I’ve talked myself down since my last post. Once the shock wore off, I thought more about that “prominent” new lesion in my left frontal lobe, and it made sense that said lesion was responsible for my relapse last summer when my right side took a long break from remembering all the things it once knew how to do: balance, walk, drive, write. There were three and a half months between the time my brain was last scanned and when I began treatment, and those months were full of symptoms and setbacks, so that and the other lesions could well have formed then. The possible new lesions on my spine, however, were another matter. I was scanned there just six months ago.
This week has been a busy one. We finished the quarter at the community college, and my break has officially started. I’m not teaching this summer for the first time in many years, and I’m looking forward to the time off. Although I’ll be doing some writing center hours and working on revising a course with my colleagues, not having papers to grade for a few months offers a special kind of freedom.
Yesterday was my first real day off, and I puttered about in the morning, checking e-mail and taking care of the dogs, finally getting out to walk a little later than usual. I was inexplicably tired despite having slept well, my hip and back aching, but I set out anyway. Exactly one year before, I was enduring a spinal tap at that very time; when the procedure was over, I thought things would get better, but dark, dark days of recovery and a relapse and more recovery lay ahead. Perhaps it’s better I didn’t know that at the time. Anyway, I wasn’t going to skip my walk just because I didn’t feel like going; I owed it to the person I was last year who couldn’t go and to the person I am now who can.
Storms from the night before left huge puddles on the walkway, so I did my best to Pitfall Harry over them. Young people, I realize I’m about to lose you here, but for the middle aged and above, please note that although I grew up in the age of Nintendo, my parents would never allow us to have one. We only had an Atari because my father won it in a drawing, and we were allowed to play with it about once a year. It was a pretty big event, so big that I couldn’t tattle on my brother for stabbing me in the leg with a pencil on one of those magical days because I knew we wouldn’t be able to play if I did. I felt like poor, pixelated Harry when I began my walk, moving stiffly, as if I were made of squares, fearing the ground might swallow me whole at any minute. I put on a favorite podcast for distraction but felt slow, my legs heavy, my foot dragging every once in a while. Even though I completed just over a mile, I had to sit for a few minutes two separate times because my legs didn’t want to move anymore. I’m not sure what had me out of sorts.
My spirits were lifted that evening. A notification in my e-mail let me know that there was a note in the portal about my MRI results from Dr. Z. The message was straightforward, a quality of hers I appreciate. She disagreed with the radiologist about there possibly being new lesions on my spinal cord, a great relief, and she affirmed that the lesions on my brain could have formed in the period between when the last scan was taken and when I started Ocrevus. We’ll meet in just over a week in person and talk about this some more. I’m going to ask to be scanned again in November just to make sure there is no new activity, and I have a list of other questions for her as well.
I am making last summer up to myself with the one to come, and those reparations began today. This morning, I did the same walk as yesterday but without needing to stop this time, my foot dragging less. I’m going for another walk after lunch with Maggie, who has finally eaten her breakfast (a requirement to earn her walk), and we’ll stop for coffee on our way home. I’ll cook and listen to music and read this afternoon. I’ll open a good bottle of wine to have with dinner, make cherry-lemon sorbet for dessert.
The scorpion is pacing below, waiting, but as long as I remain up top, swinging over obstacles, jumping on the alligator heads, it can’t get to me. Dr. Z believes I’m stable. So I’m going to believe that, too.