It is odd to think that almost two months have gone by since my last post. It wasn’t until one of the followers of this blog asked for an update that I realized that it had been so long. Whether or not it was chemo brain or if it is that I have lost time with recovery from treatments, I cannot say for sure but the one thing that I do know is that life has gone on and I have fallen into a rather boring routine.
I wish that I could say that I have been out doing something incredible but the truth is that I have spent a lot of time resting when I don’t feel well and for the few days that pop up in which I do feel good, I try to savor the time with my children and do something a little extra special (like bring them to eat ice cream for dinner). I guess in its own way that is truly incredible though.
Since my last post, I have taken a leave of absence from my graduate school. With the fatigue that I have been experiencing and the week that I lose to every chemo round, I found it impossible to keep up with the work. Chemo brain is absolutely brutal on my memory and when I am attempting to memorize something for regurgitation on an exam, it is impossible. I had a friend who pointed out that cancer feeds off stress and reminded me that the work would be there when I was ready to return. After a breakdown and a good cry, I made the decision that I would rather spend my good days with my kids then catching up on school work.
For the first few days after a chemo round I have found that I am so wiped out that I tend to sleep or stay in a medicine induced fog and binge watch shows…or at least attempt to. I played one episode of House of Cards four times since I kept falling asleep or forgetting what took place (not to the shows fault).
Round 2 in January and round 3 in February knocked me on my butt for a solid week each and even when I thought I was over the worst of the symptoms (extreme nausea and extreme fatigue) I found that I was anemic and my fatigue came back with a vengeance. After the last round, the doctor said I am experiencing what she calls the round 3 hump. My body is getting tired and it is running out of steam so everything is a little off. She assured me that there are several things that they can try to get me over the hump and she is talking about giving me a couple of different injections after Round 4 that will help solve the issue of the anemia. While I am hopeful that I will gain a little more energy I am scared of the list of side effects that they are telling me about. I jokingly asked the doctor of the phone “It can’t get any worse right?” and the doctor laughed and didn’t exactly make it seem like it would be a walk in the park.
I try my best to stay optimistic but the truth is that I am scared. I feel so incredibly crappy with low energy. This is not me. I am so used to being busy and being out and about. Now I find it a necessity to avoid things that I loved to do because there is a potential that someone could be sick or be getting sick and if I get sick right now it throws the chemo cycles off. In addition, since I have a few lymph nodes that have not disappeared and some of my symptoms like extreme night sweats are still hanging on, I have to go for a repeat PET scan this month. Normally, the doctor explained that she would wait till the end of chemo to do a scan but she wants to have a look now. I have anxiety about the PET scan. I want everything to look great and not knowing if it is great right now is driving me nuts. I want to be optimistic but like I said, the truth is that I am mostly scared and that is making my usual sense of optimism waiver. I have been following along on a few blogs and not every story is happy and it bothers me more than I let on. I don’t know how I would handle a setback right now so the only thing that I can do is pray and wish with all of my might for perfect results.
I have always been used to doing a million different things and I find that I have no patience for just sitting around but then again I don’t have a ton of energy to do anything else. I have fallen into the habit of reading classic books again. Currently I am re-reading Alice in Wonderland. It is kind of funny how I can draw several parallels between my life and that sense of disorientation that Alice experiences as she struggles through Wonderland as she attempts to figure out just who she is. There have been so many lessons that I have learned throughout this new journey and it seems like every time I think I know who I am and where I am going, it changes just a little bit.
I need spring to be here. I want to be able to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. I know that spring will bring a happy distraction from the “what ifs” that have been running through my head. I am so ready for this to all be over and I know that this journey has already changed me several times since I started. I am already a different person then I was when this journey started and I look at things differently. I also know that I am going to look at things three months from now differently then the way that I am looking at them now.
Hang in there, I know you want to slap someone saying that, cuz it is hard as heck to go through the chemo. After I had my 3rd one I said to my husband, that's it, I am done, I can not endure another one.
But, thank god, he gave me strength to keep going. I was miserable, tired all the time, Chemo Brain, omg, always. I would forget words, I couldn't remember what I said earlier and sometimes my sentences made no sense. I slept a lot, just remember your body is trying to heal, so take it easy and rest when you can. You can do this, be gentle to yourself, take it easy when you can and don't feel guilty about it. Spend your time with your kids and just BE.
I am in my 6th year of remission and I send all the strongest vibes and best wishes your way. You will be a different women once you finished your treatment. You will be stronger and more grateful for the every day things, I know, I am!!! Also, 3 years after my last Chemo I ran my first Marathon!! I thought I never could! But, I did!!
I hate what we have to go through to get better, but it is the only choice!!