The new normal implies that I know what normal is

I saw my oncologist today and things are basically the same as last month. I didn’t get my tumour marker readings but will update this if and when they come in. My tumour marker is down again, to 4.1. My next CT is in 3 months and we’ll see how that’s going, but it seems the drugs are doing what they’re supposed to do. I showed the doctor the moonscape under my right big toe but alas all there is to do is use a topical cream.

As to the rest, I know people with chronic illness and disability talk about “the new normal” but as of yet, I haven’t figured that out because my body feels like a variable. In part, it’s because the drugs I’m on have shifted in kind and dosage–this time around we are messing with a blood pressure medication because my BP is a little high. In part it’s just unpredictable: I have good and bad days with my hands (though my nail beds always hurt when I trim my nails now…weird), with sleep, with my feet (#moonscape), with energy. I can tell you what “normal” is like today, or this week, but in three months, who knows?

On the last, I’d say that’s what I learned most about this past month. I’ve had a couple weeks with back-to-back 13 hour days, and I mean 13 contact hours (teaching, meetings, events, doing stuff with people), not 13 hours of work while sitting at my desk. I used to be able to do that and maybe feel a little tired the next day. I’m a classic extrovert in that way–I draw energy from people, and I used to love it. This month, I was pretty wiped both times, and my recovery time is longer as well. So I need to adjust how I schedule (and overschedule) myself. I’ve always been an overscheduler, but the goalposts have moved, so I have to figure out where to aim the ball now. In the end, it will probably mean taking meetings on more days to spread it out, which will cut into time to do other stuff during the term (since I need to be vigilant about time off in order to be on when I need to be on), or taking fewer meetings. I do use Skype now and then but it’s not great for my voice (land line is better), so it’s really a fallback rather than something I want to do more of.