Thursday, May 28, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend Last Year

I started this entry a couple days ago—that is, I wrote the title, saved it, and haven't had a chance to get back to it until now. The gist of it was going to be that last year Memorial Day Weekend I spent 10 minutes every morning getting my whole brain irradiated, among other things. I have, because it turns out I'm not, at heart, a tidy person, left my mask on the floor of my study since I brought it home. One year ago.

Also one year ago, I didn't have the breath or the energy to walk very far at all—my girlfriends were all in town, and we took the boat over to Luther Burbank Park on Mercer Island, and I was winded and spent by the time we reached shore. This year, we took L&S and our two dogs to Luther Burbank, and I was able to ramble all over the park, up hills and down, with no effort.

Last year, we girls all had breakfast one morning at Voula's, and my friend A (a Brooklynite), commented that she wished she'd known how close it was—she would've walked. It was less than a mile, and there's no way I could've made it. This year, I wanted sushi Sunday evening, and I wanted a walk, and when our local place turned out to be closed, never mind what they published on their website, I decided to walk to a different place in Fremont, a half-mile further.

Basically, night and day.

Today I got some information that made me pause and worry, questioning the evidence of my senses, the fast-coming, overlapping, vibrant nows that I've been experiencing. Speed boating with tropical drinks (turns out a "staycation" with the Taylors is like a trip to paradise), hikes in verdant greenspaces with two (almost always) awesome dogs, a trip to the spa with my mother and full-body scrubs to release all my little hairs, and yesterday, jumping again in my riding lesson. I tell you, it was awesome. A year and a half of staying on the ground and practicing simple riding technique, and building my strength, really made the jumping easy. Basically, I feel GREAT.

But, my tumor marker score, which has been steadily dropping for the last year, went up last week. Not by much, just one point. But it was 49, and now it's 50. And 49 feels disproportionately closer to 37 than 50 does.

Even I, the patient, the one expected to panic about rising numbers, realize that one point isn't very much (even while I feel disappointed that it didn't go down, and tired of the whole cancer thing). And fortunately, I live with a husband who does stock assessments for a living, of populations that cannot be counted outright—that must be sampled. The tumor marker test is also, more or less, measuring a sample, and the fact that there is a 37 point range even within "normal" means something. And my marker, when it was being sampled regularly several years ago, showed up to a 7 point range in scores. Granted, that's when my population was a subset of the normal boundaries, rather than an abundance.

At any rate, before I get too mired in probably erroneous statistical concepts that I have no right or education to present, I will just say this: one point up is not remotely enough evidence.

Tomorrow we head back to Austin—me to help paint the new home of our friends there, and Ian to dork out on the couch with J, and all of us to eat a lot of barbeque and drink Pimms. And I am going to spend all my moments there.

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