Saturday, August 16, 2008

What a Difference a Year Makes

I had two big events to celebrate this week.

Wednesday was my one year anniversary of my last chemo treatment. By this time last year, I was exhausted, bald, scared out of my wits, ten pounds lighter, plagued by hot flashes and seriously sleep deprived.

To celebrate this important anniversay, I had lunch with a good friend who just so happens to also be a survivor. We went to an all you can eat sushi buffet. And we ate until we were both in pain. Ah - that glorious engorged tick feeling! And I spent the whole day relishing how good I felt. I thought about all the good people and things that have come into my life in the last year. And of course, I hugged my kids a little longer and a little tighter that evening when I came home.

In some ways, I can't believe a whole year has passed, and in other ways, it feels like all that misery was a very long time ago.

Thursday brought another reason to celebrate - I was offered a new job. I applied for the position in March, and it has been a long process to get to this offer. But I got it! I'll start in a couple of weeks. It is a huge promotion and I am so excited about the whole thing. I'm excited about the new team I'll be working with, I'm excited about all my new responsiblities, and I'm excited to work for my new boss. Over the past few weeks, as I have had a chance to get to know her better, she has said and done some things that really impressed me. For me this is the best of both worlds - I get a whole new job but I still get to stay at the same great company.

I am proud of myself for applying for and getting the position; I am proud of my company for promoting from within and I am so very grateful to all the people who supported me and recommended me. During the interview process, I had to meet with a number of stakeholders and it was such a positive experience. It should have probably been scary, but it wasn't. I enjoyed every minute of it. Everyone was so enthusiastic and said so many great things about my work and the contributions that I've made.

And this promotion is only made sweeter by the contrast to where I was this time last year.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Back From Canada and knees

We are back from a family reunion in Canada. The little town that both my parents come from is a bit hard to get to, so the travel days were long and the first one was especially frustrating since we missed a connecting flight, had an unexpected 10 hour lay over and got finally into town at 1 a.m. to discover that they had given away our rental car. It all worked out in the end and I had a great time seeing every one. We were only there for three days, but we managed to see both sides of the family. It was hard to leave.

When I got back, things were a whirlwind. I had to get both sons to their schools to pay their fees and pick up their schedules. They start next Wednesday and they are both at different schools. My youngest is at a new school now since he is in the sixth grade, so we have some learning and adjusting to do there. Then I took a sick day and crammed in as many doctors appointments as I could. Eyes for all of us. So our eyes were dialated. Ordered new glasses and lenses for the boys. I held off on mine. I need to choose new frames and I was in too much of a hurry to get to my next appointment to do any looking right then.

I dropped everybody else off at home and headed off to see an orthopedic doctor for my knees. I've had crunchy knees for about a decade now, but they have become much worse in the last few months. I suspect both chemo and tamoxifen are playing a part in that. When it became very difficult to climb steps and I found out that I could not longer squat or do lunges, I decided it was finally time to look into it. I have osteo arthritis in my knee caps.

I like a couple of the treatments. On Monday I go back for a single physical therapy session where they will give me a list of dos and don'ts and teach me an exercise routine that I can do on my own. I will also get fitted for orthotics for my gym shoes, turns out that I suppinate slightly and the inserts will help to line my knees up properly. The next options I don't like so much. I let them give me cortisone injections in both knees. They said side effects would be minimal. Wrong. By that evening, I could barely walk. My knees were so swollen and stiff that I could not bend them. And they were painful up to mid thigh - very painful. They were a bit better the next day, at least I could walk, but they still hurt and were very swollen. I wore a long skirt to work to hide them.

Today they are still sore, but the swelling is way down and I think I will be able to dance tonight. At least I hope so. I also have prescription strength Aleve. I'm supposed to take one every 12 hours, being stubborn about such things, I'm taking one every 24. They also want me to consider lubricant injections directly into my knees. I don't know about that. I think I will give the inserts and the exercises a while to work before I consider any more injections.

Then I rushed from that appointment to my annual OB exam. I was more than tired of being messed with by the time I saw her as you can imagine.