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Of course, h/t to the WYFP series on Saturday nights. I do visit from time to time, to share my own FP or to offer support. But most of the time I hesitate to say much there about how things are with cancer. It just seems too heavy, you know? Especially when it is a FP. Kinda squelches the conversation, and understandably so.

But I wanted to write tonight about the things that are O(ther) FP for us, medical or otherwise, that are THERE for us, bugging us, even if they don't rise to the level of cancer/treatments/caregiving. Maybe the spirit of dissatisfaction is manifesting itself in this way today, who knows?

At any rate, my other FP this month is arthritis. I started to have significant pain in my right hand, mostly at the base of my thumb, about a month ago. I insist that it doesn't have anything to do with excessive keyboarding, but I must admit that it seemed to become acutely noticeable right around the time I was typing up a storm in connection with Netroots Nation panel proposals. I also thought (hoped?) it could be cat scratch fever, since I did have a slight cat scratch in that same area at about the same time. But I had no other related symptoms, not even any redness or swelling at the scratch, so I wasn't surprised when my MD suggested the pain was likely due to arthritis.

I had a few X-rays of my right hand to check out what's going on in there. Sure enough, the report came back:

1. Moderate osteoarthrosis base of the thumb metacarpal trapezium joint.

2. Mild osteoarthrosis in the hand with joint space narrowing DIP and
PIP joint as well as interphalangeal joint of the thumb.

I'm no doctor, so I had to look this stuff up. (Cool site here.) The moderate arthritis is in the joint at the base of my thumb, just above the wrist. (No, I wasn't thinking there was a joint there, either.) Oddly enough, that's not the area giving me the most pain. That honor goes to the next joint up, the one where the thumb separates from my hand. And then I have been having the phenomenon called "trigger finger" in the top-most joint. At the moment, I have that only intermittently, especially in the morning as I am warming up from being still all night.

I wasn't surprised, as I said, but I was dismayed. My mother has severe osteoarthritis, the version that affects me. She's had two hip replacements as a result, one of which was badly done and so has left her in severe, chronic pain. Her hands are a mess; she hasn't been able to knit for many years, though once she did it beautifully. Now, she is 91, and in the scheme of things arthritis might not be the absolute worst condition she has. But it is disfiguring and disabling, and I am not excited about having to cope with it myself.

On the other hand (pun intended), it is rather a preferable outcome to have to be dealing with a condition related to age. Odd to be relieved about that, but I think you understand.

I know this is silly, which is why I am saying it: Didn't you think for a while that cancer was your "Get Out of Jail" card for other ailments? I mean, for about five minutes? I certainly remember thinking that cancer was plenty to handle, at any rate. I didn't welcome the thought of anything else serious and/or chronic to impair my physical health. I am supposed to take a ton of ibuprofen (ton = 600mg, 3x/day) plus use a topical cream (Voltaren gel) with an NSAID in it. I admit, I'm not very compliant with either so far, but the gel is effective and soothing.

So what are your FPs apart from cancer? They might be related, of course. I'm thinking of the recent buzz about antibiotics being associated with weight gain. Guess what one of the chemo drugs was that I took? Adriamycin, which is one hella powerful antibiotic. I might feel a little more charitable about it if it had worked. I'm still about ten pounds heavier than I was post-surgery. One project for the summer is to lose that, and to get down below if at all possible.

And, of course, there are all those other FPs that were there before, during, and after cancer (assuming there is an after cancer, that is). The one plaguing me the most lately is how easy it is to fall behind. For example, the family crises I had during December and January set me waaaay back with correspondence. I'm still catching up. That would be easier if I didn't keep having new obligations, of course--but that is not likely to change any time soon. And don't ask me about the condition of my house! That fell to the bottom of the priority list about three years ago. It'll take quite a while yet before that one gets back to an even keel.

So, my dears, what are the FPs that bug you without rising to the level of cancer? We all want to know. The floor is open for you.

Monday Night Cancer Club is a Daily Kos group focused on dealing with cancer, primarily for cancer survivors and caregivers, though clinicians, researchers, and others with a special interest are also welcome. Volunteer diarists post Monday evenings between 7-8 PM ET on topics related to living with cancer, which is very broadly defined to include physical, spiritual, emotional and cognitive aspects. Mindful of the controversies endemic to cancer prevention and treatment, we ask that both diarists and commenters keep an open mind regarding strategies for surviving cancer, whether based in traditional, Eastern, Western, allopathic or other medical practices. This is a club no one wants to join, in truth, and compassion will help us make it through the challenge together.

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