Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spring Break

As I recently reported, I had a very encouraging set of scans at the end of March which indicated that chemotherapy worked well. Despite this, my oncologist here in Washington prescribed additional chemo, which I was scheduled to continue on March 26. On the evening of March 25, I spoke with my oncology team in Chicago about some treatment options moving forward, and they recommended taking a break from chemotherapy while we assess our next move. My anxiety about deviating from my very trusted DC doctor's recommendation (this was the first time that there had been any significant difference between the two physicians on treatment protocol) was heavily outweighed by my relief and joy over pausing treatment temporarily.

This respite came after a fairly grueling six weeks. I underwent four rounds of chemotherapy during February and March, with a three-week hospitalization and recuperation for meningitis in the midst of it. Paralleling a record-breaking cold and snowy DC winter, those weeks constituted a dark and depressing time for me - a time marked by pain and isolation, a time when illness cut me off from my social and professional life in miserable ways.

But in the few weeks since my fourth treatment, I have found new meaning in the term "spring break." I have felt a small sense of renewal. I have had visits from some of my closest friends back from semesters abroad or on spring break, and was able to go home to Chicago to celebrate Passover, which was restorative and wonderful. I have been able to be fully present at work, and feel on top of my portfolio and responsibilities for the first time in months. I've been able to spend time with my friends and enjoy the gorgeous DC spring. I've been able to make plans more than a day in advance, have fun, and feel normal. And even if I've had to employ a bit of denial to do it, after a tough winter, it has simply felt so good.

The next couple of weeks may bring me back to my reality as my doctors, family, and I make decisions about next steps in treatment. I promise to share those plans as soon as they become more clear. In the meantime, I'll be enjoying the sunshine.


juliacsmith said...

It's been so good to read your recent updates. Thank you for continuing to work through this experience in a public (and beautiful!) way. Sending cherry blossom-scented good wishes in your direction, Froperson.

Debbie said...

You ARE the sunshine in DC, Elissa! Keep on smiling and let that positive energy fuel you.

Dena said...

So glad to hear things are on the up and up! Sending lots of love from Beantown.

Gideon Bob said...

Was very good to see you over Spring Break. Very good. It is very comforting to read your blogs- so thank you for that and I hope the next steps land soundly.