Today Grant and I visited with the gyn-onc, Dr. Guntupalli. He just continues to be impressed with my progress. Today he was happily surprised by how well my incision is healing. He said again that he doesn’t know how it all could have gone any better. He is impressed with how my body has responded to treatment. He said I am in the top 20% of patients that they see!
He did start out recommending three more rounds of chemo, but when I asked him if, because I have done so well, I could do just one more, or just two more, he said, hmm, not one, but yes, two. And that it could be at the lower dose again, as was the third chemo treatment. He would like me to start that again one month out from surgery, so the week of the 23rd of July. He didn’t want to let it go any further out than that.
Which does put me kind of in a bind, as my appointment to discuss further chemo with the integrative oncologist, Dr. West, is that same week. It won’t give me much time to mull things over before I have to decide what feels like a big decision.
And as an INFP I am not a natural decider. I am a natural ponderer and wonderer. “Being rushed” and “Decisions” stress me out a bit more than some personality types.
In any case, good news from today.
Also, apparently, word got around that I was an easy patient to take care of after surgery. I kind of don’t understand that because I just spent the time mostly lying there.
Grant has stated multiple times, though, that I haven’t been a complainer or a whiner and would be an example to him if he were ever in such a situation. I have a hard time imagining complaining or whining very much as any pain or discomfort I would have been suffering was certainly not any nurse’s fault. Who would I hold to blame for any pain or discomfort I had, really? It’s no one’s fault really. Maybe my own. Maybe my own decisions over time led me to this place. And at the same time my own decisions in the near past to undergo the treatments I chose to undergo, well, I could only hold myself responsible for that, right? So who’s to blame? I don’t even blame myself. They are just choices I’m making as things come up that need deciding about.
Hmm. There’s that deciding thing again.
And maybe that gets me back to my C-ful-ness practice, and the title of this blog, that being C-ful or Now-ful really takes care of any past or future anxieties or worries. Being here Now, as Tolle would advocate, or being Self-Led / C-ful, as IFS Therapy would advocate, enable uncomfortable moments to be just that: moments. Not entirety. Not guilt about the past or fear about the future or blaming to make someone else responsible. Just. Being. Now.
I am surprised, SO surprised, that apparently I have learned this, maybe sort of without me realizing that I have been learning it. It certainly is coming in handy in this situation.
In any case…. Back to the nurses, I wanted to at least drop off a thank you card to the 11th floor nursing staff who took such good care of me that week. I think I didn’t feel a big need to whine or complain because they took pretty damn good care of me. Sure I had discomfort but it was to be expected. And I was drugged up pretty good too. So Grant and I went up and visited. Not many faces we recognized, they must have A LOT of staff, and on all sorts of schedules. But it was kind of fun and wistful to see “my” room with someone else’s name on it, and to realize that I don’t need to be there anymore, thankfully. As I told the nurses when I was leaving, “I hope I never see you again, at least not in this context,” and we all laughed. And assuming everything keeps going as well as it has, I won’t. Happy and sad.
From there we went to visit a very old family friend, Dianne, who lives nearby. I grew up with her kids in the church we all attended when I was young. Many YEARS of good relationship with all of them, family to family, and in the church. And luckily their daughter/niece (long story) Jen and her two girls ended up there at the same time. So good to see them all. Such connection. As the old hymn says, “Blest Be The Ties That Bind.”
As Dr. Turner notes in Radical Remission, one of the nine factors in being an anomaly in having full remission from cancer is “Embracing Social Support.” Today’s good visit is one of those episodes of Social Support. Grateful, I am.
Which reminds me, I never reported back on the High School Reunion. Also a great opportunity to be embraced by social support. It was SO good to see people, all these faces that I’ve known, in some cases, most of my life, that kind of history is invaluable. So many have been following this blog and knew what was going on and offered really sweet support, and many hugs. It’s nice to know these people as adults now, too.
Now it is time to put some more calories in me. I have lost a lot of weight from the start of this whole thing, down from a high (all time high for me) of 143 pounds (65 kg) in December to 108 (49 kg) now. Sheesh. I’d be happy to land back in the 120 (54 kg) realm. Trying to do this Paleo-ish or Keto-ish may be a challenge. We’ll see. The conventional nutritionist advice at the hospital (bless her soul) is eat whatever you want, especially ice cream and shakes, etc. SO not keto. SO much sugar. And Dairy, ack! So I have to rework the standard advice and pack on the pounds/kilograms in another way. Wish me luck!
Post Script: Continued loving kudos to my partner Grant who has been my supportive care-giver, advocate, coach, nag, pest about all things health and healing in this process. He continues to be a rock, and a soft place, all at once.
Post Post Script: Grant has reminded me that another cool thing happened today. I had to send a fax to the insurance company handling my claim for long term disability insurance. It wasn’t working at home so I decided to go to FedEx Office, which we did while we were in the Denver Metro Area. It turned out that because of the number of pages it was going to cost about $30. I seriously considered walking out, but decided I was under the gun enough, and didn’t really have any other good options, so hang it all, I would just pay that. Well, luckily, the self-serve option didn’t work, so the woman behind the counter helped me, and when it came time to pay, she just said, “It’s on me.” Maybe because it was long term disability insurance paperwork, maybe because I obviously look like a cancer patient these days, or whatever, it was a very sweet and unexpected generosity. 🙏🏼
3 thoughts on “Top 20%”
My dear friend- it was such a pleasure to see you and meet your “rock “. He’s definatly a keeper. I fear any comment I try to write would pale in comparison to your lovely writing. I’m just so happy it worked out to see your smiling face and hear your good news from the surgeon. Continued healing and peace is in my heart for you today and in the weeks to come. 💕
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Good post, Andrea. Enjoyed the various news you had to share with us all. Glad the high school reunion made for good memories. I am glad your doctor seems so impressed with your recovery. Your doctor is not the only one impressed with you.
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