(Originally published July 1, 2022)
We are now firmly settled into "the Oasis." This week's lab results and oncology appointment resulted in one happy oncologist and a big sigh of relief from my partner.
The lymph nodes and spleen are no longer swollen and the labs are staying at or near normal. The white blood cell count is a bit low. Expected and not alarming - it just means that I need to be a bit more diligent about masking, hand washing, and staying away from big crowds.
I am still marking up easily. Shots = red dots at the location of the shot. The dog lightly scratched my hand trying to wake me up on Tuesday and I still have marks. My legs look like I have a chigger infestation. Bruises tend to last a bit longer. If my only problems are cosmetic - I can totally live with that.
I'm still getting used to being "fragile." Considering how sick I was a few months ago, the fact that I'm moving around and exploring the world again is a miracle. If I hadn't "failed" chemo, I'd be about midway through that process, bald, feeling lousy, and not in a position to do much of anything. So grateful that I have to "be careful" vs being in bed.
Since I'm in the Oasis, my priority is to rebuild my strength.
I've been slowly increasing my walking stamina. Earlier this week, I managed to walk the 3 miles round trip to and from the local hospital for my recent set of blood draws. My next benchmark is to walk 3 miles with no breaks. My workout partner (my dog) seems to have mixed feelings about this program. It took some cajoling to get her out the door this morning.
I've also managed to get my yoga practice back to where it was before this mess started - save for a bit of slop in my plank push-up. No stupid human tricks or pretzel poses or hot power ashtanga speed flow series whatever. Just a consistent daily 20-30 minute practice.
2 YouTube teachers have helped me through this process:
- Yoga Ranger Studios - Aprille Walker specializes in Restorative and Yin yoga. I use her videos when I'm low on energy but still feel that I need to practice. Aprille encourages movement between yin poses, which I find helps me more than the traditional stillness between each extended hold. She is of the "soothing voice" school of yoga teachers.
- Yoga with Adrienne, specifically any of her 30-day series - Adrienne's 30-day yoga journeys, in my opinion, are some of the best sequenced on YouTube - both within the session itself and for the entire month. She has impeccable cueing. I am never left staring at the screen wondering what she is talking about or how she got in that position. Adrienne's popularity is well-earned. I linked to my favorite 30-day yoga series.
I was working on a yoga teacher training certification at the time of diagnosis, so I also do some of my own moving around when I don't feel like being guided.
When the medication stops working, I want to be as fit as possible for the next phase. Maybe not Crossfit Triathlete Powerlifter fit - the osteoarthritis in my low back won't let me go there. I just want to maintain as much energy and independence as possible through any treatments that are part of this journey.
I'm just grateful that this current line of treatment is working well enough for me to get some quality months before I have to go in for another intensive therapy.