Here I am, two years on, in 2023:
- I can walk (freestyle—no walker, no brace or hand needing to be held) 10—20 feet at a go, without falling over.
- I can walk half to three quarters of a mile at one time with my rollator (again, NO toppling over).
- I can pump for 20 minutes straight on the recumbent elliptical now.
- I no longer need to use the walker to go across the hall to the can, man. I can get up to pee in the middle of the night without waking Ten to help me. I can stand while I brush my teeth too.
- I can go up and down the stairs on my own (though I appreciate Ten standing at the bottom of the stairs to break my fall if need be). The stair lift? It’s still here but, for now, folded up and unneeded.
- On five out of seven days a week, I’m doing a combo of one to 1.3 miles of walking and ellipticalling. I'd hoped to be much further along by now but winter was hard—all the cold and dark did a number on me. That shit’s a real energy and motivation depleter.
It’s hard to remember OR give myself the credit I deserve for how far I’ve come. I've GOT to keep in mind all the setbacks I’ve had since that melon surgery:
- There was the giant hyper-delicate surgery to trim down the alien locked around my thoracic spine (I was in hospital and then rehab for more than a month).
- Two broken teeth (anesthesiologist's parting gifts)
- Proton radiation (to limit or halt further growth of the thoracic spine motherfucker).
- COVID (would’ve sucked giant stone gargoyle wang to have survived the surgeries only to die from Trump’s plague)
- My usual eye bullshit.
- Chemo (to, hopefully, stop the growth of the mondo meningioma on my bean’s frontal lobe)
Monday I went in for a quick check-in with Doc Plotkin’s nurse practitioner. My blood pressure was high—a common side effect of the chemo med I’m on. We, Ten and I, were told to keep a close watch on it. Yesterday morning as I was taking my morning crateful of pills, Ten took my BP. It was 230/120. Fucking YIKES! My first words to Ten? Is that number even possible?!
Just in case the home BP cuff, which is old, was outta whack and just in case I needed to get to the ER STAT, Jen called the EMTs. They came out and, yup, using their cuff, my BP was in fact 230/120. Jesus.
I felt totally, absolutely fine though. After some basic tests and a convo with the med crew, I said I wanted to stay home (versus zipping into the ER where I’d sit for three hours before a medic even looked at me) and email Plotkin’s office. The EMT’s felt this was safe and a good plan but told me they could be right back if I changed my mind. Really wonderful team.
Nurse Practitioner Christina called a ‘script into the pharmacy for me, Ten picked it up moments later. Boom—my numbers began their descent.
My other Monday appointment was a bone density test. Yes, I do indeed have bones. Just like the rest of me however, they’re old and fragile. I’m now the proud owner of a new little condition called osteoporosis. Yes, this on top of everything else. Am I special or am I fucking special?!
Here’s the other anniversary—four year ago yesterday, Ten and I jumped in his jam-packed pickup and drove cross country from Oregon’s high desert to Valhalla, Massachusetts. It’s been a hell of an action packed four years. I swear, the man's a fucking saint.