Are we done yet?
Five more treatments. Five left out of 16. That’s good, right? The home stretch. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. That’s what everyone keeps reminding me. And oh my goodness, I’m so sick of hearing it!
Because I am not a patient person and I am DONE! I am so worn down and tired of going through chemo. I just want it done.
I think about long distance runners and how they handle the monotony, exhaustion and frustration that comes in those final miles when they know they’re close to the finish line, but it’s still so far away and having to deal with so much pain? I never liked long distance running.
My body is toast. The highs and lows of these dang steroids are doing me in. (As evidenced by the fact that I am writing this at 2:22am because I’m unable to sleep.) I’ve actually been able to track the pattern of the steroids and side effects of chemo.
Sunday night I take a dose of steroids that is followed by a sleepless night. Monday morning I take the second dose before going in for chemo. After chemo, I’m kind of groggy because of the Benadryl I get as a pre med in my infusion. But even though it makes me sleepy, my body is still awake from the steroids, so I really don’t get any rest. I have no appetite that day, my stomach hurts and I AM CRABBY! (Just ask my boys- they’ll tell you all about it!)
Despite the fact that I don’t sleep on Monday night, Tuesday I’m full of energy. My exercises come with such ease and I find I’m very optimistic and hopeful. I get a lot done on Tuesday’s. I run a ton of errands and it seems my energy is endless. Still no appetite, but that’s ok because I’m too busy running around!
I start to be able to sleep again on Tuesday night, but by Wednesday afternoon, all the previous day’s activities begin to take a toll on me. My body aches, my muscles hurt, the neuropathy begins bothering me and my teeth start to hurt. (I don’t understand that last one, but it happens!) My constipation subsides by Wednesday, so that’s good. But I still don’t have much of an appetite. And I begin to sense the darkness descending. By Wednesday evening, I’m usually in a full blown funk of a depression.
The rest of the week, I’m doing my best to be a positive person, but it’s really tough. My body is heavy. I find it hard to see and experience goodness. It’s such a sharp contrast to Tuesday, that I’m aware these are the effects of the medicines. But that doesn’t offer me much comfort. The feelings remain.
My appetite returns by Friday and I’m insatiable to the point that I overeat and feel uncomfortably stuffed by the end of the night. This triggers all the old eating issues I had, so I find myself doing my best to avoid that trap. I’ve lost all of my hair- ALL of it- my eyelashes and brows are now gone. And I am not myself, I never feel healthy. I try not to complain that much, but I just don’t feel good. Ever. This is all just getting to me. And I’m DONE.
YES, I know, only 5 more. I know. But oh my golly it seems so far away. My life has been interrupted now for over 7 months and I feel as if I don’t have anything to look forward to.
And I’m so deep in this that I’ve forgotten why I’m doing it. We put in an application for a house that we really wanted to move into about a month ago. In speaking with the management company, I shared how this house had given me something to hope for during this whole chemo process. She stopped me dead in my tracks when she responded, “Well isn’t getting better the something to look forward to?”
Oh yeh. That’s why I’m doing this. I’ve been so immersed in the minutia of the process and side effects of chemo that I’ve lost sight of the fact that I’m doing this to extend my life.
So I begin to think about choice. I can focus on the negative, sure. We didn’t get the house. One of my husband’s jobs has gone away. I feel like crap a lot of the time. My son is failing Algebra. My other son is always grappling with one pain or another.
But then I learn about someone who has cancer and has to do radiation on top of chemo, which I get to skip. Or someone whose mom was just diagnosed and the prognosis is not good. And, after dealing with my own fears about my cancer returning, I’m reminded that my cancer is a very curable type. That in all likelihood, after my chemo, and once I begin hormone blockers, there’s only a 5 percent chance my cancer will return.
Oh yeh. That’s why I’m doing this. OK. So once again, it’s time for me to pull up my big girl pants and remind myself of how blessed I am. I will do my best to find the opportunities this experience is offering me. I will wake up in the morning and try to rise above the side effects and try to focus on the blessings in my life.
My husband. My boys. My family. My friends. Our health and safety. Our abundance. Our laughter. Our joy. Our talents. Our opportunities. Our gifts. Our freedom. Our choice.
I have the blessing of choosing how I want to experience every situation. I have the blessing of having enough food in the refrigerator and running water and a shelter that keeps us warm in the winter and cool in the summer. I have the blessing of having lungs that work perfectly and a body that carries me through each day. I have the blessing of watching my boys grow and learn. I have the blessing of loving and learning, and being loved every moment of the day.
Ok, whew! I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get there, but here I am. A glimmer of my old self.
Thank you for your patience, dear reader, as you allow me to share my experience. I know it must be frustrating to witness on your end. It kinda reminds me of all the years I was dating loser guys and incessantly complaining to my friends about them. And my friends patiently waited and listened as I learned my lessons. Your support and love continue to carry me.
5 more treatments. I can do it!