower without coffee!
So now we walk about 20 minutes to her gym, work out, go shopping at Whole Foods, and head home. We work out together on the Elliptical for 40 minutes. It's low impact, working legs, bum, arms. Very nice cardiovascular workout, wears me out and I sweat bullets through it. First week I worked out at Resistence Level 2. Second Week I worked out at Level 4. The last few minutes I go up "2 levels" of resistence. On Friday's I go up 4 levels of resistance. This past Friday I was very pleased to break 4miles in 40 minutes. This week, I'll do level 6. I'm still well above my comfort level for weight but hope to be back down to my pre-cancer weight soon.
The tingling "nerve damage" in my left arm become apparent when I work out. Maybe it will go away. Maybe not. It is, however, no longer a constant prescence. I just want to be my old self again. I don't fit into a majority of my clothes and its gut wrenching. Even though I know it was a 1000 times better to gain weight then to lose weight during my ordeal.......I just want to be myself again. I won't feel like I've totally kicked Cancers Ass until I have my old physique back. Until I can caryy 35-40lbs on my back for 8-12 miles, up 3500ft in a day. Then I will know for sure that I won. I will get there. And until then....