DIEP Recovery, Day 34: Recurrence Scan and a New Family Member!
I'll go ahead and call this the end of my "DIEP Recovery." I don't exactly feel normal – my stomach is partially numb, I'm afraid to stretch, and I don't recognize my own belly button – but I've resumed normal activities except for swimming (you have to be at least 6 weeks out) and exercise (I'm lazy). My Peloton report congratulated me on completing two spin classes in June, both of which were 5-minute warm-ups that Julia did while wearing my giant spin shoes. Does putting away the groceries count as exercise?
The medical supply company came and took away the lift recliner, so now I'm sleeping in bed with extra pillows under my head and knees. I'm not supposed to sleep on my side for another couple months. I can't wait until I'm able to sleep on my stomach again, sprawled out as much as possible so as to annoy Jeff.
My mom left this morning to go back to Florida. For the next week, messes will pile up and the kids won't have anyone to play with, and we'll all keep yelling "Graaaaaaaammy!" before we remember that she's gone. At least I sent her home with some beginner cooking skills. I taught her that a shallot is different from a yellow onion and that "garbanzo bean" is a moniker for chickpea; I even had her make whipped cream from scratch!
Last week, I braved the coronavirus spike in order to get a couple scans before seeing my oncologist today. I showed up for a CT scan to check for recurrence, and the technician mangled my arm trying to get an IV placed. I eventually gave up and left. Apparently my veins are "weird." (That must be the clinical term.) One guy accused my veins of "running away." Um, of course they do! They're traumatized from chemo. I went back a few days later and was finally able to get my scan. The technician greeted me and started checking my clothing for metal and I said, "Don't bother, lady. I'm a pro at this. I have an entire section of my closet designated for metal-free clothing."
It was worth it in the end, because my oncologist's nurse called me on Friday at 4:55pm and left me a voicemail that said, "Just wanted to let you know it'll be good news on Monday. Enjoy your weekend!" Woo-hoo! Made it through another recurrence scan unscathed. My next one will be in six months.
Today, I got to see my oncologist face-to-face. An actual human being outside of my family! And it was good news, except for a 5% decrease in my bone density since last year, but that's to be expected without estrogen. I'm upping my dose of calcium and vitamin D. If I fall below the normal range, there are intravenous treatments available.
The only interesting part of the appointment was when Texas Oncology made me remove my N-95 because it may not protect others. I had to switch to a regular cloth mask. I’ve been wearing an old N-95 that Jeff had whenever I go inside a building. Oops.
So it's been 122 days since either of my kids have been to school or had a playdate or any organized activity, and the other night I threw up my hands and said, "I'm done! Take your iPads to your rooms and I'll see you in December!" I may have gotten so mad at Julia that I knocked over her tent. Not my finest parenting moment.
The next day, I brought home a hamster. (Compensating much?) We always said no pets, but after cancer and a pandemic, we need something to be happy about, so I filled out an adoption form with an ethical breeder. Our hamster's name is Sandstorm Fuzznugget, and the kids adore her. (Jeff is just praying that he's not allergic.)
Hamsters are nocturnal, so after the kids go to bed, I sit by her cage with a glass of wine, and she lets me vent about my family in exchange for vegetables. I watch her run around her cage, repeating the same five activities with no escape, and I feel truly connected to her. "I get it, Sandy. That wheel is a metaphor for life!" At least humans can eat chocolate. That's something.