The drive home from chemotherapy was pleasant. I felt no signs of nausea or pain. I felt a little sleepy and tired, but that was all. After the 45 minute drive home, I just wanted to crawl into bed and sleep; which is precisely what I did. I must have slept about four hours! After waking up, I still felt grounded, no nausea.
The following morning my husband and I arose early to drive back to the chemotherapy clinic for the Neulasta shot. The shot was administered in the back of my arm. The process took all of five minutes. We returned home, and again I felt “normal” throughout most of the day. All day, I kept thinking about the consultation with the oncologist and some of the symptoms that he said I would experience after chemotherapy. With this information in my brain, I had subliminally invited a “wait and see” type of mentality into my otherwise OPTIMISTIC space. The more I “waited to see” if I would experience after chemo effects, the more my body seemed to fulfill what I was “waiting” for.
Sadly, that evening, as the sun began to set over the horizon, I began to feel warm, balmy and achy all over my body, but especially from the base of my neck all the way down my spine. Initially, it felt like the kind of ache that accompanies the flu. However, over the course of the next twenty-four hours, it felt as if the gnawing discomfort was synchronized to the pounding pulsation of a drum. I was MISERABLE! “Oh My God!” I thought, “What is this? and When will it end!?”
Thank God that the oncologist had equipped me with an adequate arsenal of medications to offset chemotherapy pain. I am not a “heavy hitter” when it comes to medications, especially pain medications, so the strongest drug that I had in my arsenal was 800 mg of Ibuprofen, which worked fine for me. I tried to endure the agony for as long as I could before taking the medication. Once I took the analgesic, the throbbing down my spine, and the fever subsided. I was able to sleep comfortably.
Over the course of the next 4 months, I could feel that my body’s response to chemotherapy was changing. Although I did not get nauseated after treatments, the length of time that I felt achy, fatigued and foggy began to expand. For example, the first two chemo treatments made me feel weak for approximately two days post treatment. As I progressed to treatments 3 and 4, the amount of time it took for my body to rebound had increased to about seven days. By the time I reached treatments 5 and 6, it was taking my body approximately nine days to rebound. These were DARK DAYS. It was awful. I cried a lot.
During these dark days, I did not feel like myself. I wanted to be “normal” again. I was tired of being tired. My brain felt cloudy. I could not readily remember words, events or information. My taste buds were changing. I was having all sorts of weird and gross dreams. It was very difficult for me to focus. During one of the chemotherapy sessions, I mentioned these symptoms to the oncologist, who informed me that these manifestations are commonly shared by chemotherapy patients. He reassured me that they would subside over time. Boy, did that make me feel better!
There were three-week intervals between chemotherapy sessions. As I recount my experiences of feeling fatigued, and having dark days, I can now see that the brighter days far outweighed the down days. Even during the later stages of chemotherapy, I experienced hard days for a maximum of 1 week; which means that I had a full 2 weeks of feeling good and more like myself, before it was time to go for another treatment.
We all have hard, dark and challenging times in life. Maybe your most difficult time up to this point has been chemotherapy, maybe it has been some other point during your cancer journey. I want to simply tell you that the DARK DAYS WILL PASS. Things will not always be like it is today. There will be tough days, but I guarantee you that BETTER DAYS are always around the corner. Whatever you do, DON’T GIVE UP! DON’T QUIT! You may cry, but never throw in the towel on yourself. Other’s may have their doubts, but it is not up to you to prove anything to anyone, but yourself. You can and will make it through.
Being sick is very hard, depressing and tiring. You wonder, “Will it ever end? Will I ever get better? When will the pain go away? When will I start to feel better?” God has put within every human being the innate desire to SURVIVE. The human body was designed to HEAL itself and the human spirit was created to BELIEVE.
Let us remember, as we examine God’s love letter to us, that our experiences with sickness, illness, pain and suffering are not unique. There are several narratives all throughout the Bible that describes individual suffering. Some of the people were healed of their infirmities, while others were not healed in this life.
“And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, came behind him [Jesus], and touched the border of his garment; and immediately her issue of blood stanched.”
~Luke 8:43-44, King James Version of the Holy Bible
Whether they were restored by a word, a touch, or a salve, each person was healed because of their DESIRE and BELIEF that they could be healed. Whether they were healed in this world or in heaven, they were healed. So, it is with sincere boldness that I declare to you, “DESIRE TO LIVE. BELIEVE THAT GOD CAN HEAL YOUR BODY. ACCEPT YOUR HEALING AND LIVE YOUR LIFE~whether in this world or in heaven.
If you have any questions, or would like to drop me a note, please do so by emailing me at email@example.com
Be blessed. Until next time. Ciao!♥