(The following was originally posted on my Carepages blog for family and friends during my treatment.)
I’ve come to call the week of chemo “slow week.” During slow week I learn a lot about accepting what can and what cannot be.
Some things are not going to get done. There is just no energy for them. It might be as simple as writing a thank you note, or as complex as vacuuming. It’s not always the act itself that is prevented, but the many small steps it takes to carry out that act. Stairs stop me from doing a lot of things. I can do the flight once, then sit down. Ask me to do them twice, I may need a nap.
But it’s not just laborious tasks. I can design a beautiful book cover, execute edits in a client’s book, but ask me to balance the checkbook, it took me three days. Anything that requires cognitive, left-brain thinking is harder than the more artistic, right-brain function.
During slow week, I accept what I can do and what I can’t. I try not to worry about what doesn’t get done. Tim picks up what loose ends he can. I watch, feeling helpless. (At times, I can’t even open a Gatorade.)
Tim and I count down the weeks segregating them into portions, Week 1 chemo, week after Week 1 chemo, etc. (We are into “after Week 3 chemo now.”) I find the slowness or lethargy is a little more each time. Week 4, which is slated for April 18, should be the last of the hard-hitting treatments, or so they say.
Ironically, lethargy doesn’t necessarily equate to more sleep. I find I sleep far less, lay awake at night far more. I make up for it with cat naps during the day. Last night, now through slow week 3, I actually slept through until 5 a.m. I can’t tell you how sweet that kind of sleep really is. And while I do some of my best thinking at 3 a.m. these days, not everything that comes out of the night is profound. Sometimes it’s just lying there counting the minutes.
I’ve been fortunate, though, that the side-effects, to date, have remained minimal. I did end up on some antibiotic last week after a potential sinus infection. Thankfully, that didn’t last long. The headache was debilitating, and I wasn’t much fun to be around. But it cleared out fast once the drugs were administrated. I was very thankful for that.
I did manage to eek out a little fun along the way this week. I bought a couple of funny hats, one with long red yarn hair, and another, yet to come, with green leaves they refer to as a mermaid hat. I figure I might as well have fun with it as my hair isn’t coming back until this is over.