Another cycle done, another little bit closer to the finish line for this part of my treatment.
Physically it was very tiring, lots of time spent trying to sleep but only succumbing to some very weird and worrying dreams that didn’t leave me feeling particularly rested. Emotionally, this cycle has hit me like a huge truck and last week my head went to some very dark and lonely places. No matter who was around me (and my family and friends have been wonderful) I felt very alone. Worse, I got to the point where I started to believe that if this was my quality of life then where was the value in continuing with the treatment?
This despondency actually only lasted three days and when I woke on Tuesday morning there was relief that I started to feel a lot more like Suzanne again. And so I’ve been thinking a great deal about why I should have got so low (very unlike me) and why I couldn’t recognise that I was now less than six weeks away from finishing this hell.
And I think the answer is this – when you’re ill or injured, no matter how painful or sore or ghastly you might be feeling you know that you will get better. Sometimes it may take a few days and sometimes it’s longer but inside you know that it will end and you’ll be OK. With chemo, the bad days are actually quite few and once the drugs are out of your system your body begins to heal and recover. So you’re a good patient and do all the right things – rest, drink fluids, eat well, have a positive attitude – and you get your energies back. Only to have them pump you full of poison all over again. And then again. And again….you starting to understand?
So when someone going through chemo says they can’t do another cycle there is no point in reminding them that the bad days only last for a long weekend. What they’re saying is that they don’t want to get better in order to get poorly again. That somehow the bad days when you have hope of getting better are so much easier than the good days when you’re terrified of how poorly you’re going to be again.
I know that I’ve done well so far.
I know that I have only 5 weeks left until my last chemo.
I know that I’m lucky that I don’t have cancer any more.
I know this was my decision to have the treatment.
I know that I need to do this and then the odds of growing old disgracefully are very high.
I know that it’s the steroids that make me feel down.
But I’ve had enough.
October 9th can’t come too soon.