Compared to the 2-cc injections of interferon I’ve been on, the curative power of the 6 ounces of pinot noir I imbibed last night was beyond debate. Drink red wine, and live longer. Or at least better.
Wine is one of several things I plan to reintroduce to my routine, now that I’m off immunotherapy. Food in general should begin to taste a lot better; I intend to find out. I should be able to do more in the evening, including hanging out with friends. And resuming volunteer activities, at Acorn and elsewhere. Driving a car will become less of an adventure, as my reflexes and visual acuity hopefully improve. I can expect that my hair will thicken again. The modeling agencies should be calling any day now.
I’ve been warned that the side-effects of interferon take time to wear off. It’s been five days since my last shot, and I feel about 50% whole. I’m still needing about 10 hours of sleep, but the persistent achiness and fatigue that plagued me is gone. I’d love to say I’m running faster, but I’m not—yet. It will probably take weeks to get back to feeling close to normal.
I also decided this week that I will teach again at OSU next term. I’ve been on the adjunct faculty for several years, teaching news reporting and an introduction to new media. I love being in the classroom and working with college students. I should just about be ready for the challenge of matching wits with over-mediated students in a couple of months.
People who have survived serious illness use the term “the new normal” to describe life once they’ve come through therapy. I can vouch that nothing will ever be quite the same again for me. I am not physically invincible. I won’t live forever. There is no going back to innocence. The task ahead for me is to accept the limitations of my body and spirit, and to make the most of what I have.
Regardless of whether the melanoma recurs or not, I have a lot of living ahead. I don’t say this just to pump myself up. I believe it’s my responsibility to take the gift I’ve been given, and to make the most of it. How I do that won’t necessarily look “normal” as I previously understood the term. I’m excited by the process of self-discovery that lies ahead.
Now where did I put that corkscrew?