Tuesday, May 10, 2011

#325: When Cancer Hits the Re-set Button

The University of Kentucky
This was a busy day. I saw my therapist, my throat surgeon, and had a good, short run at the Arboretum. Now we're sitting in the steamy wake of what felt like our first summer storm. It's a beautiful night in the Bluegrass.

Today's run was a strong one. I did two miles in 24:26. One of my goals is to break a 12:00 mile, and I'm slowly sneaking up on that one. My Nike+ sportband says I've already broken that, but I don't really trust it for such short distances. Run/Walk/Run intervals seem to confuse it. I'll wait until I can run a measured mile someplace. In any case, I know I can run at that pace, and hope to use that confidence to run stronger at longer distances.

I felt good during the run, with only a little stiffness in the tender right knee when I finished my cool down walk and got back in the car. By the time I got home though, I was feeling downright gimpy. I went out on the porch with the dogs and an ice bag. We enjoyed the sunshine as the aching subsided. It's still a little weak, but I expect it will be fine in the morning.
Adidas TR2... Not a bad shoe, but
is it the wrong shoe for Pennsy?
I'm really starting to wonder if my Adidas shoes are the problem. The two times my knee has felt really bad after a run, I was wearing them. I bought them from a department store, without the counsel of the geniuses at John's Run/Walk Shop, so I may have just picked up a pair that don't suit me. I'll try the Nikes for Thursday's run, and see if there's any improvement. If so, the Adidas just might turn into my registration for the Running 4 the Sole 5K on the 22nd. They'll make some big-footed trail runner very happy.

Today's visit with Dr. Colin, my ENT surgeon was terrific. My weight is down, My body fat percentage is down, my blood pressure is down, and the endoscope revealed nothing even a little interesting in my nose or throat. Dr Colin was in an unusually talkative mood today. We chatted about my play, (he had seen a picture in the newspaper about the heroic cancer boy.) We discussed my running and my plans for the 10K in July. "It's something I had often thought about doing," I said, "and now I've added it to the list of things I'm not going to put off any more." He smiled talked about how cancer changes your perspective. It is as if the experience hits the re-set button in your life. Cancer unplugged all my circuits and we are in the process of re-booting me. I told him I felt like a cliche, running on about how much I've learned to appreciate live since surviving cancer. He said not to worry about it. There's a little bit of truth in every cliche. That's how they get to be cliches.

We scheduled my 1-year PET/CT scans for next week, with a followup the week after. I think that will be the day where my status will officially switch from "in remission" to "cancer-free." Good old NED. "No Evidence of Disease." I'd say I've got my fingers crossed, but frankly, the possibility of the thing still being there hasn't even occurred to me. We'll see if I can stave off the "scan-ziety" for the days between the tests and the appointment where the Doc reads my radioactive tea-leaves.

The appointment with my therapist, (now a monthly, not a weekly affair,) was a very enlightening one. I realized that I am starting to turn my attention outward. When I was sick, all roads lead to Pennsy. I didn't think about anybody else. I didn't have the energy. All I could think about was getting through the next hour of sleeping or crying or laughing or puking or whatever life had in store for me during those sixty minutes. As my body started to heal, I had to turn my attention to my soul. It had taken a beating during treatment, but was pushed to the back burner while my survival was an open question. Getting back into therapy, back to church, and back to a daily routine were essential parts of healing my soul. Getting back to the theatre was just the prescription for healing my spirit. Now I've done three plays since treatment finished, and I feel like I'm right on track, doing the work God made me to do in this world.

Echo and Narcissus, John William Waterhouse
Which leads me to this morning's epiphany at the head-shrinker. (Mrs P has stopped protesting my use of this term since one of her teen clients referred to her as his "Nut Doctor." That makes "shrink" the official lesser of two evils.) I realized that I've started asking myself what Mrs P needs. The shrink and I talked about the ways I have left her out of the equation of my decisions in the past, and how I might change that behavior going forward. I was so excited that I called her from the parking lot and left a voice mail asking for an "appointment" with her so we could talk some of these things over. We're making plans for the final big push to get moved out of our house, and the project just might turn out to be an opportunity to strengthen our marriage, rather than being a trial by fire. That would be a welcome switch.

Something tells me that the shrink is moving up on Mrs P's Christmas card list.


MORE CONTRIBUTIONS CAME IN YESTERDAY! We're up to $275 for the fight against diabetes. You can help sponsor Pennsy in the Lexington Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes by clicking this link and making a contribution.

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