Without realizing it, I went almost the whole day today without dwelling on or really thinking much about cancer. It popped into my mind every few minutes like it usually does, but with an ultrasound coming up on Thursday and another appointment with my oncologist next week, there’s not much happening today besides normal things. Errands, reading, class.
Like Sara said, maybe there’s a value in not telling everyone about this. (Or maybe it’s too late now…) Because there are always days like today, where there’s not much to say. It almost feels like a luxury, like a breath of fresh air…”You mean I can sit here in the computer lab and talk with my colleagues and read this really interesting article about obesity without being intermittently sad and angry and frustrated about everything that’s going on in my life besides this?” Well, yes. The benefits of being a cancer patient with a full head of hair. In some ways, I almost feel “normal” on days like today. Like “me,” or anyway, the “old me” that I was for most of my life.
Which is why I am now reluctantly blogging, because when I haven’t been ruminating on something, writing forces me to think about it more than I might otherwise. Nevertheless, I started this post a few weeks ago, and now seems like a good time to finish it.
Really, when I’m off the chemo, as I am now for another blissful week, I feel fine. This is pretty new for me. I really noticed the difference during and after this last round of chemo ended a week ago. I can feel the difference between last weekend–when I was on the chemo–and now, when i’m not on anything. I am eating much better and I am markedly less nauseated, especially in the morning. (No, I am not pregnant. But it doesn’t stop the doctors from asking every time. I guess because most of the cancer patients they see are well past their child-bearing years, at 26, i’m like a pregnancy machine or something. Because they ask. Every time.) Nausea has been my most persistent symptom–but lately I’ve been able to go quite a few days in a row without needing to take my anti-nausea medication “as needed.” This is good–obviously, because it means I feel good. But it’s also a little worrisome because if I feel the chemo, as I did this last round much more than my past five rounds, I dread taking it that much more.
I know that it’s “good for me.” In quotes because it’s pretty nasty stuff–but it’s good for me because it’s bad for my tumors. Still, I dread it. Because when I’m on the meds, I am reminded twice a day (and for the last five days when i’m on both drugs, three times a day), that I have cancer. And there’s always a possibility that a new side effect will present itself and I will be thrown for a loop. I carry anti-nausea and anti-diarrhea medication with me wherever I go. I plan my meals around whether I need to take that day’s pills with or without food. I abstain from reading before bed because one of my chemo drugs causes nausea and I take it right before bed. I can’t exercise in the morning or before lunch because those are the times when I feel the most nauseated. When i’m on the meds, my body is not my own. Right now, off the meds, I feel like me.