I suppose I've had a post-treatment aversion to updating the blog. Perhaps aversion is the wrong word. Its really more of an out of sight, out of mind phenomenon. Hey, treatment is over! Nothing to see here, people. Just keep moving.
I also feel like I'm holding a basket of eggs and wondering how many chickens I've got. In prior posts, I've commented on the fact that tumors previously obvious to the touch have long since disappeared, and that the doctor overseeing this whole health fiasco has every confidence that the R-CHOP regiment behaved predictably and did its job in an honorable and workman like manner. Nevertheless, as also previously noted, I have a PET scan scheduled in about five days. That will give us the internal picture and really be the driver to declaring a full-, partial-, or non-remission. After meeting with the doctor on the 7th, we'll all know a bit more.
In the meantime, I am now officially in the longest chemo-free stretch of days that my body has enjoyed since July. In general, I feel good, but I have a lot of strength and aerobic capacity to rebuild. I really have no idea how long that might take. I've been diligently going to the chemo-rehab classes... and pushing past the prescribed heart rate zone. The nurses crease their brows, toss me questions about how I feel and how I've been responding to the exercise, and then give me a pass so long as I don't get hit with sudden fatigue or find myself catching colds (both signs that I've pushed my body too hard and it has given up the ghost). Even so, I find myself on the tread mill shuffling along at 13+ minute/miles. [If I stayed in the prescribed heart-rate zone, I'd be going at a fast walk instead of a slow run.] Outside of the gym, I tend to run at between an 11 and 12 minute/mile pace. My goal for last summer was to run a fast (for me) half-marathon, something in the 7 to 7.5 minute/mile range. Clearly, that goal has been pushed back until next summer or later. I'll just have to see how the winter goes and how my body responds.
To anyone curious about the Anchorage weather, you will be glad to know that Thanksgiving brought fresh snow, badly needed following a week of warmer weather and freezing rain. The ski trails are skiable once again. I went out on Friday, and again today. If you have never had the pleasure of skate-skiing, it is a ton of fun and a ton of pain. It is an activity that takes both technique and fitness, the more of both the better. My technique is only passable and, as I have already complained about for a full paragraph, my fitness is not what it used to be. That makes for some short skis, replete with frequent stops, my body hunched over poles for support and chest heaving (heart rate be damned!). But both days brought low-angled sun, trees draped with snow, and good conditions. It is beautiful to be out, and given the choice between the chemo-chair and an out-of-shape ski, I will take the later.
As an update to my international call of arms, I am disappointed to report that it now appears that the Google/Blogspot statistical tools only reports the top 10 countries from which my page has had hits. I see we have added Malaysia and Georgia, and I would of course like to welcome them to the fold. Are there others outside of the top 10? Who knows? Switzerland dropped off the list, so I know there is at least one country no longer represented on the statistics tools. Its one page view could not sustain it with such fierce competition from eastern Europe and Asia. Interestingly, the biggest gains in viewership have been in Russia, now fourth behind the U.S., Canada, and France. How many of these people got here by accident? How many were seeking information about cancer? How many page views are simply the result of programs scanning pages for e-mail addresses in order to generate spam? I may never know.
Enjoy the transition to December.