Tag Archives: staying hopeful

Coping mechanisms

Somehow, someway. Kind of my go to motto these days. Slowly but surely I am figuring this shit out.

With the mouth sores under control (hallelujah), depression remained my biggest problem. I had a virtual meeting with a psychiatrist and we discussed the possibility of trauma therapy. I have yet to receive a referral (it was a year wait for the trauma therapists at MGH), but in the meantime she added an antidepressant to the prozac I take daily. It’s called mirtazapine and I am on 15 mg in addition to 40 mg of the fluoxetine. It seems to be working, as my mood and energy level are both elevated.

Stable cancer, manageable mucositis and mood. A week from tomorrow I am scheduled for yet another infusion of DS-1062a.

Yesterday morning I began my book FOR REAL. I am nudging myself into a schedule—art studio in the a.m. (while it’s still cool) and writing the rest of the day, with some walking, exercise, and meal preparation in the mix.

There is a freight elevator in the old mill where my studio is located, but I choose instead to walk up the four flights of stairs daily. I am working on becoming stronger, and those steps are an opportunity.

I am also starting to be out and about more–even going to some thrift stores. Of course I wear my mask and am careful about hand cleaning, but I refuse to remain a hermit for the next year or two. I need to be social, if only in a limited fashion. In fact, this weekend I shall be meeting two of my kids in the Boston Common for dinner—the first time we’ve been together in months. It took some convincing on my part (that it was ok) but again, one has to weigh the benefits against the risk.

Two months ago I didn’t think I’d be feeling as hopeful as I am right now–I came awfully close to saying uncle. The trick was finding the correct antidote to the side effects of treatment. A workable balance between the quality and the quantity.

Upright citizen

I was interviewed for a story about COVID-19 and cancer some weeks ago and it has been picked up by PEOPLE.com. Give it a quick read.

Better yet, one of my life long dreams came true in November—I was made the member of a board and not just any board, but rather the Israel Cancer Research Fund. It has been both an honor and a pleasure, as I get to work closely with a fabulous team as well as one of my favorite people on earth, Rob Densen.

Last week I had an opportunity to be interviewed by Rob for the ICRF ongoing webinar series, Brilliant Minds. It’s not too late should you like to register to hear this presentation which will be aired tomorrow, 6/24:

https://www.icrf.ca/icrf-presents-brilliant-minds-a-monthly-webinar-series/

It’s going to be a busy day, as I am presenting as part of Thermo Fisher’s Innovation Day in the morning, and then will be part of a forum for clinical trial advocates with Pfizer later in the day. And in between the two activities I shall squeeze in a zoom appointment with a psychiatrist. Just keeping it real, y’all.

Hopefully I’ll have time in the evening to get to the studio, as I purchased two hollow core doors to make tables with. When I work I like to work large (lots of projects at once) and I’m itching to get to it.

So, cancer, depression and pandemic be damned, I am finding a way to keep moving—forward.

I believe I shared that when I was first diagnosed I decided that no one had died from lung cancer while upright (technically not true, but it’s an aspirational image). And I intend to be an upright citizen for as long as possible.

xo