Take the Life Expectancy Calculator Quiz and find out! To be honest, I’m not sure I want to live to 87, but ask me again when I’m 85. 😉
It’s not easy to find beauty in an oncology waiting room, but I have always loved these ripply floor to ceiling windows. This visit wasn’t as scary as other times, since I already knew the results of the last PET scan, so it was mostly to check new blood work and arrange the next scan.
I have such mixed feelings whenever I go to the hospital. Part of me hates it, another part feels so grateful because they saved my life, and yet another part just hopes I will never ever need to sit in the other section of the oncology waiting room, waiting for treatment. This time I got to walk home and enjoy every breath.
One of the many joys of living in Sevilla is that I get to wear sandals 8 months of the year. Which means I still have to wear shoes for 4 months, each day of which makes me feel somehow TRAPPED, especially when I also have to wear tights (socks are bad enough). My toes were meant to wriggle around free, so of course the first thing I do when I get home is kick off my footwear and go barefootin’.
Well, okay, in summer I also give my feet a nice cool wash after being outside in HOT SANDAL WEATHER. And in winter I need to wear slippers to keep my feet warm, but always opt for the soft “fluffy sock” kind of slipper, rather than the ones that are basically shoes with hard soles. In short, whatever is or feels closest to being barefoot is when I feel the most comfortable and my feet are happiest.
And so today, while taking a nice long afternoon break to watch a film (hols at home!) I was struck by a couple of scenes with people at home WEARING SHOES and it occurred to me that this is always happening in films and television programmes. People wearing shoes at home. Like, while they’re cooking or relaxing… today it was a guy lounging on the sofa reading the newspaper and WEARING SHOES. I mean seriously, do people in real life actually do this?
While I was in the throws of The Torcal Incident a couple of weeks ago, Victor asked me if I wore shoes at home or went barefoot. Perhaps he was just trying to take my mind off possibly having to be airlifted out of the place with two broken ankles, but he said that he’d heard that older people (presumably ME) had way better balance if they didn’t wear shoes at home. And again I thought “who the hell wears shoes at home?”
So I ask you… do you wear shoes at home? And if so… WHY?
THIS is what I ended up drinking instead of Tío Pepe en Rama today! But I’m getting ahead of myself. What happened was that after a lazy Sunday I settled down with Morcilla to watch some Netflix and have a late lunch (roasted cauliflower and parmesan noodles) and about an hour later I started feeling sharp pains in my upper abdomen. It got so bad that I had to go lie down, and after awhile the vomiting started. This lasted all night and by morning I was in so much pain I could barely stand up. Yep, it was time to go to Emergency.
When I got there I had my belly prodded and was immediately x-rayed, had blood taken, and was given an intravenous blast of painkiller (phew!). And about an hour or so later I was told the dreaded news that I would be staying in for Observation. They suspected an obstruction and, given my history, didn’t want to take any chances. I had been hoping it was my hernia acting up, but the doctor said the hernia wasn’t “presenting as a problem”. She said it was more likely the adhesions, but that they wanted to rule out, you know, CANCER. So I was wheeled over to Observation, where I put on my gown and got into bed. Luckily by this time the vomiting had stopped otherwise I would have had to have the super-dreaded NASOGASTRIC tube stuck down me in order to ingest the liquid you see above (a contrast agent for the second x-ray, for comparison with the first). Imagine licorice-flavoured snot…
Long story short, the second x-ray didn’t show anything alarming and by this time I had had a BM (more proof there wasn’t a serious obstruction anywhere) and was told that if I was fine (no vomiting) after having a snack, then I could go home. I also got to see the surgeon who had performed all my ops. But I was already counting the minutes – being in the Observation is not an experience I would wish on anybody – so when they suggested I also stay for dinner just to be sure I PROMISED I would come back immediately if there was the slightest return of the previous symptoms. And so they let me go.
What a Monday. I was supposed to have gone to the presentation of this year’s Tío Pepe en Rama, which has become something of a tradition. But to be honest, I was just so relieved that nothing was seriously wrong, and so happy to be back home with the cats, that missing the event didn’t seem so important. I’m supposed to stick to a bland diet for awhile as they are still not sure what caused the temporary obstruction. But as you can see below, adhesions are quite nasty things to have, and can cause all kinds of painful (and sometimes deadly) mayhem. Since I have had four major abdominal surgeries you can imagine the mess that’s going on in there. There is a chance of having some of the adhesions removed, but as this would involve another surgery, it will probably end up with more adhesions later on anyhow. Will have to seek some medical advice about this.
I can’t believe it’s been four months (!!!) since my left knee gave out (followed by my spectacular fall up the stairs) and I had to stop going to the gym. Thanks to Sled, I was able to start doing some trigger point therapy, which helped a lot. In fact, I probably could have gone back to the gym a month ago, but with the end of the holidays, my birthday stuff, etc, I probably would’ve missed two weeks anyhow. So this is a photo of my gym that I swiped from their website. Those are the bikes I ride (for a whole hour!) and that’s one of the machines I use (left hand corner). It actually feels great to be back. For now, three days a week.
Today I had to go see my new oncologist. Which wasn’t nerve-wracking as I had already got the ALL CLEAR good news results just after my most recent PET scan a couple of weeks ago. Some of you may recall that a few years ago my then oncologist totally misread my results and told me I only had a year to live. The asshat hadn’t even seen the biopsy report, she just handed out a death sentence. After that I started seeing the sub-director of Oncology, and that was great. I could talk to her, she got things done, and all tests went smoothly. Until she got cancer!
And so last year I was told that after this year’s PET scan I would be transferred back to my original oncology group. Well, okay. Except I walked into the office this afternoon and I swear there were two 14-year-olds sitting there. And their idea was that I should have a CT scan in 6 months and, if that went well, I would continue with annual CT scans. WTF? I told them that last year (after reaching the five year cancer free point) I’d been told I would be having PET-CT scans anually, and they said “BY WHO?”… honestly, they couldn’t have been more unprofessional (caught one of them giggling at me as I was getting up to leave). Anyhow, we have left it that they would get in touch with Nuclear Medicine and sort out the next step of my future scans. Meanwhile, I’d rather be getting the PET-CT scans, wouldn’t you?
The jury (well, my doctor) is still out on the No Cycling Situation especially after my spectacularly stupid fall up the stairs, further damaging my knee. It’s been a month since I’ve been to the gym now, and I really miss it! I am considering getting a private trainer for awhile at least, because if I show up for regular pilates or yoga classes with a list of things I can’t do I’ll be like a gluten & lactose intolerant vegan asking for a food tour. And yeah, I know there are probably other things I can do at the gym on my own, but I’d like to get a good routine going that takes into account stuff like my knee, lower back and hernia issues.
Meanwhile I received this fab book from my dear friend Sledpress and, in spite of me not doing the treatments as often as I should, the knee has noticeably improved. I’m still not dancing up and down the stairs, but at least now I don’t have to take them one step at a time. So… progress! Thanks again, Sled.
Yesterday I had one of my famous “fall up the stairs” moments and – you guessed it – landed on my already damaged knee. Luckily (?) I already had my x-ray appointment booked so, instead of spending 5 hours waiting at emergency today, I grabbed a taxi to the clinic and was there and home again in less than 45 minutes. According to Dr A, there’s nothing broken, so that’s something. But I had to cancel my meetings and other activities for the rest of the day and have been sitting here with my leg up. Very frustrating because I had lots to do today, but I also have to work tomorrow, so I’d better give my knee a rest and hope it’s better in the morning. How’s your day been?
So dammit! Years ago I used to run almost every morning. It was the only aerobic exercise that I enjoyed. Then when I reached 40 my lower back and hips gave out, so I had to stop. And so I bought a bicycle and took regular jaunts along the river (though it actually felt like more exercise lugging the thing up and down three long flights of stairs). More recently I’ve taken to riding the recumbent bike at the gym, where I actually get a good sweat going, usually riding for about an hour.
Then my left knee starting giving me grief, starting a few months ago, feeling all stiff and achy, especially on the stairs. I chalked it up to age & weight and just got on with things. Until the other morning. Somehow overnight the knee situation got serious and it was suddenly VERY painful. So yesterday I went to see Dr Agustín and he wiggled my knee around a bit and went “whoah, listen to that!”. “That” being a clickety-click sound that I’d been trying to ignore. Anyhow, it seems I have a bad case of osteoarthritis which, yep, is most likely due to age & weight. And apparently there’s not much (anything?) I can do about it, other than lose weight to alleviate the stress on the knee. Except I was told to stop cycling (at least until Dr A sees the x-rays I’m getting done next week), which will make weight loss even more difficult. *sigh*