Entering a New Phase of Life

Given I am a year + out of treatment and am on the six month cat-scan plan, I decided to share a little bit about some of the changes I have experienced.

twingAs mentioned in a previous post, I weaned myself from sertraline (for anxiety).  It’s amazing what an itty bitty dose of some drugs can do to a person.  I would have never survived being a drug addict.  Good grief.  I have pretty much conquered the “aggressiveness” my husband person had to endure.  There were times I was like a frayed rope.  Oh my!


So now I am down to just taking synthroid (for hypothyroidism) and some extra calcium and vitamin D for my bones.  Yea!

Last visit to the PCP, had a BP of 117/80.  Yea again!

And hairs are growing like crazy!  Mostly gray now, small price to pay for being alive, eh?


Those who read previous posts know that I developed “chemo brain.”  To say I was fuzzy-brained would be the understatement of the decade.  Memory loss, inability to engage in complex thought, etc were part of my norm during and for a period of time after the chemo treatments.

And today?  I still have a little of the chemo-brain.  I get things mixed up once in a while, especially when it comes to time and remembering small tasks.  But I don’t leave the stove on any more 🙂

However, I am able to add small groups of numbers in my head now.  I also have regained most of my ability to analyze language as I used to do.  Hurrah.


One of the unexpected consequences I experienced during and after chemo was weight gain.  So many folks lose weight.  I actually gained weight while in treatment and for several months afterward I just kept gaining.  Go figure.

So here I am looking like an overgrown pumpkin.  Now before all this happened, I wouldPumpkin have become depressed and really crawled in a hole.

Times have changed and so has my attitude.  Instead of just berating myself, I have opted to simply tackle the issue as I did with the treatments.

I have set about to lose the weight one ounce at a time.  That may sound silly, but I can easily envision losing 2 – 3 ounces a day.  Just like killing cancer cells one at a time.

I also turn to others for advise and ideas.  For example, one of the visitors here, tannngl, has a site that is helpful.  You can visit her site HERE.  She discusses nutrition, exercise and includes her faith as well.  I recommend it. (You can also access it on the sidebar under Health and Well-Being.)

So that is where I am one + year later.

If you or someone you know would like to share experiences relative to life after treatment for cancer, please encourage them to do so.

As always …

I Are Here

I Are Here

And Every Day is a Holiday

21 Comments on “Entering a New Phase of Life”

  1. peppermintfarm says:

    Mrs. Al,

    You are a true inspiration and trooper. We don’t care that you had a chemo brain, have gained weight, had no hair. We love you just as you are. And it’s wonderful that you approach life with such good spirits even battling cancer. Everyone who has cancer now should read your story on how to get through all of what you went through. luv ya.

    • Mrs. AL says:

      You are most kind, Pepper!

      And I would hope that at some point, others how have engaged in this battle or care-givers would simply put a note here that they have something to share. I am quite open to doing more “Guest Posts.” Each experience is unique to the folks involved.

  2. thedrpete says:

    I’ve faced challenges — everyone does — Mrs, AL, but nothing close to cancer brain. You keep writing and relating, and I’ll keep reading and always learning. Surely as result, when the big one hits me, I’ll be better prepared. Thanks, Mrs. AL, in advance.

    • Mrs. AL says:

      Chemo brain is pretty universal is my understanding. It varies in intensity and lasting power based upon strength of the drugs used and the individual. The Onc told us that I may indeed have lasting effects. However, they are not debilitating (at least not so you could tell — hahaha).

      You have indeed faced challenges, DrPete. And you took those disadvantages and turned them around. Not everyone does or even can do that depending on their make-up. I could have easily curled up and died. The Lord knew I needed to learn how to fight. I am married to a fighter like yourself.

      As for “being prepared,” that’s a tough subject for many to contemplate, let alone articulate publically. My compliments.

  3. CW says:

    Thanks again for sharing more of your experience, Mrs. AL. I think it’s helpful for all of us to gain an understanding of what cancer patients go through, as everyone will be touched by it in one way or another during their life times. I find, reading your posts here, that your enthusiasm for life is a nice reminder to me to push my reset button now and then and remind myself not to take things for granted. It’s too easy to do.

    BTW, I leave the stove on (and the iron, and the TV, and the lights, as my husband likes to point out) and I’ve spent countless moments with my fingers poised above the keyboard, staring at the computer whilst trying to remember what is was I wanted to say….and I don’t have the excuse of chemo-brain. So don’t worry, you’re okay.

    Good luck on the weight loss. I’ve been trying to lose weight and it’s not easy. I don’t want to give anything up!

    • Mrs. AL says:

      Taking things for granted, CW, is a humanoid thing, I think. I find myself doing the very same thing. I also have to push that “reset button.” But at least we spell it correctly — haha.

      Ok, we have switched roles in our households. I am constantly turning off lights after my husband person. I also remind him to put things back where he found them. We are annoying, aren’t we? 🙂

      I appreciate the encouragement on the weight loss. I hope to get down to a small blimp size soonly. Ounce by ounce, I will lose it. And so will you.

      And you are welcome, CW.

  4. tannngl says:

    You have come far, Mrs. AL. And through it you have learned a lot. You know it’s next to impossible to do an attitude transplant.I mean, we are so resistant to changing our stripes. They’re indellibly printed on us! Every once in a while, someone succeeds. You are that one in a million!

    God has blessed you with many talents. You write well. You have a frank way of pointing out truth. Yet you are kind. And now you have had that attitude transplant! I’ll have to say, God has some very special things for you to do in your life.

    Thanks for the plug! And the solo link on your side bar. I can’t thank you enough.
    I’ve come up with a few new menus and hubby has had a slight relapse in his weight. He began eating fruit every day though I told him he would start to gain. He did. About 5 pounds. However, he cut out the fruit and is now at a new low. And I have lost just 20 pounds, no more. Yet. But I have become consistent with walking about 2 miles/day and resistance training 2-3 times/week for the last 4 weeks. Trying to make it a habilt.

    Well, thanks again Mrs. AL. I’ll keep you and husband person in my prayers. You’re a star.

    • thedrpete says:

      While I have no-nil-nada-zero-zip-zilch recommendation or guidance for anyone — not a sole soul — on the subject of weight loss, I have been pleased over the last 6-7 years to drop 1/4 of my body weight, that despite a slight increase in muscle mass.

      • Mrs. AL says:

        Not a problem, DrPete. One of the beauties of humanoids is that we are all different and help in different ways. Sure would be boring otherwise, and lop-sided to boot!

        Just out of curiosity, how did you drop the body weight?

        Side note: my PCP is pleased when I gain muscle, no matter what the scale says.

        • thedrpete says:

          Two distinct programs, Mrs. AL. First, when at 5’6″+ I weighed 174 lbs I asked myself what it took calories-wise to feed a moderately-activelate-60s-150 lb man. I then chose what to retain in my diet and what to forego. After a year, I weighed 152 lbs and was stable there.

          After substantial research into what has been done vis-a-vis our food supply following and in knee-jerk-stupid response to Erlich’s “Population Bomb”, I determined to eschew (now hybridized) wheat, corn and other grains along with sugar and all food additives (nitrates, nitrates, sulfites, sulfates, etc.), cured meats. After a year, I weighed in at 128 lbs and have been stable there for now two years. No bread, no pizza, no pasta . . . ever. No sugar . . . unless it’s, say, about 18th on the ingredients list.

          I’m now a regular at the gym, but that has nothing to do with weight.

      • tannngl says:

        Thanks, Dr. Pete, for visiting! And your comment!

        May I ask how you dropped one fourth of your body weight? And muscle mass increase is a wonderful thing!

        • thedrpete says:

          Please see my reply just above your query, tanningl.

          • tannngl says:

            Oops. I am red-faced.
            When I saw your post I thought you had visited my site. So sorry.

            That is just about how we have done the weight loss here. And it’s working very well. Husband looks almost as he looked the day I met him at the airport when he came home from the Lackland Air Force Base from basic training! Just not as muscular…YET! 😀 We’re working on that. At 68 we won’t have the great muscle masses we had in our youth but we should come very close.

            Thanks thedrpete!

            • thedrpete says:

              I spent a lot of time at Randolph AFB along with Brooks and Lackland there in San Antonio. I directed and coordinated courses for O and NCO club managers worldwide for a number of years. USAF MWR is based at Randolph.

              I don’t think in terms of muscle mass appearance because I’m an ektomorph, once a pretty good distance runner.

    • Mrs. AL says:

      You are most kind, tannngl. I don’t think of myself that way. However comma I thank you (it’s rude not to be grateful, eh?) I really have to say that my attitude adjustment is the result of that 2×4 to the head thing. I am, by nature, stubborn. Prayer, submission to the Lord and having folks around me who are willing to tell me some hard truths has been indispensable Isn’t life great?!!!

      I am able to exercise more consistently. My innards have pretty much remodeled from the chemicals so I am more consistently strong now. I haven’t begun real resistance training yet. I am still building up cardio.

      Now I haven’t had the opportunity to sneak any cauliflower into the house to try the mashed cauliflower/potato-like recipe yet. Haven’t been able to get out of the driveway by myself much due to ice up here in the mountains. however comma I plan on trying it soon. Sounds yummy to the max!

      Well now, I sure put a lot of words down. This is fun.

      Thanx for your visit, tannngl. And I am reading every one of your posts, I subscribe.

      • tannngl says:

        Oh, DO try that cauliflower mash!!!! Add lots of garlic and the cream cheese. It is one of our most favorite veggies! Next, I’m looking for a way to make gravy without flour…

  5. Gar Swaffar says:

    Whoa! I have chemo-brain moments…..without the chemo! And one or maybe two grey hairs also…or actually the snowwhite version.

    Taking back life one day or one ounce at a time is a perfect solution – Three Cheers For someone who is Always Learning!

    • Mrs. AL says:

      Thank you so much, Gar. The chemo brain thing can be funny as all get out. My hope is that my hair will turn snow-white. I think it’s a great color.

      And three cheers to you and all who encourage, Gar. We are in this life together until we are called Home, eh?

      Your comment brought to mind the song “One Day at a Time,” by Christie Lane.

  6. Jesse Norman says:

    I hate pills, too. I don’t know how people want to take them. I’m glad you’re doing better. I’ll be praying for you. Keep your eye in the prize.

    • Mrs. AL says:

      Thanx so much, Jesse ! And I will keep my eyes fixed on the prize. It’s very comforting.

      Yea, pills have never been my favorite thing. Not sure why. I just want to stay off prescribed meds as long as I can.

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