Has it really been a month since I posted here? Wow! Time sure flies when you’re having fun!
And we have indeed been having fun. Beloved and I spent the middle two weeks of this month in Europe: we visited London, Paris, Bewdley (a wee town just east of Birmingham, UK, which my good friend Derry tells me has some 300 pubs in it’s neighbourhoods, and he knows them all!) and Poole, in Dorset, UK, where my daughter lives and works. It was a FANTASTIC trip… a dream come true for Beloved, and all-around a victory for me. I walked for hours. I climbed and clambered over ruins. We did cafés, pubs, picnics: the works. We had a totally perfect time, and even the weather was on-side.
It was a tremendous time of healing, as well. The day before I got on the plane in Toronto, a 45-minute walk was a major challenge. Three days later, in Paris, I walked for 90 minutes with luggage (admittedly, we packed light) through old Paris from Garre de Nord train station to our delightful hotel near Rue de l’Opera (some 5 minutes from the Louvre… we were in the middle of it, I tell ya!)… and never stopped walking for the next 10 days. Hours a day, day in – day out. Only actually took one day off the whole time due to fatigue. Not bad for a guy who couldn’t walk 45 minutes before the trip, eh? We are attributing it to either mind-set (here at home, the lazy-boy is my go-to place) or a full-on miracle. In either event, I lost a pretty good excuse to be lazy on that trip, and there’s no going back now, is there? I’ve started bike-riding since I came back, and am up to about 40 minutes at a decent cadence… hope to get that to 90 minutes by summer end. Also managing a bit of code work on the computer, although that is still not nearly what it could / should / used to be… but we’ll keep cracking at it and hopefully we’ll get through it.
And then today: had a visit with my oncologist to review the results of a bone marrow biopsy done about 6 weeks ago. The genetic results are not in yet, but the rest was, and the verdict? REMISSION! He doesn’t want to see me again until December, and anticipates that visit will be a waste of his valuable time… he’s very optimistic that I’m going to be in the clear for some time to come.
Interestingly, he’s had that attitude about my case from the get-go: he has been fully confident that we’d beat this back, and even that we’d heal me (that didn’t happen… yet). I asked him about that confidence today, as to why he felt that way. He said he didn’t have an answer to that, but that he just knew. I asked him if that was normal. Definitely not, was his reply. So that was kind of interesting.
Of course, Beloved cried again. She’s been doing that a lot lately… it was getting a bit silly in Europe, frankly! She was blubbering at all manner of things over there. Release, I’m guessing. I really do think that care-givers have, in many important ways, a harder time of it than we who actually are sick. I am forever grateful to her for what she did for me and the family this past year and a half… “heroic” is not an overstatement at all.
Today was poignant in another way, though: cancer is a very major reality in my neighbourhood. Beloved has counted some 14 cases that we know of in a 1/4-mile radius of our home… and that was brought home abundantly as we were in the oncology department this morning. We visited with our across-the-street neighbour, and the daughter of our next-door neighbour, both of whom are dealing with breast cancer.
Anyhow, it looks like I have a several-month (several-year?) reprieve from this fight. A bit of an issue with heart damage (thanks, Malphalan) and skin irritation (we’re not sure what caused that, but it is chemo-related), and of course my much-beloved numb-feet neuropathy… but those are just gentle reminders that life is valuable, that I must live it fully, responsibly, and consciously. As I was saying to Beloved over a bowl of pho at lunch today, I am in many ways very grateful that this has been the turn my life took, as it certainly improved my day-to-day existence (as long as we ignore the whole chemo /stem-cell sick-as-death time, of course.) I’ve never been happier or more content with my lot in life. Never been more settled. Life, each day of it, is good, and for that I praise God.
Of course, this remission means I won’t have as much to babble about here. I will probably get quiet in this space for a while (though I might revisit the content pages and fill those in a bit more completely). I won’t stop blogging or writing, mind you. You can certainly join me at http://www.blog.snippe.ca I don’t yet know if that space will take on a particular flavour or direction (it certainly hasn’t yet) but I will be using it.
Anyhow, that’s about all for now.