Down from the mountaintop

West Lawn - Descent, by Justus Hayes on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons
West Lawn – Descent, by Justus Hayes on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons

We arrived home from Colorado last night. The kids were awake enough to eat pizza at 10 pm (because it felt like 8 to them). They didn’t get out of bed today until almost 9. It’s going to be a struggle to get them on the bus to camp tomorrow at 8:20 a.m.

The new app on Facebook that offers to tell you what happened on this day in your personal history helpfully reminded me today that last year at this time I was in the exact same shape after our vacation – sick as a dog. I’m coughing up stuff, it hurts to cough, and I’ve already drunk about a gallon of Throat Coat tea today. I’ve barely left my bed, in part because it is so far superior to any bed I slept in on vacation.

Because I’m not feeling well enough to talk to a resident today, I’ll wait until Dr P’s office opens tomorrow to see whether they think this is dabrafenib-related or just shitty luck. If the latter, I’ll need to go see my primary doctor, Dr S, whose office is nearby but where the wait times are ridiculous. She also gets a little bent out of shape when I show up after a few months and she hasn’t heard from Dr P and I have to tell her what’s been going on. And what a doozy of a tale I have to tell. “Oh, since I saw you last? Not much, just a touch of brain tumors. A sprinkling. Okay, a dozen. And some laser surgery and the medication that may be making me cough my lungs out right now. But hey! Good news! My lungs are clear now! At least, they were in mid-April. I have another scan in a couple of weeks…”  (Dr. S will be too busy furiously typing all this in to the computer system to scowl or look shocked, of course.)

So yeah. Another scan in a couple of weeks. There are those couple of weeks to get through. In the meantime, my fruitless search for employment is ongoing. I just got a “passive rejection” (my coinage), meaning via a departmental listserv from the place I work very part-time during the academic year, I learned the name of the person they hired for the job I applied for months ago without hearing anything. So that’s settled, then. Maybe I’m done with library work. It may be done with me. If that’s the case, maybe I wish I hadn’t had the brief reminder earlier this year of how good I was at it. That would just make it suck even more.

Absent the steroids, the air has gone out of my sails (or maybe it’s just the post-vacation malady/exhaustion talking). I need to return to a few writing projects, but I’ll probably fall asleep in the middle of working on them. Now that the steroids have faded I have been checking into the side effects of the other drugs, and for one of them it’s fatigue, for the other it’s “weight changes” (in my case, gain). Awesome. So as long as I’m on dabrafenib, I’ll stay on these two other drugs, which make me fat and sleepy. Good thing it isn’t summer and I don’t need to be seen in a bathing suit! No, wait – I mean, good thing it’s summer and the bathing suit I now have to wear may as well be a burqa!

It was simpler up in the Rocky Mountains. There wasn’t much wifi. There were lots of horses. I couldn’t look for news on how screwed up the world is at the moment. I’m happy for gay people who want to get married and now can. I’m happy someone went and took down the Confederate flag. But I’m afraid of weaponized crazy people, both at home and abroad. And I’m worried this is pneumonia (an affliction with me that even predates cancer) and I’ll have to rest for a whole month. I want to start moving again.

The boys learned to ride horses this week. We saw parts of the national park you can’t get to by car (and we didn’t see hikers either). It’s yet another thing we can do now, when we go to places where it’s possible.

Our last night in Estes Park, we walked over to the pasture where the horses were grazing, to say goodbye. I was lagging behind as usual (medication-induced foot problems, damn you!), but J told me that as soon as the horses heard the boys’ voices, every single horse’s head raised and turned in the direction of the sound. A moment of perfect beauty I may have missed witnessing myself, but just its description fills my heart with peace and other good things.

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