51

I knew it was coming. Because of many extenuating circumstances, the day slipped by almost unnoticed. But I have arrived. I’m solidly in my fifties now. As I told a friend this morning, “I love the number 51. It’s so stealthy. Seems like it’s prime, but it isn’t. Kind of like me these days.” Har, har.

Ushering in this particular year means that the coming calendar year brings a significant milestone for me: in April, it will be ten years since my initial melanoma diagnosis. When I was diagnosed, in 2013, things were maybe looking better for patients, but it was still a very grim reality to face. As I progressed into lung metastases (2014) and the brain thing (2015), things got better and better in terms of the medicine. And they got better and better for me. I’m insanely lucky to still be alive, but it’s not an accident. It seems that the medicine is doing (or did do) precisely what was intended. I’m just waiting around for my type of response to treatment to catch up to everyone else.

I’m working in a medical school library now. It’s very exciting to think that the Next Big Thing in treatment could come from the mind of one of the students I’ll be working with. I haven’t yet settled on what I might want to say at work about my dealings with cancer. Anyone with the curiosity to do so can easily find their way to my blog, of course. But if I bring this up in my work context I need it to be for a reason, I need it to have some kind of educational value or be some way that medical practitioners in training can learn about working with their future patients. I’ll have to think about all that.

Off to work. Day 1 of the rest of my life.
I have a cube.
Keychain my brother made for me in shop. I mostly have used it for work keys. Now I have work keys.
My first interlibrary loan request. I can honestly say I contributed to this paper, because I am one of the patients they’re writing about. (Dr. K, Dr. P, and Nurse Practitioner K are coauthors.)

There is a whole lot else going on but for now I’m going to wrap this up. My birthday dinner was co-opted for another purpose, so we’re having it tomorrow. I can say one thing: having a job is the best antidepressant I can think of. My self-esteem is no longer scraping bottom because I am not employed. I am not moping around the house. My commute is reasonable, I’m reading again while I’m on the train, and I’m getting more steps in every day. 51 is a quiet joy — at least for now.

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