Recovery’s Long Tail

After a pause of nearly four months since my last Cancer post, my really good news is that I am still cancer-free, and all continues to go according to plan. The sad and somewhat frustrating news is that that plan changed a little bit, and my treatment is going to last eight weeks longer than expected. This is fortunately due to an administrative error rather than a change in my health: the clinical study, upon which my treatment is based, has a tricky bit of wording which led both my doctor and me to think that it only included three eight-week cycles of arsenic trioxide and ATRA. When the doc reviewed the study last week sometime he realized that it actually prescribes four cycles, and he adjusted my course accordingly.

According to the original plan, today would have been my last infusion. I found out on Monday (9/4) that I will instead have one more round of eight weeks, spanning from early October to early November. Sigh. I had very much been looking forward to being done, and to finally building my strength and energy back toward something approaching normal. Instead I get a fresh opportunity to practice patience and positive thinking in the face of sudden change. I suppose that’s also a good thing to have.

Since my last post, the entire summer has flown by in a flash. My medical leave formally ended in late June, meaning I returned to working at least twenty hours per week. During weeks without chemo I have worked close to a full-time forty hours; during chemo weeks it has been much closer to twenty. Between sleeping, working, family time, and getting infusions, I have found very little energy for anything else such as social interactions or outings. I tried to push through the fatigue a few times, and quickly fell ill (strep throat in summer!) and then lost out on a few days completely. Ergo: no pushing myself. I still yield to my body, for the most part, when it demands rest. Which is a lot. Days and weeks tend to just flow by, and I don’t get out as much on Facebook, Twitter, or real life as I did in spring.

Bright spots in my recent months included bike rides with the kids, beach time with family, catching up with remote colleagues at the Agile2017 conference, and learning to sail in June. We might even be on the verge of buying a small, used sailboat this month! Because today’s arsenic infusion was the last before a four-week break, I do look forward to having a bit more energy for the next month or so.

Another fun note: today marks eleven years since Tricia and I were married. Eleven years of awesome! 🙂

Still I wait eagerly for the time when I can feel only the normal levels of being tired, and when I can begin to build up some level of fitness again. Just as it was eight weeks ago, that time is now eight weeks away.


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