Wednesday, April 18, 2007

An Unwanted Journey: Day 0511 - Regular "Middle-Aged" Problems

This year I'll be turning 54 years old. My sons keep trying to tell me that that means I'm not really middle-aged anymore. I'm old.

Maybe, but they'll have to drag me kicking and screaming into the senior's bracket.

Still, whatever age category they, or anyone else, wants to apply to me, it's good to go to my family physician these days and have him tell me that I need to lose some weight and get my cholesterol levels down. My blood pressure is almost perfect, my triglyceride levels excellent, and my hemoglobin levels have bounced back nicely. But my overall cholesterol/HDL ratio is too high and my blood sugar levels are too high.

What's the treatment? Walk at a leisurely pace for about 30 minutes each day and eat smaller portions of food. Aim to lose no more than 1 lb per month, and arrange for another set of blood tests in 6 months.

OK. Happy to do so. In fact, I'd already started an ELFS diet (Eat Less Food, Stupid) on Monday and started walking on the rebounder or treadmill. These things I can do.

But you don't know how wonderful it is to deal with standard medical issues like this after the past 18 months of wondering whether I'd be alive at this point. As I recover gradually, I look forward to being able to walk without worries about bowel control and discomfort...well, at least fewer worries.

The "new normal" is still something that I'm discovering these days. But it is now incontrovertible that the neuropathy is gradually dissipating, that my energy levels are improving slightly, that I sleep for more prolonged periods of time, and that I generally feel more confident with everyday activities.

But it's not all good. Household chores and physical activity at work can still surprise me with the realization that I have very little endurance. I can get imbalanced far more readily and fatigued by just a half hour of unanticipated extra work. How much is getting older and how much of that is a result of my battle with cancer is still hard to figure out.

But here I am - middle-aged and loving it.


Anonymous said...

Sir, I applaud your sucess! Can you share with us what meds you have taken to regain your health when neuralagia set in?

Don Spencer said...

Thank you. The neuropathy I experienced was treated during chemotherapy with a magnesium/calcium infusion, both before and after I received the FolFox (fluorourcail, folinic acid and oxaliplatin). After chemotherapy was concluded, I was advised to continue with ordinary calcium/magnesium supplements. But I ended chemotherapy in September 2006. It is now closing in on the end of April, and I still have neuropathy in the feet and just a little left in the fingers. My medical oncologist told me that the side-effects could continue for up to a year.

I hope that helps. If not, email me directly and I'll try to answer your questions in more detail.