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Archive for October 7th, 2009

[Whew! She’s finally posted something on the blog again. She must still be alive! Thank God!]

It’s only been in the past few days I’ve begun to think I may still be among the living. For the past couple weeks I wasn’t at all sure as I sank lower into an abyss of pain and illness and fog. (The pain was actually my main indication that I wasn’t gone.) But I’ve barely been able to lift my head off the pillow since the last time I posted an entry. So, today’s a turning point for sure.

I’m still too shaky and weak to spend much time upright, so I won’t chronicle all the gory details of the last two weeks here. Basically, the final week of treatment took a huge toll, and the effects of the chemo and radiation continued to build for another week after that. I was far too sick to eat for a long while and lost several more pounds. I developed thrush, candida, a raging yeast infection, and my entire gastrointestinal tract, from mouth to anus, was stressed beyond endurance and simply stopped working. 

The gripping abdominal pains I began complaining about three weeks ago finally became alarming enough to my doctors that X-Rays of my chest and abdomen were taken. No blockages found, but it turned out the entire abdominal cavity was filled with air and gas that wasn’t being expelled because nothing in my system was working properly. There were so many masses of gas bubbles on the X-Ray, they obscured any view of the left side of my ribs on the film. It was very eerie to see my chest and abdomen filled with large splotches of grey mass, but apparently all of it harmless – unless you can’t expel it. So, I was instructed to “go home and fart” (those were the exact words used by my health care professionals). Easier said than done, though, since I couldn’t just will my body to start passing gas normally. Lots of warm compresses and belly massage began to help, thankfully. Tim, bless his heart, gently massaged my belly regularly and even said encouraging things like, “Good girl!” when any tiny vapor would release. It feels quite juvenile, but we’re now applauding and high-fiving every worthy fart.

Slowly, my system is trying to perform it’s normal functions again. I’m finally eating small amounts of real food (say what you will about Ensure, but it probably kept me from starving to death when I couldn’t manage actual food). I am still unable to walk very far – from computer to bathroom is a marathon distance – but I am gaining more strength each day now.

And, to end on a high point:  I did muster enough strength to ride in the car (supported by a ridiculous quantity of pillows and Ativan) up through Hyde State Park to the Santa Fe Ski Basin to see the aspens turning all yellow and golden, with hints of peach and rose in certain special places. It was so lovely to see, it took me out of myself for a time, and then reminded me that I am still alive.

More positive reports to come soon, I hope.

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