The Dawkter's Wife - It's all champagne and caviar now … dahling

Surviving Cancer,The Loony Bin

June 11, 2010

So I’m 40…

40 is the new 30, right?  No really.  I’m 40.  As in Four Zero.  I can’t believe it.  I certainly don’t feel that old … My birthday itself (June 4th) was pretty low key.  I picked up my mom at the airport on the third and we had a pretty quiet day on my birthday itself.  I got a nap and then in the evening, we had some typical Space Aliens fun.

As usual ,Thomas avoided getting me a gift or card from the kids until the last minute, which this year was actually AFTER our Space Aliens dinner. Sigh. Some things never change.

The only bummer was that Amanda decided to skip our family tradition and go to a birthday party sleepover for a friend of hers she hadn’t seen in a year.  I let her make the decision on her own but assumed she would make the right one.  Mistake.  It is the first time in the history of our family that someone has not been there for a birthday…and it was my 40th.

She no doubt made up for this in a way with the incredible gift that she gave me this year … painted herself … I absolutely love it! (In other news … Amanda is heading to Germany for a 3 week stay with Oma and is leaving on Sunday…all information for another day…)

Picture Amanda painted for me!

The next day was my party and I was pretty nervous about it. I was afraid of reliving my 16th birthday party where only 2 people showed up. Granted, I had only lived in the town for 8 months back then … and I’ve lived here for 8 years … but … nonetheless I feel like I have as few friends now as I did back then.

Surprisingly, nearly everyone came. I was so relieved to have people show up … but then I was a wreck trying to entertain them! LOL I guess you can’t win with me!

I had a great visit with my mom and was sad to take her back to the airport so quickly again on Sunday. These short visits are just no good. I tried to explain to her that it is hard to stay connected and talk about important issues because she is always at work and calling me from work and lives so far away.

It feels like all of that was months ago. Life is so busy that in the meantime so much has gone on!

I had my appointment with a different neurologist who was absolutely fantastic. She trained at the University of Minnesota and did some work with their new cancer survivorship program. She asked me if anyone had talked with me about the potential long-term effects of my treatments. She told me that my symptoms were not as abnormal as I had been led to believe and that many survivors have similar complaints. These problems are often lost in the follow-up because oncologists tend to focus on remission and primary care providers aren’t usually trained to pick these things up. They are labeled idiopathic, etc.

In any case, she described my reflexes as brisk, with sensory deficits in my feet. We are doing an MRI of the cervical and thoracic spine to rule out any type of radiation damage to the spine or spinal problems causing the neuropathy. It can also be related to the chemo itself. Apparently, though it has been reported that Vincristine associated neuropathy resolves, 25-35% of lymphoma patients treated with R-CHOP experience unexpected off-treatment worsening of neuropathy. Wow.

I have been on increasing doses of Lyrica which is making me feel really out-of-sorts. I’m not really answering the phone, getting online or doing much of anything. I just don’t feel like myself. I have had trouble paying attention and … it has resulted in two (eeek!) fender benders in my new VW.

I had minor surgery on Wed. as well for some scar revisions on my arm. This went pretty well and I was out and about within a few hours of coming out of the anesthesia. Three hours after getting home, I climbed on my bike and rode to Andrew’s first baseball game. I felt fine from the anesthesia and used one arm to not stress out the arm I was operated on, but … I kept looking for my seatbelt and realizing that I was on my bike AND that I had already had that thought.




I’m feeling frustrated by the side-effects, which I hope will wear off. I have lost my motivation to study, take classes and do much of anything. I briefly felt excited by talking to the neurologist about the new survivorship program at the U of MN, searched for resources and wondered if I could study public health and bring a program like that here…and then the magic was lost.

I hope I find the magic again….very soon!

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