Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Regimen Change

I'm feeling a little low today, a little tired, a little pensive. I've been in high gear recently—the new budgeting (yay for free mint.com!), the excitement of New Plans, the days, newly longer than the nights (although very, very wet— I heard this morning that we need only 1 ½ inches more rain to beat the wettest March on record, and that there is a big storm coming in to grant our wishes—if our wishes are to drown simply standing outside, not even face down in a mud puddle)—and my level of frenetic activity has been unsustainably high.

Part of the problem has been that a lot of the frenetic activity has taken place inside my head, and much of that after 11:00pm when I've gone to bed and should be enjoying, as Bertie Wooster would say, my "eight hours of the dreamless." Coupling high-speed, buzzing thought with the three snoring males I share my room with is too much for me, though, and lately I've been finding myself pottering about the kitchen making midnight snacks of graham crackers and milk and doing crossword puzzles in the guest bed. I don't always stay all night in the guest bed, but one night when I did, Ian got out of our bed the next morning and didn't notice that I wasn't there. He was very careful and quiet when he got up (he told me later), as he usually is, shushing the dogs and trying to keep them (Hoover in particular) from ripping through the walls in their avidity for morning mealtime, and it struck him as odd as he carefully shut the bedroom door, that the dogs paraded into and out of the guest room several times on their way to and from breakfast. Once he'd had his coffee, he figured it out (probably before that. I don't know. I was asleep in the guest bed). In Ian's defense for not immediately noticing the absence of a loving and heat-producing wife, I had left my pillow; our bed cover is a lofty and warm down comforter; I am, of course, as lithe and slender as a young willow; and Ian is a first-class sleeper.

Anyway, many days it doesn't matter if I don't get to sleep until 1:00am or 2:00am, but on Sunday I had my 8-hour Adult/Child/Infant CPR and First Aid certificate class at the Red Cross (I passed. You may have a heart attack in my presence and I will correctly perform CPR. Please do not embed broken glass in your wrist as I will pass out into the remainder of the shards.) and I had to get up at 7, and today I had my regular brain MRI and I had to be at the hospital at 8:30. These early hours, I don't like them. Even if the sun is up (or, the clouds are gray rather than black), my body has clearly put itself on a different schedule.

My MRI was relatively stable—there is still only one apparently active spot in my brain, deep in the cerebellum, and if you look at it every two months, it's hard to tell if it's growing at all. It is possible, of course, to compare today's picture with the one taken last June when the spot was first noticed, and then the growth is visible, but Dr Jason is happy to continue the MRI-at-2-to-2 ½ -months schedule that I've been on this past year and not do anything more drastic (i.e. another Gamma Knife procedure) for the time being.

I also learned that my tumor markers are on the rise again. For the main marker that I'm used to, the 0-37 one, I went from 33 to 39. Yep, out of range. For the other one, I'm still within normal range, but higher than I have been in months and months. But (and here is the regimen change), when I met with Dr Specht 10 days ago, I told her I wanted to start taking the Paw Paw Cell Reg supplement that Witch Doctor Dan recommended. Paw Paw is a fruiting tree that grows in the southeastern US, and it is, evidently, known for its cancer suppressing abilities (much like the yew, which is used to make Taxol, a popular chemo drug that I've been on). I have complicated feelings about deciding to begin yet another supplement.

One: I somehow knew that it was time to try something more, and I was right. Yay!

Two: I somehow knew that it was time to try something more, and I was right. SUCK.

And so, I'm feeling a little low today, a little tired, a little pensive. Not enough sleep followed by mixed news that I've learned to expect, learned to live with, learned to live well with. I met my rock climbing buddy after my appointment today, and my palms and fingers are, as I've been typing this, stiff and abraded and hot and a little clumsy.

But somehow, though I'm not even aware I'm doing it, I haven't yet learned how not to hope for a clean slate. How not to value total, unimpeachable (impossible) health above all else. And so today, in my peerless, beautiful, rich, somewhat implausible life, I'm feeling a little let down.

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