I have a previous post about being a control freak.  Those days are long-gone and that’s actually a very good thing.  As I near the end of my fourth chemo cycle (I am scheduled for 6), here are some changes that I have noticed since starting chemo back in November:

* Shower time – I inherited my dad’s preference for long showers.  However, thanks to the Taxol, I have about only about 1/4 -1/3 of my hair on my head and I do not have to shave the pits or legs. (I still have eyebrows and some eyelashes so Taxol has been rather random with hair loss for me.)   Therefore, I  don’t have my long hair to shampoo, condition or deep-condition, and no need to shave.  So my showers have gone from a good 15+ minutes to….well….since I don’t have anything to do in the shower other than soap up and rinse, I can be done in 60 seconds.  I try and stretch it out to a good 5 minutes if for no other reason than to allow the warm water to finally flow through the shower head.

* Stares from strangers – oh, the stares!  I’m so over them.  Seriously, a scarf on my head does not indicate that my cancer is contagious.  This issue is about those people and not about me.  I hold my head high, stare back with a gentle smile, and they look away.  Those people have to be able to sleep at night with how they live and treat people.   Enough said about this topic.

* Taste buds – what taste buds????   Most food tastes like cardboard or paste (flour-and-water paste – not the industrial paste/glue that comes in a plastic bottle).  Oh, well.  I look for foods with texture right now like nuts, fresh fruit, and some super-high acid like lemon juice or vinegar so that there is SOMETHING to motivate the taste buds.  I look forward to being able to taste food again especially since I am a trained chef and baker.

* Energy – chemo has definitely taken a toll on my energy.  I am told this is normal but it is frustrating.  I do try and get some exercise on a regular basis and lift super-light weights so that I do not overdo it.  I also try not to get down on myself because I cannot do what I would like to do.  It is o.k.  that I cannot do as much as I want to and my doctor told me this.  She also said that I will bounce back quicker once chemo is over because I am exercising.  This information rings happy bells for me so I keep moving even though I am often lapped by incredible women and men who are twice my age. I look forward to being that active at their age.

* Sleep – what sleep?  O.K., a slight exaggeration here but my ability to sleep is all over the place.  Sometimes I can sleep straight through the night, other times I wake up a lot, and sometimes I cannot sleep at all.  I am working on this and am hopeful this will improve very, very soon.

* Family and Friends – a slight tease here – I am adding this because this is the one area that HAS NOT CHANGED.   My family, friends, co-workers, and managers have been steadfast in their support and I cannot thank them enough.  I am so blessed to have them in my life.

All in all, change is actually good.  I cannot control any of these things – nor do I want to – because it means that the chemo is working.  That is the goal. As far as I am concerned, I am pronouncing myself cured.  The remaining treatments are just insurance.   This is how I roll.  It’s not how everyone rolls but it works for me.  Some may call me naive, some may think I have bravato or conceit, and some may think I should be realistic and look at statistics.  What I look at is ME – my treatments, my lab work, and my attitude.  I don’t care about all that other stuff.  My goal from the beginning was to beat this.  I will not lose sight of that goal.



Even if you’re right, please be wrong once in a while

I was chatting with my sweetie the other day and he told me that he had been given some advice from a friend who recently lost his wife to cancer.  He said his friend told him, “Even if you’re right, be wrong.  It’s not worth the stress of an argument because what she’s going through is harder and tougher than what you’re experiencing.”

This was interesting to me so I’ve thought about this for the past few days and I think it’s good advice.  If truth be told, I have given in many-a-time in my lifetime for the sake of avoiding an argument.  I am halfway through my chemo treatment schedule and it is getting harder for me to “bounce back” from the fatigue with each treatment.  Although I’m tired, my ability to get adequate sleep is also affected.  Therefore, between the fatigue from the poison in my body coupled with a lack of sleep at times does not help me to be the most rational thinker at times. Let’s also not forget the “chemo brain” which also affects me at times.  I have about 1/3 the hair I used to have on my head and I look like a light bulb, I have a bloated face after chemo treatments, and I cannot taste food anymore (everything tastes like paste – not the Elmer’s kind – just the flour-and-water kind of paste). All of these affect me in some-way-shape-or-form.  On top of that is my natural personality to think that I’m usually right most of the time (this is said tongue-in-cheek so no backlash, please). I can see how this would be frustrating for my sweetie when I’m making what I think is a very valid point because in my chemo-fogged sleep-deprived brain, I have it all figured out.  However, being able to articulate it is not always a successful venture.

Although I’d rather be able to have someone come around to my way of thinking due to my incredibly persuasive abilities to communicate, I am o.k. with someone giving in once in a while right now.  I know it’s not right but it makes me feel good to be able to convince someone to come around to my way of thinking no matter how he/she got there.

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