For about the last three or four weeks, I’ve been feeling a bit stronger each day. As the chemo leaves my system, I can do more – walk farther and faster, stand longer, do more activities in a day. I’m receiving the good energy so many people are sending to me for the radiation not to cause swelling or burning, and so far, I’ve not had either. Well, not where it really matters. The seroma at the node-removal site has filled back up, but that doesn’t affect the radiation dosage. It’s been swollen since around Christmas and should gradually go away as my body figures out that those nodes are gone and that it has to work without them. I feel that when radiation is over and my body isn’t being assaulted with chemicals or radiation, then the node-removal site will be able to adjust to my body’s “new normal.”
I’ve wanted to get out and enjoy this beautiful spring, and I’ve found a place to walk after my radiation treatments. This walking trail is in Ft. Oglethorpe and is convenient because it’s on my way home. It has all of the criteria I need. It is pretty, has plenty of people around so that it feels safe, and has benches in case I need to sit and rest. This stream runs next to the trail (it’s called a “trail,” but it’s actually a wide sidewalk) and is a delightful place just behind the businesses on Highway 2. I had no idea that a place this pretty is so close to the Ft. Oglethorpe strip. It’s a hidden gem. Today I walked for about the same amount of time as I did last Tuesday, but this time I could keep a faster pace and made it farther. I’m encouraged knowing that each week I’m able to do more and more.
I had a real treat, a magical day, on Sunday. A friend contacted me Saturday night to see if I wanted to go look at wildflowers at The Pocket (at Pigeon Mountain). Just the week before, other friends told me I needed to go there, so I took her up on the offer. I’ve lived in this county for almost 29 years and have never been to The Pocket. Finally, that has been remedied. This is another perfect place for me at this point in my recovery because it has a boardwalk with lots of places to sit. The boardwalk is surrounded by wildflowers at this time of the year. When people told me in the past about The Pocket, I wondered how I’d never come across this site. I’ve driven over most of Walker County. How did I miss this place? Well, now I know. It’s because it’s not marked on any of the main roads. You have to know where you’re going. Several wildflower sites online have directions to The Pocket, and they also say that it’s perhaps the best place in Georgia to see wildflowers. For me, it was a blessing to have the energy to be out with a dear friend, looking at beautiful wildflowers on a perfect spring day. Days like this feel magical to me, as if fairies are just out of my vision field, waving their wands to conjure up beauty and connections.
Since I’m feeling stronger each day, my Savannah trip to see Sahkanaga on April 9th is looking more and more as if it will become reality. Though this photo is from spring a few years ago, I hope to be taking yet another series of photos of the Forsyth Park Fountain in a couple of weeks. This is the longest period in my lifetime that I’ve gone without being in the Coastal Empire, either Savannah or Effingham County or both. I miss the sandy soil and azaleas and Spanish moss and live oaks and longleaf pines. Going back there will be a part of my healing from breast cancer. Going home is good medicine. I’m hoping that the fatigue that radiation can cause won’t kick in to make it hard for me to make the six-hour drive. My plan (God willing and the creeks don’t rise) is to head south after my radiation treatment on Friday, April 6th. My radiation oncologist says it will be okay to delay two or three treatments, so I’ll come back on Wednesday, April 11th. That should put my final treatment on April 23rd or 24th. That’s less than a month from today!
Even though the end of treatments has been getting closer and closer, I couldn’t be very encouraged by that ending when I felt so weak and tired. My getting stronger and stronger has lifted my spirits so that I can look ahead with more hope. And I can really appreciate this especially beautiful spring. It’s as if nature is reflecting the way I feel (as you can see in these last photos – of the azaleas in my yard). Bright and happy and with buds unfolded to soak in the sun and warmth that is all around me. No matter what is ahead of me, I can enjoy today. Sunshine, birdsong, blooms, bees. And more strength and energy. All blessings. For which I am grateful.