Thursday, February 16, 2017

Life's back to normal now, right?

It's been a while between posts... again.
I finished radiation on 9 January, 2017.  My husband and kids came with me for the last treatment, and afterwards we went to the food court and everyone bought whatever they wanted for lunch.  It was fun, I was glad to be done, and glad to be celebrating with my family.

Then we went home, my husband went back to work, and me and the kids had to survive the next three weeks of school holidays!  That was hard - I was tired, my skin hurt, it was hot and the kids were unsettled and wanting my attention, and I was struggling to keep up with them and just wanting to be on my own so my head and heart could start to process the last seven months of trauma.

The school holidays ended eventually, my daughter started high school, the boys went back to primary school, and I FINALLY got a few hours of the peace I'd been craving.

So... it's all done. I've survived cancer and the treatment, and now I can get on with my life, right?

Not exactly.

The last effects of chemo are still working their way out of my body.  The skin damage from radiation wasn't nearly as bad as I was told it could be (thank goodness for Mepitel, the wound dressing that protected my fragile skin), but the radiation zone is still discoloured and very sensitive.  And then there's the side effects from the tamoxifen!

The biggest problem are the hot flushes.  These are really unpleasant, and very disruptive to getting a sound sleep at night.  My feet and ankles have become really stiff and achy - if I've been sitting for more than ten minutes, I hobble like an old lady when I get up.  This seems to be getting worse, rather than better.  So now I've started on a blood pressure drug that is supposed to help calm both these side effects down.  I don't like taking yet another medication, but I could really do with some decent sleep.  I've only had the occasional good night's sleep since I started chemo, back in September, so I'm giving this a go.

There's more... but I'm not going to go into it all.  Suffice it to say that hormone treatment is not fun.

I don't really feel like myself yet.  I don't think I'll ever be the person I was before cancer - going through all of this has changed me.  I've lost parts of myself, physically and emotionally, and that's no small thing.  I am still grieving, and I don't know when that will change.  I'm craving quiet and peace.  Emotionally, I'm tired down to my bones.

There is a lot of joy, but there is also a lot of grief.  One does not cancel out the other.  I don't feel strong yet, but I've made many small steps towards becoming stronger.

A while back I said that going through all this is like an eclipse of the moon.  If I stick with this analogy, I'm coming out on the other side, the light is getting brighter, but the shadow isn't all gone yet.

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