Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Week in Review 10-19-2008

Summary of this week: OK so it's been two weeks...

  • We're 19 weeks past the partial resection of my brain tumor
  • We're 2 weeks past the last radiation treatment
Medically - I was able to avoid a major outbreak of bronchitis/sinus infection by taking things easy and heavily medicating. It did bring me down some but I'm happy to say that right now I feel pretty good.

We are still two weeks away from my visit with the Radiation Oncologist and a month or so away from the MRI follow-up. I am guessing that will be scheduled when I see him on the 30th. So, there is no news to report on the brain cancer front.

Even though radiation is finished, I am still suffering medically from the side-effects. It seems I've got to be a trouble-maker and have things show up after it is all finished. The worst effects I am having is that I am STILL losing hair by the handfuls, I have developed a rash on my forehead and the front part of my scalp, and my scalp is peeling like crazy. At least two of the things have logical explanations but the rash still concerns me. Luckily, it has slowed down since I started putting hydrocortisone cream on it but it's still frustrating.

Emotionally - This was a tough week for me emotionally. I struggled hard with my feelings and emotions thanks to the emergence/continuance of the side-effects mentioned above. I was under the impression that most of these would disappear within a few days of the end of radiation. The only thing I KNEW would continue was the fatigue. Needless to say, this information weighed heavily on me because I was really looking forward to starting the recovery process. On top of dealing with that emotionally, JJ has decided to have full teen attitude (even though he is only a pre-teen) all week and with John working a later schedule, I was left to deal with most of it. I broke down more than once over the week and at least once it was out of anger. (I'm not a real emotional type but I have a bad tendency to cry when I get really angry and unfortunately that makes me even more angry. It's a curse but luckily... at least prior to surgery... I don't get angry much.)

However, with that being said, I was able to truly rise above all of it on Saturday. I had forgotten how much I rely heavily on dancing and my dance friends to work off excess emotions on the dance floor. I was able to return there Saturday night and I feel like a new person today. :)

Mentally - Rather than repeat the things that continue to be the obvious signs of what I have been through, I am going to go down a slightly different avenue. One of the things that I have noticed and has been confirmed by several around me is that my temper is no longer of the "very cool" type. I used to not let things bother me and be able to rationally approach things but since surgery that has made almost a complete 180. I snap off quite readily at things that agitate me and most of them never bothered me before. I seem to get angry much easier and I have yelled more in the past few months than I have in my entire life. My patience is also very thin in comparison. It used to be known that I was a very patient person and thus why I was so good at my job. That patience can no longer be pushed quite as far. Now I am not saying that I know this is a permanent change caused by the removal of my tumor but it is something that's changed since. It could be stress, fatigue, or just being overwhelmed rather than a physical something. I guess only time will tell.

Honestly, though, if this is physical and therefore permanent, I still ended up being very lucky for as of now it is the only thing that has been obviously affected.

Physically - I'm tired a lot, I get fatigued pretty easily, my scalp is peeling like a sunburn, my forehead itches like mad from the rash, I have a spot in the back of my head that hurts like a fresh burn, and my ears have the feeling of an inner ear infection without the pain. (You know that "you are in a tunnel" feel.) Other than that, I am feeling pretty good. My strength is increasing nicely but my energy level is still very low. I would rank my strength up in the 70% category and my energy in the 20% category. However, all the same, I'm seeing progress slow but sure and that's what I need right now. With any luck, by the first of November, I'll be up in the 80s on both categories.

Family/Work/Play - As already stated, JJ has been a bear the past week. I think part of it is just pushing his boundaries but some of it is just butting heads with us because he knows he'll get us ticked off. He's WAY too much like his father in so many ways but he has my stubborness and that really makes it rough. (Not that his father has a lot of bad traits but I think JJ got all of them!!!) He has now found himself grounded from TV and video games until further notice. He has basically been told that he has to prove he can stop being a brat before he can get any of it back. We'll see if it works or not.

John put in 45 hours of overtime on his last paycheck so he is still a busy boy. This week was a bit slower thanks to some rain but even then it has still been a lot of hours. I can't wait for harvest to be over but it looks like it will probably still be weeks.

We went to a square dance last night and had a great time. I went in hoping to dance a single dance and get over my "over my head" phobia. Our local caller was doing the calling so that was a good thing. I'm familiar with him just as he is with my story so it was the perfect time to make a come-back. We also had a small crowd with primary experienced dancers so I didn't have to go scoping out "the perfect square". That first tip was AWESOME!!! I think our caller was trying to test me during the patter though. (Patter is the first part of each tip or dance where they run through several calls and sort of test to make sure that all the calls are known that will be in the singing call or second half.) The other square was having some difficulty with one of the calls and we did it around six times or so until they got it. Needless to say, it was a long patter. I did feel it in the singing call and by the third partner I was looking for John and the end. (During a singing call you will switch partners throughout the song until you get back to your original partner) Anyway, I sat down exhausted after that one but was able to get a nice long break in there while we ate pizza and sat out a dance and watched some round dancing. One of the couples that was there left so we had exactly enough for two squares if John and I tried again. I decided to give it a shot. We ended up dancing three tips and it really felt good. It's amazing how good it feels to get out there with friends and enjoy yourself. You can forget everything that is going on and just have a good time. (Besides, you don't have time to think about anything else.) Anyway, I want to thank everyone that was there last night for being patient with me and helping me get my swing back. :)

With any luck you'll be seeing us out on the dance floor more often as the weeks move along. I'm still leary of dancing to anyone but Ron because I am most familiar with him but I know I will overcome that soon enough.

I did pretty good last week at work. I ended up doing 4 hours on Monday, and 8 on Tuesday and Wednesday. I wasn't near as exhausted on Thursday as I thought I would be so maybe I will survive this week with a full-time schedule. We'll see how it works out. I know my boss will work with me if it's too much.

I think that about wraps things up. I probably won't post another update until after my appointment on the 30th. However, I do have some ideas for some posts on my blog so you might want to keep your eyes open on there. I just have to get my tail moving on that along with some other things I've been procrastinating.

Love ya all. Huggles

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