Goodbye 2018

It’s strange how placid things feel now at the end of December, because, taken event by event, 2018 has been an awfully stressful year:

March: We find a house. A day later we make an offer. The owner meets us halfway.

April: The scale tells me I’m almost back to 200 pounds; time to really watch my exercise and diet.

May: A routine CT scan shows that my lymphoma has continued to shrink, but my appendicial mucocele has grown to the point where the appendix needs to come out. Not an emergency; surgery scheduled for August.

June: We close.

July: We move in, on the hottest day of the year.

Also July: My tenure kicks in.

August: Laparoscopic surgery to remove my appendix. I feel great; am out of the hospital that afternoon and begin to run again six days later.

Later in August: histology reveals the mucocele wasn’t a mucocele, nor was it related to my lymphoma. Instead, it’s a different cancer, of the appendix. We schedule surgery to remove the right half of my colon and fourteen lymph nodes.

September: Surgery. This time I stay in the hospital for a couple of days and it’s two weeks before I can run again.

October: Relief. Tests on both the colon and the lymph nodes were fully negative. The doctors conclude I don’t need chemo or radiation now, just to continue with periodic CT scans for the lymphoma.

Also October: My sister-in-law and her husband have their second son. They live just across the lake. We see them every couple of weeks at this point.

Since October I’ve slowly reintegrated myself into the library. The combination of tenure plus reduced duties this semester due to surgery allowed me to cut out a lot of my non-essential obligations: committees, small projects, etc. I’m fortunate that I can now choose what to add back and what to decline. The only thing I’ve agreed to do so far is teach for the history department again – a reprise of my course on the American Revolution from fall 2017. That won’t run into fall 2019, so I have a fair amount of time to decide how I want to change things.

I’ve also kept up with exercise and healthy eating. I’m down to the weight I was senior year of college, and have run as much as 55 miles in a week. I have no doubt that surgery and recovery were made much easier by dropping 30-plus pounds.