I'll start the 2011 blogging year off right, with a timely picture of last night's fireworks and a punctual update. Anyone following along has probably been scratching his or her head, wondering aloud to an empty room, "Is he done? Did he get a clear bill of health and lose his Blogspot password all in one swoop? Where are the words? Where are the pictures?" Indeed, I think I promised some weeks ago that I would provide further details on the remission, and I will get into that a bit below. But first, a word of warning about the likely direction these posts will take. I started this blog as a way of keeping disparate groups of friends and family up to date on the rigors of chemo, but that is a topic I am hoping to put to bed. Time will tell how long it sleeps. But because I had fun typing, I will likely continue to post on a(n) (ir)regular basis. However, topics will likely skew heavily towards mundane reporting on trips C and I take, description in great detail of how my legs felt on a recent run, and the continuing inventorying of our fridge contents. We’ll see if readership falls off a cliff. Continue to check in at your own peril.
Life in Remission
I noted in the last post that the good Doctor declared my body cancer-free. That turned into a good day, with a psychological load I did not know I was carrying lifted. Of course, I described in the very first post that NHL is a chronic disease, so this isn’t the end of the road, and the next two years will still be filled with doctor appointments, diagnostic scanning, and multiple infusions of one drug (Rituxin). But unless a future scan shows something irregular, the heavy lifting is over. Rituxin should not have any side effects, and I intend on spending 2011 forgetting everything I ever learned about NHL.
So where does this leave us? What did I learn? How have I changed? Everyone has probably read someone’s account of cancer (or other hardship) that wraps up neatly with the declaration that “I decided life is too short to waste on the unimportant things!” The author then typically packs his bags and opens a surf school in the South Pacific, buys a herd of goats and moves to a farm up state, or starts a non-profit dedicated to helping the poor, hungry, and infirm. I remember when I first started researching NHL, reading someone’s online account of chemo and recovery. Her story included a leave of absence from a law firm and subsequent calls from her employer, gently inquiring, “When are you coming back to work.” Of course, as anyone could predict from the outset, she had determined that “life is too short.” I don’t remember if she invested in goats or started hand carving skis from organically grown bamboo, but suffice to say she did not return to her earlier life as a lawyer.
Unfortunately, I’m too short-sighted or unimaginative to take that left turn. Did cancer teach me that I would rather be doing something other than lawyering every day? No. I knew that before this all started. Given the choice, I would rather practice guitar, travel, read, exercise, cook, eat. How about biking across the northern and southern tiers of the U.S.? Comparing the mountain huts of the Alps to those in the Dolomites? Apprenticing at a cheese shop? Yea, any of those will do. But cancer has taught me that I really need health insurance. Cancer is expensive. Until I figure out a way to hustle a living doing any of the above that can keep C and I in the good graces of a monthly insurance premium, it looks like I’ll keep working. What a drag.
Off hoursBut the off hours will still be fun. We have lots of ideas for 2011. We’ll see what we make happen. In the meantime, here are some pictures depicting cancer free living.
That distant figure in snowy landscape is C, preparing for a winter triathlon (run, bike, ski). It was a gorgeous day out in the trails. To any bike geeks, C is running Snow Cat rims we borrowed from Mr. T. I rented a Pugsly for the day:
The fat tires add significant flotation and open up whole realms of winter biking that were previously shut tight. If we had the space, I suspect C and I would add two to the existing bike collection.
Just another shot of C and her bike.
We also spent a day on skis at the local lift-served resort. It was a gorgeous, clear, and cold day. This is the only picture we got (of sis-in-law M, who joined us for the holidays) before the camera battery took a dive.
C and M, on a day after Christmas hike. It was another pretty day.
Now, go forth and enjoy the new year.