Sunday, 1 December 2013

Tests, tests and more tests

It has been a very busy last couple of weeks.  I had a check up at the Cancer Centre which resulted in two weeks of fear and anxiety as I was referred for a CT scan and then awaiting the results of that.  On Wednesday this past week, I had another appointment with my new hematologist (oncologist that specializes in lymphoma).  This was a great appointment as I found out the CT scan was clear!!  However as my doctor pointed out that does not help to explain some of the symptoms that I'm continuing to experience.  I do not need to come back to my hematologist until 6 months from now.  But I was referred to another doctor who specializes in throats as well as ears and noses and I am to have a Barium test of my upper GI.  I saw the ENT doctor on Thursday when he put small camera on the end of a fragile flexible cord up my nose and down into my throat.  The pictures he saw showed that my throat and vocal chords are very healthy.  There was some slight swelling that was unexplainable so I am to go back and see him again in 3 months.  The swelling may be related to my other symptoms to do with my upper GI.  But I have been given the affirmation that I can work on getting my singing voice back into shape.

In the midst of the appointments, I've been starting to think about Christmas.  I've been practising some Christmas music on the piano in preparation for playing it at the Cancer Centre on Fridays during the Christmas season.  This then puts me in the mood to decorate and do some more Christmas baking.  Some of my piano students have been working on Christmas music as they prepare for a small Christmas recital.  This always helps me get into the joyful spirit of Christmas.  I do love Christmas time and the season of Advent.  It also helps because we had our first real snowfall on Wednesday.

With the first snowfall comes the beauty of the snow on the trees.  I was out shovelling our driveway at 6 in the morning so that we could get my daughter to her commitment at 8 a.m.  The snow was very wet and heavy.  It was very difficult to move and throw with the shovel.  As I struggled and put all my weight behind the shovel, it inevitably stopped with a rolled up wave of slushy packed snow at the end of the shovel.  I could have become very discouraged but what I truly saw was the perfect snow for making snowmen.  I didn't have time on Wednesday to build a snowman but I wish I had.  The temperature dropped well below freezing overnight into Thursday and then made the snow crunchy and crumbly which is not conducive to building a snowman.  Oh well, hopefully I will have more opportunities later on.  I really don't like the cold but I do find that if I embrace some of the winter activities that it helps the winter go by more quickly.  But I've digressed.  What I really wanted to describe was the beauty of the heavy snow on the trees.  When I awoke on Wednesday morning, all the branches of the various trees and shrubs looked like they had white fluffy icing on them.  The evergreen trees looked like umbrellas that were closed up due to the weight of the snow on the branches.  It was very beautiful to look at though.  I must confess that as I huffed and puffed my way through the chore of shoveling, I stopped to catch my breath and enjoy looking at the trees up and down the street.  It was a beautiful morning!

While shoveling, I was reminded about how a brief moment can change your life and the lives of those around you in a flash.  I was carrying a heavy load of snow with my shovel to a spot further along the road on my property.  I was walking in the gutter of the road and as I heaved the snow off of my shovel, I heard a couple of short honks of a car horn.  You know the kind I mean.  The little friendly toots of friends driving by.  Since my snow was off the shovel, I turned around to wave and saw an SUV sliding towards me.  It didn't hit me but the woman driving had a terrified look on her face.  She rolled her window down and apologized.  She was sliding on the icy road towards me and she didn't know what to do so she honked her horn.  No harm was done but I do believe that she drove down the street a little slower.

Wednesday's snowfall helped keep me busy until my appointment at the Cancer Centre and it helped keep the full extent of my anxiety and fear at bay.  I must admit that this weekend I can finally feel my body relaxing as the lingering wisps of worry evaporate.  As I see the sunrises and sunsets, they are full of rosy pinks.  The few fluffy clouds at sunset have been edged by a brighter shade of crimson which highlights the beauty of the sky.  I'm back to appreciating the joy of each day.  Worry and fear really do drain your energy and rob you of the simple pleasures in life.  I must admit that I was back to repeating "One breath at a time".  The anxiety was almost debilitating at times in the last couple of weeks.  But onward we go as we head into Advent.

I still have my GI test to have done next week.  Getting older really is not fun.  I'm not sure how much of my discomfort has been due to lingering effects of the chemotherapy or just old age.  I do know that it takes up to 2 years for the body to fully recover from the chemo.  BC (before cancer) I rarely went to the doctor.  I would see my family doctor once a year for a physical.  That was it.  I didn't have multiple appointments with various doctors.  I didn't have any physical ailments or complaints that hung around my neck like a weighted stone.  I saw a plaque recently that said "Getting old is not for the faint of heart".  How true this is!!  I don't like having all these appointments.  They keep you from being able to do the things you really want to do in life.  However, I also know that these appointments are necessary in order to find out what is going on with my body.  But the really great news is that there is no cancer!!!  I'm free!!!!!

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