I'm still always thinking about the cancer returning, but I take so much comfort in knowing that I've finally got what I wanted the whole time I was in treatment: I have a chance to feel "normal" for a while (and hopefully forever!). I can step out of cancerland, go for hikes, do meaningful work, and wake up next to my husband. I feel insanely lucky to have this, and I wish I could wrap it up in a box and give it to my friends who don't.
The down side is that I'm feeling totally exhausted from maintenance tasks -- all the little things I do to keep my body healthy. I have trouble staying on top of them all:
- I get monthly Lupron shots.
- I get a Zometa infusion every six months.
- I take a bunch of pills a day at different times. Tamoxifen, vitamin D, and so on.
- I have an exercise plan, because it's associated with reduced risk of cancer recurrence. Note that I do exactly as much exercise as the studies support, and no more ;)
- In order to prevent the worst potential side effect of Zometa -- jaw necrosis -- I keep my teeth fastidiously clean. I floss for ages and use fluoride rinse twice a day.
- I have to keep stretching all the time or I'll get atrophy from my surgeries.
- My sleep is terrible from the Lupron. I'm working on a new plan to fix this.
- My arms still have some issues, though they're much better post-surgery. It's possible that the cancer drugs damaged the nerves. I can totally work around this, but that maintenance (stretches, doctor's visits) is more stuff to remember.
- I go for mammograms and checkups at the cancer hospital.
- There's more, and I'm sure cancer patients can imagine them. Holla, cancer bros.
Okay, so 2.5 years in, and I feel lucky, overwhelmed, and tired of flossing all the dang time. Oh, this magical cancer journey.