November 29, 2011 - I went to see Dr. Joyce this afternoon. The tumor markers came down from 7.8 to 6.3 – a smaller gap, but still going down. He scheduled me for 2 more chemo treatments, one tomorrow and one in 3 weeks.
I have done 4 things this month that I have not done since March of 2010, when this recurrence first appeared and tried to drag me down. For the past 8 or more years, when my piano tuner has come, he has said, “You haven’t played this much, have you? It’s not too badly out of tune.” And I always answered, “No, I haven’t had time.” Then I would promise myself that when I retired, I would play it every day. So now it is November 2011; I retired in June 2011 and haven’t played it yet! Well, on November 9, I played the piano for the first time since retirement. I don’t play by ear; I have to have sheet music to go by. I picked easy sheet music, since I am out of practice. It felt so good to be able to fill the house with music again!
The second and third new things I did involved exercise. I have a treadmill and a small weight machine in my office, but I couldn’t get to them because I had packing boxes stored in there. The boxes came from my school and other parts of the house. I have been clearing my junk out and getting rid of it – too much material stuff gets in my way. Well, on November 21, 2011 I walked half a mile on my treadmill at a speed of 1.3 mph – it took 30 minutes but I did it. I felt like the tortoise in Aesop’s fable “The Tortoise and the Hare.” Slowly but surely I plodded along, putting one foot in front of the other. I used to walk one mile in 20 minutes at a speed of 3 mph. Then I thought, “What about my weight machine? If I use very little weights, I might be able to do a few repetitions”. So I did – I only used 5 pounds and only did 10 repetitions of each exercise, but that’s a start! I do not lament about the things I cannot do; I am happy and grateful to God for the things I can do.
The fourth thing involved enjoying my retirement with my husband. Now I used to say, “I’m going to live a long life and grow old with my husband” but too many people interpreted that negatively. Evidently most people equate growing old with getting sick. I mean it in a positive way, like enjoying retirement, having lots of free time, being able to do what you want to do when you want to do it. So I will stop using “growing old together” and just say “enjoy our retirement together”. Anyway, to get back to the fourth ‘first’, Al and I booked our first cruise together. We are going to a place that I have always wanted to see – the Galapagos Islands. This archipelago of islands is where Charles Darwin went to study his theory of evolution. In fact, I heard on the news several months ago that the turtle he took back to England in the late 1800’s is still alive! They can live 150 years. There will be animals there that don’t live anywhere else, like the giant land tortoises. When I became a 15-year breast cancer survivor, I remember thinking I was thankful to have lived to see my daughter grow up and to enjoy retirement with my husband! Well, that time has now come. Dorothy is grown up, working in her chosen career and loving it, and is married to a wonderful man who takes good care of her. I have retired and plan to be around for many more years to enjoy it with my husband.
Pictures show blue salvia, Mexican petunias in the sunlight, and the Ribbon of Faith, Belief, and God’s Truth with white impatiens. The 4th picture shows the aviary “wildlife” that was attracted to the garden tubs when we put artificial flowers in them last winter. The birds must like it here; they have stayed through spring, summer, and fall. Lol – ha ha ha!