It’s New Year’s Eve, and we’re home with a fire going in the wood stove. We’ve spent the last couple of weeks grooming deer trails to make a small system of three trails on a part of the property which has always been a no-man’s land: steep woodland littered with dead Manzanita which has never been cleared. A couple of years ago, we had made one short trail going part of the way out onto the slope in order to limb up some of the trees there. It was close to a place where we burn tree trimmings, and provided a shady resting spot for the cats. I recently decided I needed to turn the deer trails from that point into walking trails so I could have a little hiking course to keep me in shape when I didn’t feel I had the stamina for a real hike. Which is often. I think I sold Marc on the idea because the new trails provide access to the dead Manzanita and make it easier to drag it back to the house for firewood.
So we have lots of firewood, and the cats and I have been enjoying the system of three interlocking trails and the small sitting area I built using some of the dead branches. It’s helping keep me in good shape, gathering Manzanita and walking the trails, and is giving me more incentive to spend time outdoors. And the cats eagerly await our little walks, sometimes losing themselves in the deep ravine for awhile, but usually following me around the trails, occasionally charging up a tree or down a shortcut to a lower trail.
It’s one of the many simple pleasures I’m able to enjoy. Marc commented tonight that I’m healthier now than I was at the end of last year. This is true, even though my prognosis isn’t as hopeful as it seemed to be then. At that time, I knew I had about a 40% chance to live another 5 years. At present, I don’t know what to think, because the odds are all over the place but not as high in any case as they were purported to be a year ago. But odds are just statistics, and feeling good is something real. Last year I was subjected to pain, chemo combo toxic side effects, and one unpleasant physical condition after another. I was filled up to here (hand at level of diaphragm) with high grade, serous carcinoma, which was itching to take over a few significant organs. I wasn’t really feeling up to many simple pleasures during big chunks of the time.
What I’m able to enjoy now is a few weeks at a time of pretending there’s nothing wrong. I’m feeling minimal side effects from the chemo drug I’m on now, and have four weeks between infusions. I felt the same with the last one, although the spell was broken as soon as I had my blood test and CT scan which showed that the drug wasn’t helping. I’ll find out next week if this one is, but in the meantime I can believe it is because there’s no discomfort and no bloating and I’m able to drag Manzanita branches until I drop. And I haven’t dropped yet.
Instead, I’m ringing in a new year, and able to wish all my family, friends and readers of my blog a healthy, active and rewarding new year. And—what the hey—I wish myself the same.