Friday, May 9, 2008

18 Pounds

I had to travel last week, so I packed a daypack to carry on the trip and weighed it. With my laptop computer, it came to 18 pounds. My back seemed strong enough to do it, and I had no problems that I could discern. The knee had only slight twinges from the torque issue, and is almost completely fine. I thought this all was a good sign, and that I might be able to carry some weight (maybe even as much as 20 pounds) on our hikes and the Mt. Whitney trip. But no way do I dare do anything like that without running it past my oncologist!

So I went on Tuesday and 'fessed up to what I've been up to -- hiking and now attempting carrying weight on my back. The look on the dr's face said it all: What in the heck am I thinking?

So I learned a lot more about spinal cord compression, and also just how easily it is to break my spine now that it's been compromised by the metastasis to the bones. Given that one of my friends, who gets infused with methyltrexate, broke 3 vertebrae in her back just moving her couch, I figured I better pay close attn to what the dr is trying to tell me.

So if I continue to try hiking and even attempt overnight hikes like San Jacinto or Whitney, I best not stumble AT ALL, as I cannot risk breaking any bones or having any kind of medical emergency. And I better not carry any weight on my back!

My backpack (already ordered and in transit) and the sleeping bag I'm looking at have a combined weight of under 5 pounds. I stuck my purse on the scale yesterday and found it weighs 4 pounds, and I am routinely carrying it on my back/shoulders. But it's still just too risky--and not the kind of risk I like to take.

I also had 4 or more symptoms return, so I've stopped doing anything for the moment and am just focusing on the oncology. The doctor and I agreed to do a bone scan and see what it shows, as one of my symptoms shrieks of metastasis to the spine again, before I even THINK about trying to carry anything again.

So if for some reason I don't get to use the brand new backpack I bought, I bet it will make a good fit for my tweenage son, who is starting to get seriously into scouting now. But I'm still hoping to pull off carrying at least 5 pounds and using the pack myself to see some backcountry!

It's hard to make the best decisions, balancing the "living" with the "with cancer" part. I need to live, but most of all I need to raise my children to adulthood. So for now, I am waiting on test results and will just take it (somewhat) easy. I was hoping to hike this weekend, but I'll just focus on beating back the cancer some more. I'm sure that's the better choice.

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