These are Days

these are days

I thought today would be a good day to repost the blog entry I’ve gotten the most comments about from people called Human Nature. As I reread it now it makes me reflect on the few months when I went swimming in the mornings after dropping the kids off to school. I really enjoyed the freedom I had to recover before going back to work full time.

Also, I’m grateful that I can look back and be proud of myself for trying something new that I hadn’t done since I was a teenager. I still love doing laps, and I really should try to squeeze it back into my schedule.

To quote Socrates:

‘The unexamined life is not worth living’

Anyways…Happy Friday!

Human Nature ~ March 5, 2015

Have you watched the show called The Big C? If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer or not, I highly recommend it. The cast is phenomenal with Laura Linny as the protagonist. BRILLIANT.

Okay so I went swimming this morning, and I’ve discovered this is where I have my most cerebral thoughts. For example, as I’m swimming along sometimes I stop at the shallow end to stretch my arms and legs. This is where you get into small talk with strangers. I’m happy for these chats except I can’t stop thinking that I might have a booger on my face. Don’t laugh! It’s true. Snot happens – especially in pool situations. They should install underwater mirrors at the end of the lanes so you could do a quick spot check before emerging from the water. Maybe I’ll write an email to the city today so they can incorporate this in future planning?

This swimming thing is a great exercise for post mastectomy. After surgery it takes a long time (over six months) to bring a shirt over your head. My left arm and armpit area have still not fully healed. I had to buy a few loose front button and zipper tops…it is a long recovery process…oh and so much fun. Oh and wait till I fill your cup up with exciting chemo stories…peeling finger nails and face rashes. Oh it’s gripping so run and get the popcorn…

All of my treatments had a 4 week break in between each one; surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and hormonal therapy. Since I couldn’t swim while doing chemo because of the PICC line inserted in my arm, I started to run (walk mostly) at the gym. Exercise was suggested by my medical oncologist. He encourages his patients to try and stay active in between chemo treatments as this is supposed to help minimize side effects – nausea, fatigue, weight gain. Yes you CAN gain weight on chemo thanks to steroids – just one of the myriad of drugs I had to take….

Anyway, if you don’t know what a PICC line is, Google it…basically, it’s a needle in your arm with a tiny rubber tube that when its inserted shoots out in your vain and sits on top of your heart, I’d say about 10-15 inches long. They take a chest x-ray prior to the insertion and afterward to ensure it doesn’t end up in the wrong area. The nice lady who inserted this wonderful thingy in my body explained it to me like this:

Nurse: ‘they use this device now so that they’re not poking a new vain each time you need bloodwork and chemo for the next six months’

Me: ‘really that’s great!’

Nurse: ‘picture instead of the chemo (poison) meds funnelling through a small vain in your arm, it can now travel directly to the large vein that gets dumped on top of your heart, sort of like its being dumped from a large bucket vs a small straw’

Me: ‘swell’

Nurse: ‘do you want to see it on the x-ray’

Me: ‘yes, of course, this is super fascinating’

Nurse: ‘great come have a look’

Well, I couldn’t belief my eyes, good thing I’m not queasy – I saw the tube as described from entry point to exactly where she said it would be pointing downward near my heart, so gross and cool at the same time. I’m fascinated by medicine and bodies. So seeing all of this lit up on a screen was awesome and nauseating all at once. Most people would have passed out!

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