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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Day 15

I am so glad that I decided fifteen days ago to begin another push towards physical rehabilitation. I would hate to be starting once again with resolve centered around a new year because, if I do that, I would have to think about last year's resolve. I am literally focused on a day at a time and I've made it to day 15 having walk/jogged 11 out of those 15 days and if I make myself push off this morning it will be 12 out of those 15 days. My eye is on the weather and with rain in the forecast for tomorrow and the next day, I may try to do my route today. Not going to worry though if I don't because today will be the third day in a row of walk/ jogging 2 and a half miles and I'm dragging a bit. Besides the fact that I've been able to maintain a regular walk/jogging routine for two weeks, I am encouraged that I've picked up the pace. I've shaved three minutes off of the first mile, two off the second one and one minute off the last half mile. At one level it's probably a mistake to pay so much attention to distance and speed. It's not like I'm running a race or rather walking a race which is what my speed is like. I've never run a race since junior high school which is when I started smoking. Almost immediately after starting to smoke I had chronic problems, not only with a reduction in breathing capacity but also with sinus headaches and chronic bronchitis. Instead of realizing that meant I couldn't smoke, I dropped off the junior high school track team. It wasn't even like it was easy for me to smoke. I had to sneak around and until I was through high school I couldn't smoke around my parents. By the time I was 18, I wanted to stop smoking but by then was totally hooked. It took another 25 years before I was able to stop although I rarely smoked when pregnant and nursing. Almost immediately after I stopped smoking I stopped having sinus headaches, bronchitis and breathing issues. Within a few years of stopping smoking I was able to jog and eventually run again. I only had about a year of being able to run before my melanoma dx but the muscle memory from running 5 to 6 miles most mornings had been sufficient for me to pretty quickly get back to jogging a couple of miles and walking the rest once the drain came out after my groin LND. It's been a struggle since then. No whine just the facts. Given my prognosis going in, with the pathologist favoring the lesion as metastatic, and the good news being that it ended up likely to be a deep primary with the only spread being to the sentinel node, I have been lucky as all get out. However, it has been hard for me to give up something that made me feel so good. Running gave me an endorphin rush that made the whole day brighter. I listened to music more. I danced around my house. I was optimistic about the rest of my life. That's what I've been struggling to regain since my groin LND. The reason I think endorphins are the issue is because when I get well enough to push again, I start to get some of that back. However, in order to get that elevated mood from endorphins, I have to push a little bit past my outer limits and the trick is to do that without having a set back which lands me back to limping around the block. Perhaps an even bigger problem than limping around the block is how I end up with new and different symptoms and that starts me back to worrying about some kind of recurrence. I'm pretty much over that at this point. Unless I end up in an ER situation, I'm not pushing anymore for answers no matter what happens. I'm going to assume any set backs are just that, set backs, not recurrences. In a few weeks I get the blood work repeated at my rheumatologist's office (vit D and CRP). I have a full body PET/CT scan that my medical ONC set up for me in early March. I see my DERM in early March. I see the Rheumatologist in early March. I see the NP at my surgical ONCs in late March. I see the pain doc in April. I see the medical ONC in June. Those are all routine follow up types of appointments, blood work and scans. I guess my point is that if I have new and changing issues as I have in the past, I can assume they relate to my continuing rehab efforts and know that if I'm wrong there are a lot of smart people approaching it from a lot of different angles who will carry out additional diagnostics if something is funky. Perhaps my new year's resolve is going to revolve around letting go. Letting go is not the same as giving up. I am not giving up anything, not a single thing that matters to me. I am letting go of my efforts to figure out things I'll never figure out. February 3, 2007 will mark 2 years since my melanoma lesion, which was at least 6.9 mm deep, was removed with a shave biopsy. The subsequent WLE removed another 2.8 mm of residual dermal melanoma and I had one node which was positive for microscopic amounts of metastatic melanoma. I am trying very hard to believe that I am done with melanoma for good. Perhaps if I tell myself that I am done with it enough times, I will believe it.

2 comments:

sue said...

Believe it..you are done with mm. congratulations on the physical progress with walking/jogging. I promised myself to get on the bike everyday for at least 1 month and see if I feel good enough to go another month. I am so undisciplined anymore that this is a real test and task for me. If you can do it, I can do it. See what an inspiration you are to so many others. Keep going just like the energizer bunny! sue

Heather said...

Carver,

I like your idea of taking it day by day for a certain amount of time. I always feel like if I make my goals too much in advance, they become daunting and I often end up not carrying things through because of that.

You have inspired me today, I have scans this evening and need some physical distraction. Once Jamie goes to sleep this afternoon, I'm starting back on my little walk in the woods thing. The exercise will do me good and so will the peacefulness of being out there.

I think that thinking/hoping/believing you're done with mel is perfectly reasonable. And I think getting to that point takes time, which is hard - especially when there have been other issues that could have been mel messing up the works.

I sincerely hope that you are and am sending tons of positive vibes that this is so.

Kudos to you on your physcial progress, I know how much effort it takes to drag yourself back from something like this. You deserve a huge congratulations! You're doing it!

If that's not inspiring, then I don't know what is. :)

Wishing you much love and thinking of you out walking right now on this gorgeous morning!

Heather