This winter’s end has been mild, snowless and unusually benign. Although its given some days the raw, discouraging gray-brown of November, much of the time it has looked bright and felt hopeful and encouraging to me. Now that it is official, spring has, paradoxically, come in with a blanket of snow and a no-school day. Both Tom and I have been at home today, pursuing various tasks and treasuring the wood stove warmth. Our new cat, the former little unwed mother, is now luxuriating in her role as the house princess.
Some good news to report: I am having a sustained positive response to Xeloda. Also known as capecitabine, this oral chemo was first prescribed to me in September of 2014. Over the last 18 months the dose has twice been adjusted downward, and I now take 2000 mg a day, every other week. I do have side effects that interfere with daily living, but they are episodic, and manageable with adjustments in my activity level or with, very occasionally, medicines for nausea, gastric pain or lower GI stuff. On the whole, I feel pretty good. Three or four days of every two weeks, I will get a dominant level of fatigue, unrelated to the amount of sleep I get. It feels a lot like an after-the-flu kind of fatigue, and eventually it passes. My hemoglobin runs low, but its just a point or so below the normal range. A scan last month showed that there is no visible increase in the mets that I have, and some of them in the lungs have reduced. Ca 15-30, a cancer marker test, shows a stable, only mildly elevated series of readings.
Confidence builds confidence, and I feel a lot more engaged in every day life, and much less like a prisoner waiting for the axe to fall. I had a wonderful escape in early March when I accepted an invitation to Florida to join some very old friends from the 1970’s, fellow counselors from a girl’s camp at which I worked. What a combination of warmth, hilarity, reminiscing and just lounging at the beaches this was! I donned a bathing suit and swam for the first time in a couple of years. I felt so normal and happy. AND I, never one to wear the things, actually bought a HAT!
Another aspect of my Florida visit involved watching, and listening to, a pair of ospreys construct their nest and begin to feed their offspring. We spent five of our nine days in a beautiful vacation house on a canal in Sugarloaf Key. Our host had installed a 25′ nesting platform two decades ago, and this was the first year in which it was inhabited. Spring comes earlier to the Keys, and the entire visit was a like entering a tidal wave of blossoms, warm breezes, screened porch life and indolent afternoons. The osprey pair, sailing about and calling, bringing eels and sticks and fish to the homestead, kindled a fascination we all shared. At sundown, we could still hear their keening call as the palms and mangroves seemed to withdraw from sight.