Friday, February 22, 2008

Don't forget to look UP


Well I'm finally starting to feel a bit more normal these days. The itchy burns went through a period of gross oozing pus-iness, but now they seem to have dried out and are healing quite nicely. BMs are still a little painful, but I'm already doing everything the docs (and other folks) have recommended, so I think I'll just have to wait for things to heal up (it's getting better, anyhow). Round 5 is coming up next week...

Energy Levels

One of the things they tell you to expect is a lot of fatigue from the chemo. Lately I've been thinking that my energy with normal activities seems to be pretty good (walking around, driving, eating, doing stuff on the computer), but of course then I realized that most of those normal activities involve just sitting around. I guess maybe there's something to be said for achieving normality when sitting around itself is a bit of a feat because of bottom soreness. For most of last week I was trying to either sit on really cushy things (my mom bought me this Christmas tree pillow a while ago that I sometimes carry around with me) or lie down in a reclined position on my side. Luckily, that seems to be less and less of a problem every day. I can even sit on hard chairs now with no problem (wee! it's so exciting, I know).

In any case, beyond those normal activities, I've really noticed the limits of my energy when I try and exercise. I went "hiking" with my sister two weekends ago (right after my last round), and I started to get winded after a very short incline. We were walking on a trail that was mostly downhill, and then there was a little 2-minute stretch of uphill and all of a sudden my heart was pounding and I was breathing heavily like I had just sprinted 100 meters or something. I felt kind of lame, but once we got to the bottom I made Julia go back and get the car to pick me up.

Supposedly this is not abnormal, though. A couple months ago, I met a guy who had just finished the same chemo regimen as me, and he said he basically wasn't able to do any kind of cardio exercise like running or biking because his heart would start pounding like crazy.

I guess the nice thing about my normal hobby exercises is their scalability. Tai Chi is something you can do at varying levels, no matter what your energy happens to be. Climbing is a bit less scalable, but I've found i can do a little bit and just rest a lot in between climbs. It's kind of frustrating, though, since I want to be able to do a lot more but my body is not letting me. Even Tai Chi can be tiring. I'm hoping I can build back up some amount of strength and endurance. I went climbing yesterday and was able to do quite a bit more than last week. I guess it's a combined effect of all this crap (read: poisonous chemo drugs) taking its toll on me, as well as the simple fact that I haven't really been exercising for the past few months. The latter would probably knock anyone down a few notches in performance, eh?

Looking up

Well, so the other day in a stint of "I feel good"-ness, I decided to drive up to SF to see a friend who had the day off from residency. It of course turned out to be a rainy day after a stint of really nice days, but that didn't bother me too much. I picked her up and we decided to go to the MOMA to check out the latest exhibits. We were originally going to grab lunch, but it was a bit late by the time I got up there, so we decided to just go over to the MOMA and get something quick nearby.

It was just before 3pm and we pulled up to some parking meters right across the street from the MOMA. The spaces were mostly empty but there was at least one other car there. The meters said they were active from 9am-3pm - "Ha! What luck! Free parking!" we said. Somewhere deep in the back of my mind, though, I knew it was too good to be true. We went to get some sandwiches, and when we came out, sure enough, there was my car disappearing around the corner on the back of a tow-truck. Urghh. So we rushed over to where we had parked, thinking, "Okay, what did we miss?". Looking up, we saw the signs that said in fact this was a tow-away zone AFTER 3pm. How nice of the parking meter to let us know. Apparently the readout on the meter does flash "see tow-away restrictions", but only after 3pm. Since we got there a little before 3pm, the meter just said, "expired". I could just hear the its haughty little voice going, "Well, technically there were no tow-away restrictions when you got here, ha ha ha..." I called the number on the sign and got a voice recording telling me where my car had been towed and how to get it back. Luckily, the tow yard was only a few blocks away, and so we trudged over there in the sprinkling rain.

It turns out they actually make it relatively quick and easy for you to get your car back. Make no mistake, that place is a money-making machine (there were probably a good 50-60 cars in the yard), but it's nice that they at least make it easy for you to get gouged. You basically walk into the place, take a number, and wait for them to call you up. There weren't too many people there when we got there (maybe 6-7), so we got called right away. The woman asked for my driver's license and $238.75 (Ack! And that's not including the $60 parking ticket), I gave her my credit card, and we were on our way. I took the receipt to the guy outside and they brought the car around within a few minutes. Then we drove off to Japantown, where the parking was a bit safer, and hung out there for a couple hours.

I guess it's hard to get upset about things like this in light of everything else going on. We didn't get to see the MOMA, but we had a nice walk in the city and eventually ended up in a cute tea shop in Japantown. It was a new experience anyway, albeit an expensive one. I suppose the moral of the story is, when parking in SF, and in life in general, don't forget to look UP...

No comments: