There are two things that I think most people don’t look forward to when they are told that they have to have chemo. First, they believe that they are going to be hunched over the porcelain throne for hours at a time. Second, they believe that every hair follicle is going to go ballistic.
If this is you, chemo has come a long way. They pre-treat you with so much nausea medicine that you can forget about being bulimic. As my oncology nurse told me, “throwing up is unacceptable.”
As for the hair, yeah…it falls out, but not in one big pile. It is more like a waiting game. A bucket load might fall out one afternoon from your head, but those pesky little hairs on your arms and legs are still there, mocking you. I don’t know if or when they may fall out. I am kind of relieved to still have the eyebrows though.
The biggest issue I have is the pain in my bones. It can be excruciating. My hips, legs, joints all ache. I have never had a broken bone, but I believe it may be like the pain someone who has had a broken bone feels when the barometer changes. I must expend a lot of energy when this happens, because it makes me feel so tired. I just made my bed and had to rest a half hour afterward to do something else.
I feel ridiculous when I describe this because I feel like I have it good. In reality, I could be riveted in pain, puking, holding my gut…and I am not. That is how far treatment has come. Still, I have to allow myself to be a little more patient with myself. This isn’t suppose to be easy and I know that even if today isn’t my best feeling day, it does get better.
One other thing I will never take for granted is the power of pooping. Cancer drugs can make you either constipated or vice versa. I have been a fairly regular girl, so I really never understood how painful it is to be plugged up. Yesterday, I felt like I had a mini emergency. I felt vomitous just because I couldn’t go to the bathroom. Luckily, they make a drug for that too… but it is scary. I worry about all of these drugs and what they are doing to me.
Like anyone else, when you are not feeling a hundred percent, it is hard to be very motivated. My head is a little foggy. I finally found something to eat, thank goodness! Being broke and sick is never very fun! I have visions of doing laundry or some other task but I have no motivation. I don’t want to stay in bed all day, but I don’t really have any gas to go out.
Yes, I am complaining. As much as I have come a long way, I still have my weak moments. I don’t really get super down in the dumps any more, and that is because I have decided to just cut myself some slack. You don’t have to be at your best all the time. On occasion you just need to surrender. I am allowing myself the space and the time to relax, regroup. There is no expectation. When I am ready to continue the journey, then I’ll just go. Right now I am just trying to enjoy what I got and where I am, and the journey that it took to make it here in the first place.