Well, now that the chemo medications are disappearing from my body, some of the side effects are too and I am so happy about it.
My skin has cleared up a lot and my hair/scalp has stopped hurting.
With chemo brain, I am thinking a little more clearly (but not to normal levels and not remembering things very well).
Interestingly, my hair is still falling out everywhere but it is not noticeable to others. Most of the side effects are not visible to others though :).
I still am not able to sleep well at all. It is starting to distress me but my medical team say not to worry about it. Someone gave me good advice about playing sleep CDs or talking books so I will give that a go. I definitely don’t want to get back to work until I’m sleeping properly.
Fatigue: I am noticing that it’s best not to do too may outings. If I go out, I am tired that day and all of the next day. So I have to constantly do calculations of what is worth doing and worth paying for energy wise.
The hormone therapy is causing a few teething issues with anxiety, just feeling jittery a lot of the time. I talked to the Oncology Nurse and apparently it will calm down in time as my hormones rebalance. So again, nothing to worry about but not a pleasant feeling. My feet have swollen up a size..as have the ankles.
Herceptin is this week. I think it should be a lot better and have the anti-nausea medication here to take. Fingers crossed.
Work and finances
Not working has many advantages but I am starting to notice a certain lack of $ e.g. when I had my car serviced… so I hope to have some income coming in in a couple of months.
I am at a point when I can start to think about career, well a little bit. I worry that cancer is seen as a risk factor in the workplace and realistically, it is in the sense that I can not be there 100 % of the time. I will need to ensure that I work for a supportive manager/employer and that I don’t over-commit initially. There is in the plenty of time in the future for work. Now is the time for resting and recharging.
I have been for a walk or bike ride every day for the last month and I am starting to feel my fitness rebuilding. The fitter I am, the easier it will be to deal with all the medications and treatments.
It really has been a time of processing the whole experience. I know it takes time. I have noticed that I have been keeping myself quite busy going to appointments e.g. art therapy, pink pilates and Cancer Society appointments. I think I will cut down on these as firstly, I just get tired. But secondly, I think being busy is a distraction mechanism for actually being still and processing everything I’ve been through this year. It is easier to whiz around to appointments in the name of being healthy. It is far harder to come to peace with cancer and sit with it.
I went a bit OTT with the cancer rehab. One book recommended charts of monthly and six monthly rehab goals across eight headings. Honestly, I got tired just doing the chart. There is something to be said for just time, fresh air, exercise and eating well. A lot can heal with that and a positive mind-set. I have put the charts to one side.
So as the chemo drugs leave my body, I will write less on the chemo experience and more on the cancer and rehab experience.