Chapter 13: last one done

I relished in all of the compliments I received for my early posts about dealing with cancer and the stories I shared. Unfortunately my drive for creative writing has gone the way of my energy: absent, but certain to return.

 

As distractions from my myriad of symptoms I spent those first months laying in bed replaying childhood memories, focusing on the little details to include that would make it more real, more appealing. But now I don’t lay in bed and ponder. My brain is too stressed out for idol thought so I lay in bed and wait for my medicine to start working. It carries me off into a dreamless sleep where my legs feel heavy but my anxiety disappears. I hate it, but relish in it at the same time. Brains are incredible things… and mine is struggling to keep it together lately. Facing mortality does funny things to one’s brain. But I digress.

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I had my last chemo 7 days ago.

The first three days afterwards were spent sleeping. I honestly don’t remember them, family, friends and my sweet husband took over playing mom while I drifted in and out of wakefulness.

The next two days still involved heavy napping, with the added misery of nausea, leg cramps, and intense intestinal pain.

My finger tips are numb and will likely take a year to repair the nerve damage.

My hair is growing in… and still falling out. I’d guess that in about four weeks it will stop falling out. So that’s nice.

My blood levels are all messed up, and my pulse has been between 120-140 for the last few weeks. Normal is between 60-100 beats/minute. It makes me feel like I’ve run a marathon after just walking around the kitchen.

I’m anemic. It’s exhausting.

The bone pain has returned, but some how knowing that when it leaves it will be gone forever makes it easier to handle.

Some foods taste funny to me now. I thought that since I didn’t have this in the beginning it just wouldn’t be one of my issues. Wrong… it just waited until the last cycle.

Steroids makes me hungry. Eating hurts. It’s a vicious cycle. Thankfully, after a week, the pain upon food consumption has subsided.

My electrolytes are off, which has resulted in very painful, intense cramps in my legs – particularly at night. I’m using a supplement to help with the off-balance, but to be honest this was the last straw that made me realize drug-induced relaxation  was for me.  After weeks of waking up every few hours with a charlie horse it was time, and it helps with the anxiety, the cramps, the nausea and the stomach pain…. and the not sleeping. That’s five birds with one tiiiiiny little stone.

 

I’m feeling hopeless. It’s weird, as every one gets really excited and humans have this universal “happy dance” that seems to happen every time I see some one now. “Last chemo! All done! Yay!!!”. And I hate to be a downer, but honestly… I’m not done. I’m done taking the medicine. Now I have to recover from the disease, and from the medicine, and from 5 months of not doing anything.

 

I can’t open tough jars any more, I wager with my bladder to hold on just a bit so I don’t have to walk up the stairs again. I can’t pick up my daughter. I’ve got a bunch of mental conditioning to do to get over my new and intense visceral reaction to the idea of going to the doctor, having blood drawn, or the sweet nurses who helped me through this. Just the thought of a needle makes me want to hurl. Weird… because I’m not afraid of needles. Just sick of them.

 

I also know this isn’t over. I still have to face it for the rest of my life, in particular the next two years when I get scans to check and see if it’s come back. And when it hasn’t come back I have to worry that every little ache or pain is cancer.

It’s terrifying. I can’t think too far out or the “ifs” become overwhelming.

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So… I know I’m just a bucket of joy. lol.

 

Today was the first day that the relief of being down with chemo hit me. I stood on the landing and the relief washed over me. Each step and each second is a little bit closer to finding normal.

 

I’m trying to be happy. I’m trying to move on. It’s just a lot harder than people seem to realize, and I feel like a whiner for not being oh-so-super-excited like every one else is for me.

 

4 Comments to “Chapter 13: last one done”

  1. We’ll just be excited for you until you can be excited for yourself. Love you!

  2. It’s OK to be exhausted, overwhelmed, and sick of the whole thing. Take as long as you need to “get over it” and allow your loved ones to continue to help you. Don’t hesitate to ask for help. Even if it’s “tell me a stupid / funny story to distract me from today’s miseries,” OK? I think it’s great that you’ve been sharing the journey with all of us via your blog. Thanks for being so open. XOXO

  3. I understand so well what you were able to put into words. I am not as elegant in my prose as you are. After I was done with Chemo and Radiation I am going through the hopelessness and the recovery. I started talking to a therapist and my doctors about this and have been told several times I just have to be patient and give my body time to recover, except no one can tell me how much time that takes. I still have a couple of surgeries to go through so just getting back some of the strength in my right arm, I don’t know if it will take it away again or what to expect after these surgeries. The doctors comments “everyone reacts differently”. I don’t know what normal is anymore. love you and appreciate you sharing your feelings it helps me more than you will ever know.

  4. Just wanted to say hi. You know what? It’s OKAY to not be okay sometimes. Especially with what you are dealing with. You do not have to be Suzy Sunshine at all times, you really don’t. The people who know and care about you will accept you regardless of whether you put up a facade or not. Just be you, Jessica – be sad, be happy, be positive, be pissed, cry, laugh, do whatever you need to do. Whatever you feel is valid – the whole slew of up and down emotions, it’s all valid. See you tomorrow. xx

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