dcp, I love my dragon fly! I had a brilliant mailday on Saturday: I received your card & a lovely surprise from hec.
My year: Cancer is definitely the surprise that nobody wants but I did realize that I have a community I can turn to for help & support - both my blinvisible internet friends & friends & family who are less remote.
I’m so glad that we have a sane president & I am trying not to listen too much to the “horse race” politics stuff this early on.
Went through a big pile of mail last night (as I'm starting to feel better, I'm trying to catch up on stuff I've been neglecting), and got lovely cards from Pix & ND, and dcp (I love the butterfly, dcp, so pretty!)
Doubt I will have a wrap-up this year. As stated above by the Lovely Bev, I'm just glad to still be here, and super-glad you guys are still here. (((You guys)))
I don't have much of a wrap-up, I don't think. For me, personally, 2021 was way better health wise than the previous two years, so I am grateful for that. We also moved to a new place that we love, and I'm gainfully employed again, part-time, rolling into full-time at some point next year, most likely. I'm seeing my friends and family again. It's good.
2021 was by no means a good year, but since 2020 was a whirling, swirling shit storm of death, house fires, depression, grief and isolation it was still a step up.
I did not feel more than a brief moment of relief after the 2020 election because I knew Trump and his fuckery enablers would pull some bullshit. I did not however expect the Jan. 6th insurrection. (That happened this year!) I have completely lost faith in a good chunk of my fellow Americans and I am getting that same queasy feeling as I see them lining up the theocratic autocracy they desire.
2021 - the ultimate equivocal year. Ambivalence reigns! Biden takes office! After QAnon fuckbags try to destroy the Republic! We got vaccinated! Except for idiotic vax resistance! The vaccines work brilliantly! The Pandemic isn't over and Omicron is surging! Biden has been a more progressive president than either Obama or Clinton! Those fuckers Sinema and Manchin! Pelosi pushes through the bill! Trump's SCOTUS picks dismantle Roe! Everything seems to be literally on fire except for the parts which are literally torn apart by tornadoes.
And so on. You read the news. I had hoped for a little more hope after Biden's win but now I'm wary.
Still. There were a lot of good things about 2021. The biggest plus for me was simply Matilda being able to return to in-person school and pull out of her isolation depression and form a new circle of friends. Another very good thing is that as JZ's father's estate has been distributed we're in better financial shape than we've ever been. We're house hunting in San Francisco which was beyond imagination two years ago. We have the means to help friends which is lovely.
We also have the means to travel for the first time in a long time and yet because 2021 insists on being itself, the pandemic thwarts plans to see friends and go abroad. For now anyway.
I turned 60 this year. My bout of sciatica two years ago turned out to be a useful wake-up call for me to attend to my health. So I lost weight, run the steps every weekday, have seen the dermatologist and am thinking about Pilates. I intend to do all the things that I can to maintain this frail mortal vessel so I'm upright and ambulatory.
I was in my thirties when I joined this community. Curious how a little niche corner of pop culture can blossom into one of the most enduring things in my life. I am grateful for you all.
I may update more later. I don't know.
This year has been...you know, a year. Most of it personally has been uneventful except I ended up depressed in the summer and made med adjustments that helped. Have been seeing my therapist via telehealth and I wish I could see him more often but after his attempt to try in person appointments his first vaccinated client found out he had covid (and had it during their appointment) and several others have tested positive and he noped out of in person appointments because his son is 3 yrs old and I don't blame him.
My grandmother died in October, she was 101 years old so it was expected and I was sad, especially sad to find out some really neat things about her I didn't know and would have loved to talk to her about. I was on vacation when that happened and ended up with an extended time in Florida because of that. Which I needed. but I got back to work on Nov 1
On the 19th of Nov I hit my head at work, have a concussion and it's been a not fun roller coaster of dealing with worker's comp and being told I'm cleared for work and then uncleared until I can see a neurologist and go back to the walk place for workers comp in 4 weeks.
So I've been out of work during the busiest time of year and I am limiting my screen time.
Oh! I've lost 25 lbs or so since Feb. However, being home and not walking so much at work I've gained a few back. I'm going to have to figure out some way to keep from gaining a lot of weight back (esp since I've gotten rid of most of my clothes that were too big) while I'm out of work. Not sure how to do that yet.
Well, I got a new great-nephew out of it. No one in my immediate family died, and my more conservative family members saw the actions of Republicans as a wakeup call instead of doubling down. While getting to them is a bit fraught due to physical distance, once there I can feel comfortable surrounded by vaxxed and boosted people who wear masks in public, and that's not nothing.
Work continues to go reasonably well. I got challenging projects and received good feedback for my work on them. They're good about not expecting people to come into the office needlessly, although they're not quite at "move out of state and we'll still let you keep your current job".
On the down side, we lost Amyth. It's still weird to walk by her apartment and know she's not there. And one of the neighbors has a frequent visitor who drives a car that's nearly identical to the one Amyth used to drive, so I keep looking out my window going, "Hey, she's home, oh, wait . . . no." That's a bit hard.
More broadly, there are lots of people who don't care whether or not other people die and aren't willing to so much as tie a bit of cloth across their face or get a free shot (that might save their own lives!) to help prevent it. I mean, I knew there were collections of pond sludge walking around in people suits before all this. I just didn't know there were so many of them.
It's getting to the darkest point of the year in the northern hemisphere. I'm hoping that time will bring more light in many ways.
The short version: I have survived 2021. Treatments for my prostate cancer have been very effective. I'm not cured, and cure is not expected, but ongoing treatments are keeping the cancer well suppressed. Dealing with the side effects of those treatments continues to be unpleasant. I have good days and I have bad days, but I'm not dead yet.
Cancer is bad. Do not recommend.
I finished chemo for the second time in early March. The recovery has been difficult and slow and is still ongoing.
March in particular was very bad:
1) amyth died. Her diagnosis came several months after mine, but her cancer was much more severe and she had a much rougher time while being treated for it. I still have some survivor's guilt.
2) I had blood in my urine for most of the month. I'm glad it turned out to be nothing more serious than irritation due to the chemo, but it was very scary at the time.
3) I had severe diarrhea for two weeks. Unpleasant and debilitating.
4) I had severe disruption of my taste perception. For a week, even plain water tasted bad. Filtered, unfiltered, bottled, I tried them all. I survived on chicken broth, V8 juice, Gatorade, and water but had to use a fat straw so that I didn't have to taste any of it for long. Nine months later, my sense of taste has only partially recovered. Many things still taste different, or "off," or downright bad.
But I survived March, and April was a little better. I was able to get vaccinated against Covid-19.
I don't remember May at all. My calendar tells me I had three medical appointments: a blood draw, an oncology consult, and a dental cleaning.
I finally got some decent pictures of a hummingbird at this apartment. [link] I've only been trying for thirteen years.
My lower back pain flared up again in early June. I lived with it through July and August. I asked for help in September. The good news is that this time the pain does not appear to be directly cancer-related. The diagnosis was "spondylosis," a.k.a. osteoarthritis, i.e. "He's old and his back hurts." The doctor agreed to re-start my meloxicam prescription, and it has worked well for me so far. Walking is no longer slow, painful, wobbly, and uncertain. Putting on socks is no longer slow agony. I have been able to try to exercise more. I just hope my kidneys continue to tolerate the medication.
I still get periodic blood tests, CT scans, and bone scans. The good news is that the chemotherapy and the androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) have worked very well, much better than I expected, and my cancer is currently well suppressed. The bad news is that the ongoing ADT treatments have a wide variety of unpleasant side effects.
Last year I posted, "Loss of muscle, lack of strength, lack of stamina, and an increase in overall fatigue have all become very noticeable...." Those side effects are all still problems for me, and I am coping with them, but not as well as before. I have had a lot more muscle atrophy, and the lack of strength and stamina is profound. It has severely limited my ability to maintain an exercise routine, but I keep trying.
Two other ADT side effects are causing me difficulty, particularly with work -- I am emotionally much more volatile (quicker to tears, quicker to anger, quicker to take offense when none was intended, recurring depression) and some mental deficits have become apparent (loss of vocabulary, loss of attention span, difficulty maintaining concentration, difficulty with memory, difficulty with planning, difficulty learning new things). Both are getting harder and harder to hide, but I haven't been fired. Yet.
I have lost my skill at mental arithmetic, in which I once took such pride. The space where I visualized calculations and formulae and short-term tables is completely gone. Now I need a calculator (or pencil and paper) to do even the simplest operations.
I am now officially diabetic. I knew I was at increased risk due to the ADT, but it seems my efforts at diet and exercise have been inadequate. One more problem to be depressed about.
The depression comes and goes. It became a lot easier to fight back the brain weasels once I stopped hurting so much.
Getting old is no fun, but I suppose it is still better than the alternative.
In June of 2019 I did not really expect to live to see 2022; now that it looks like I will, I suppose it is time to set my sights on 2023.
Oh dcp, surviving 2021 clearly was a major accomplishment. I'm sorry it has been so much and sincerely hope 2022 is much easier. I really understand how frustrated and upset you must be with the mood and mental changes. It is a much more common issue with many illnesses and treatments than is often discussed. I do enjoy seeing your photography and hope that you are feeling enough energy to do more of it next year.
dcp, thank you for sharing so much of all you are going through with us. I wish you good health and every good thing.