Thumbs up

Another good day for scan results. No results day seems to resemble any other results day in the past. Today seems to have existed in two separate realities, possibly three.

This morning, after the kids left for school, I got on my bike. I had homework from the trainer I am working with in order to ensure I don’t bomb June’s ride. Today, I needed to repeat the hill in the park five times. When I got to the park I didn’t really know whether I could do it. I had a few tips and techniques from the trainer to go on. When I started I wasn’t thinking of the endpoint. I went around once, twice. In the middle of the third lap I had a moment of mild panic about whether I’d be able to finish. I needn’t have panicked. Each time, I climbed the hill in a gear I never would have imagined could work for me.

However, I am struggling with something that seems laughably basic to me – how to bend down and get my water bottle for a drink while I’m riding, and then put it back without crashing! The trainer worked with me on that last week, I seemed to have gotten the hang of it. Today, the first time I tried to drink while in motion, I nearly wiped out and almost took another cyclist with me. For the following laps I decided only to try drinking while cutting across the quieter transverse road in the park. Again I nearly wiped out (this time, while trying to replace the bottle) and the bottle fell to the ground and rolled away, so I had to stop and chase it down. Finally, I decided I’d just stop quickly to drink before each hill repeat. That worked much better. I need to practice more,  I think. Just a few years ago, I had no problem drinking while riding. I can even remember a moment where I was texting while biking, against all common sense! Clearly, those days are behind me.

I got home from the park with little time to spare before my visit to Dr. P. My main goal was to refuel quickly and appropriately so I wouldn’t show up there almost passing out again! When I arrived at my appointment, the waiting room was almost at capacity. My heart sank, because I had plans downtown after my appointment. J didn’t come with me today. And I had made plans. I treated this like any other checkup, not like my life was hanging in the balance. I had briefly considered the possibility that all might not be well. But I couldn’t seem to convince myself to take that idea seriously today. I’m so lucky I didn’t need to.

In the waiting room, I saw a woman with her daughter whom I’d met at a previous visit. She had begun seeing Dr. P. when she was pregnant with her daughter and gotten a diagnosis of melanoma. Today, I noticed that she is pregnant again. What miracles are possible, when the drugs work. (It is never far from my mind, though, that the drugs do not always work. This particular age of miracles is still far from universal. It is all too selective.)

Nurse Practitioner K saw me today. She burst into the room with the good news, and I almost knocked her down jumping up to hug her. It was the usual checkup – with an EKG added on, since one of my drugs carries the risk of cardiomyopathy.  It was fine, everything was fine. Even the side effects can’t touch me anymore. I know too much to feel truly bulletproof, but I am feeling relieved, like I’m a few notches closer to normal. My medications list, which Nurse Practitioner K reviewed with me, seemed extremely short. And it is! No steroids! No anti-seizure drug! No confounded eye drops!

I left the cancer center, bought a six pack of beer, and caught a bus downtown, to a Lower East Side gallery where an artist friend is working to create an installation that opens Friday. It is called FUCKYOURCOUCH. It’s a comment on many things, but I think primarily the frustrations of being an artist in the current economy, and a swipe at the art world. The couches came from Craigslist, giveaways. Some were already destroyed. Today, I and a couple of other friends were invited to avail ourselves of power tools, fabric scissors, seam rippers, an electric carving knife. One person brought a meat hook. We dismantled a very nice, made in North Carolina couch. It was impressive to see the construction, compare it to the remnants of an IKEA couch on the other side of the room. I’m excited to see the results when the show opens.

Because I’d just come from the cancer center, and gotten good news, and because I rode my bike like crazy this morning, I drank a couple of beers very quickly while deciding what to do to the couch. Then, I drank a third. Two beers is usually my limit. But there was relief, there was celebration, there was three more months of healthy life pretty much guaranteed. So it was a three beer afternoon. The joke was on me when I had to walk back to the subway – about 15 minutes, crossing lots of streets. However, I’m very good at pretending not to be drunk. I walk in an exceedingly cautious way. On a train, I try not to open my mouth so no one smells my breath. The biggest challenge today was climbing the stairs out of the subway without falling over, and I managed that, too.

J was home with the kids. They’d done their homework. J made dinner. I don’t know where we’d all be without him. I was so glad I had good news for him today, for him and the kids and all you beautiful people who remember when I’m getting results and cheer with me when they’re good. This cancer thing? I guess it can teach you about love.

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