After a Long Silence….

It’s been months since I’ve posted. It’s not like nothing has been happening, but more like so much has been happening I just couldn’t find the headspace to write it all down as it was happening.

We’ve finished moving into our new home in Tacoma. We’re now about 35 miles south of Seattle and 55 miles south of our old home in Bothell. We “own” this one, or at least we own 40% of it. We’re paying $600/month less than we did renting, for a house that’s pretty much the same size.

Moving has been a process we started in December and finished at the end of February. Now we’re doing the unpacking side of things. We’ve taken so long because we’ve been getting rid of stuff along the way. Both of us carted a lot of our stuff into the old place over the 9 years we were there, and now it either all has to fit into the new space or be gone. We’re doing the big give-aways carefully, usually finding people to receive the stuff before letting it go. A lot of other stuff goes off to Goodwill, St. Vincent dePaul’s, or Habitat for Humanity. We’ve repainted and replaced a lot of stuff in the place before we moved in too. Many things done and still to do, but it’s looking pretty nice here.

I get my next CT scan and blood tests this coming Tuesday. Frankly I’m worried about it. I think I’m having symptoms of a recurrence. Recently my appetite has been lacking and in mornings I’ve had mild nausea, but just mild. I’ve lost weight so that I’m now at 180 lbs but I’m crawling back up again. My back muscles are really painful, enough to wake me up 2-3 times a night so I’ve been running some sleep deprivation too. Last night was better than the last 3 weeks but it’s more me adjusting to the pain rather than it going away.

The wonderfully ambiguous nature of pancreatic cancer is at work here too. All of these symptoms can be explained by my activities over the past couple of months too. I’ve done an extraordinary amount of lifting and toting, and did that after a year of very light activity while going through and recovering from treatment. It would be natural that my back muscles would be hurting after that, and especially since I’ve also had upper back pain due to desk working which I’ve carried for years. It’s also easy to explain the lost weight by the fact that I’ve been burning more calories and taken less time to eat. Since I need digestive enzymes to make up for my much smaller pancreas I can explain occasional bloating and fatigue periods as being caused by inconsistent use of Creon digestive enzymes when I eat.

So I find myself thinking about these interpretations a lot. Like at 3 in the morning as I try to stretch, self massage, and get comfortable enough to go back to sleep. In 4 days I’ll know better. You can also bet that during those awake times I’ve plotted the possible test and scan results and have some idea of how I feel about each one and what I’d do. One common thing I need to do across all the permutations is to take time with Melissa and my close family and friends to fill in my POLST forms, in case my health takes a dive where I can’t make good decisions anymore.

We’ve been having a few magnificent days here. Sunny and cool, Tacoma also has a lot more breezes and winds than Bothell had. We’ve been out walking the dogs and it’s wonderful. Except when it’s not so great. A few days ago we were had walked to a nearby pharmacy and I was about to go inside to get a prescription for Baxter. I was holding Tina’s leash so I handed it over to Melissa and walked away. Tina being the tiny terror that she is, shot right after me and pulled Melissa off balance enough to plow into the ground, left temple first, which drove her brand new glasses into her left brow, giving her a heck of a cut and shiner. Bloody pandemonium too. We now have a much more rigorous protocol for handing dog leashes off to each other. Presence is required. One cannot be thinking about something else.

But what days!!! I gotta say, Tacoma is being very nice to us. This is a walking neighborhood. Our part of town sits up about 300 feet on a slab of bedrock, topped with the effluvia of the last glaciation period. It’s a couple of square miles in size and forms the horn of northern Tacoma, sticking out into Elliott Bay. There was a lot of ice up here and I’m sure it formed several glacial lakes as it thawed. I’m also willing to bet that these lakes would occasionally drain out catastrophically like little Spokane floods. The evidence are all these impressive gouges cut into the edges of the slab, all around. The gouges are steep and extreme enough that it is hard to imagine they were formed by anything less than rapid catastrophic flooding. Supporting evidence would be the stratigraphy of sedimentary deposits at their bases. Anyway, these were turned into city parks, and they are great. Lush, green and cool. Perfect Pacific Northwest wildness in the middle of town. I can live with that. We have one junior version of these gouges just a mile south of us and easily walkable.

So I’m taking a day off. These last few days I’ve intended to not do heavy physical work and have somewhat succeeded, so today Melissa made me take the day off from that, and to nap even. I only did about 5 or 6 lifts today so yay, that’s less than usual. now I’m on the couch with the dogs. Later we’ll go for a walk.