Hi! Sorry it’s been a little while since the last entry, but 1, not much has been happening on the battlefront and 2, looking at a computer gives me a headache.
First off, let me say that my eye looks a LOT better this week. As one friend exclaimed upon seeing me, “Jen! You look normal!” Thank you. I don’t know that I’ve ever been called normal, so that’s cool. It’s still very obvious to look at me that there is something funky with my eye. It’s puffy, the lid is droopy and my eyeball is red (but not demon-like red like before, so I’ll call that progress). No, not quite normal, but much better, so I’ll take it. I was allowed to stop using the dilating drops on Monday, and those suckers burn going in, so it’s been nice to ditch that. It still took a few days to lose the startled lemur look in that eye, but now I think it’s looking better. As for the headaches, I’ve had some doozies this week, probably adjusting to the lack of dilation in the eye (maybe? Just a guess). I have had some double vision, but nothing too severe so far. And for whatever reason, looking at a computer screen gives me major eyestrain and headaches, but my iPad, phone, books and magazines aren’t nearly as hard to look at. Go figure.
I’m scheduled for my followup at Mayo on the 20th of this month. Apparently this was a tricky thing to get scheduled because my oncologist is only in the office for two days this month and those days just happen to fall during a trip I’m taking with Rich at the end of the month. Seriously, I will be gone for two business days, that’s it, but those are the days the doctor could see me. So, I’m seeing Dr. Chen, who is… I don’t know his exact title, so I don’t want to offend… Assistant? Associate? Fellow? Right hand dude? Whatever, I’ve met him and I like him, and he’s the one who did my second surgery since my main guy had scooted off to Miami by then. He’s totally competent I’m sure, but I’m still a little disappointed I won’t be seeing Dr. Pulido. Of course, I’m hoping there will be no complications and it’ll be a quick visit, so it probably won’t matter who I see.
So that’s the info for this week. As always, you can stop reading now if you were just checking on how things are progressing and all the other “newsworthy” type stuff. This is the part where I ramble about things, and if you don’t want to read it, I’m not hurt. Really, it’s cool that you were checking in on me. I appreciate it!
And now for some rambling…
Kind of a silly thing, really – I changed what side I part my hair on. I know, I know, this is not a big deal. People do it all the time, but I have parted my hair on the same side ever since the 80’s when I dutifully parted it in the middle (more height). But as I was walking into the salon to get my hair cut last week, the wind blew a big chunk of hair over my good eye and I couldn’t see. It was a little startling, really. But it got me thinking – if I’m going to lose even more sight in my bad eye, then I should really give my good eye as much of an unobstructed view of the world as I can. I walked into the salon and told my hair stylist, “I think we need to change what side I part my hair on.” She of course did not think this is a big deal. Because let’s be honest – it’s not. However, retraining my hair to go in the totally opposite direction this week has been tedious. I am constantly moving hair out of my face in a frustrated huff because the hair really wants to be aimed a different way. And I think, “Darn you, cancer. You made me change my part.”
Fine. Cancer 1, Jen 0. But I’m getting one back tomorrow – tomorrow we are holding auditions for “Godspell,” which I am directing. I am super excited to do this show. I’ve choreographed it twice, but never directed, and I can’t wait. So take that, cancer. I’m doing what I love anyway, and you can’t stop me.
You know what else I’m excited about? My health insurance. Nope, that’s not a typo, or even a double vision induced goof. It’s totally true, but really, when do you ever hear a cancer patient say that? Not a lot I figured, which is why I’m giving a little shout out to Health Partners and especially an extremely sweet, hard working woman there named Ann. She is working her tail off to get all of my Mayo bills covered, and I know this is not how things normally go. Usually it’s the patient making all the phone calls, dealing with all the jerks and the red tape, fighting every denied claim and having to advocate for themselves when no one else will. But I don’t have to, because I have Ann. She does that for me, which is such a relief. Because I have other important things to concentrate on. Like changing how I part my hair.
And really, I just have to say that with the exception of my diagnosis, things have gone extremely well for us. I’m not trying to be glib or anything – don’t get me wrong, getting cancer stinks. It’s awful and painful and scary, but we have been blessed in that we haven’t had to deal with anything else on top of that. Our health insurance is great, our friends, family and faith community have been amazing, the kids’ teachers have been incredibly understanding and gracious and Rich’s company has been so supportive it makes me cry. When Rich traveled for business this week, friends helped with grocery shopping, laundry bin hauling and dog walking (in frigid temps – thanks Jeannine!). Yes, cancer has been a tough thing to deal with, but there has been nothing compounding it, and I am acutely aware of what a rare thing that is.
Ok, I was going to write more, but my computer time is limited with my eyesight right now – I’ve already left and come back a few times, so I’m going to wrap things up. One final thought though…
Tomorrow is my birthday, and I just have to say that it’s really amazing what having cancer does to your perspective on aging. It wasn’t long ago that I had a very negative attitude toward getting older – it was something to resist, to mourn, to dread even. Now, I think aging is great. Getting older is a goal, something to be celebrated. After all, it’s a privilege that is not afforded to everyone. Tomorrow, I get to turn 43. I was previously thoroughly unenthused about this, but it’s odd how the threat of not having birthdays anymore can make you appreciate them. Even the weird, odd numbered ones that are so meaningless that you sometimes have to do the math to figure out how old you are. Even those ones.
I get to have another birthday tomorrow. And that is very, very cool.