'Normal' has a different meaning for the cancer patient

Published3/10/2008 12:08 AM

It's easy to take simple things for granted.

Thanks to a more-than-willing editor, my last column ran right on time, in its appointed place, in spite of the fact that I was nowhere near my computer. She took the column by phone.


Writing this one feels more normal, though my body does not.

After about a month in the hospital doing physical therapy and occupational therapy, I'm finally home. Radiation zapped the tumors that had been pushing on my spine, but the resulting neuropathy still has me locked in its grip, unable to cross a room without help.

I have had caregivers coming and going through a revolving door, each with a different method to get me to a standing position from lying down. "Upstairs" might as well be a different world.

Today was a banner day. I actually made oatmeal from a seated position. I added chocolate and it was good to go.

Tuna is another mainstay. After all, we all need our daily quota of mercury.

New words have entered my vocabulary. We "transfer" from one position to another -- often with the help of a "gait-belt" around the waist. These handy gadgets give caregivers something to hold "just in case."

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We pretend to ignore desires to answer nature's call, unless someone is nearby to help.

My internal clock has re-set itself. At night, I force myself to stay awake long enough to sleep until as close to 7:30 or 8 a.m. as I can, just so I'm in sync with the rest of the world.

The best part of being back home is to be in front of my computer. It helps me to feel more "normal," but even that term has taken on new meaning

My radar is up and working to find human interest stories.

The "experts" tell me that it could take as long as a year to regain 90 percent of what had been my regular walking. They also reassure me that it will come back.

It's good to look forward to something positive as I fall asleep with my chemo dripping into the port in my chest.

Spring is always ripe with possibilities. None of them is simple and I take none for granted.

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