Closer to Normal

This week I jogged for the first time since last August.  It was sort of like jogging.  I am not the man I used to be, but I am making a comeback.  On Thursday evening, I alternated two minutes of walking with one minute of jogging for two miles.  That might have been too ambitious, so I took Friday off and took it easier on Saturday.  On Saturday morning, I alternated three minutes of walking with one minute of jogging for about one and a half miles, until it started raining. 

Times have changed.  Last June, I completed the Indialantic Triathlon.  Gina and I jogged about thirty miles each week last summer, until back pain sidelined me in August.  I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in September, and I had a bone marrow transplant in April after two rounds of chemo (September – December and January – March).  This week I was excited to slowly jog twelve minutes on Thursday and eight minutes on Saturday.

My follow up appointment on Thursday was my fifth since being released from the hospital.  Each time a nurse takes blood, then I have to wait an hour or two for the results to see if I need a blood transfusion, or more platelets or potassium or something.  So far, I have not needed to have any additional treatment after the blood tests, and my appointments are becoming less frequent.  My next appointment is nineteen days after my last appointment.  

The other routine of my follow up appointments is the question and answer session with the physician’s assistant.  We actually have two question and answer sessions.  She asks me questions about how I am feeling, and I ask her questions about my restrictions.  I take a list of questions to each appointment, and the answers seem to get better each time.  At my fourth appointment, I asked if I would be able to travel to SC in July, and she answered that I could go at the end of June, after Day 60 (since the transplant). 

On Thursday, I had a few more questions for the physician’s assistant.  I was pleased to discover that my appetite returned almost as soon as I got home from Orlando, but when I started caring about food again, I missed black pepper.  I know that seems petty considering the other things I have been dealing with, and I do not want to be stubborn about following directions, but I was nostalgic for pepper.  I asked why that was a restriction, and when I could start seasoning my food with pepper again.  I was delighted to learn that I can already drop that restriction.  I lost about thirty pounds during my time in Orlando, and I have gained back a few pounds since returning home.  The physician’s assistant said that it was important for me to stop losing weight, but there is no obligation for me to regain the weight I lost.  I do not eat that much, but my ability to exercise has been limited.  I am not allowed to ride a bicycle this summer, and I have been restricted from jogging and lifting weights since September.  I have been able to walk and ride a stationary bike, but those are not as intense as jogging.  So I was very pleased to learn that I can resume jogging, even though the jogging I do now is not nearly as robust as the jogging I did last summer.

Since we returned home, Sundays have been the strangest days.  It feels very odd to wake up and watch Gina get ready for church while I sit around in gym shorts watching “Meet the Press.”  I am very excited to return to church on June 11th, and I expect to be back in the pulpit all summer.  After two months off, I am ready to be useful again.