My last chemo went well. I brought cupcakes and doughnuts for the staff as a "thank you." I think they went over well, scarfed down quickly! I was a little nauseated all of the rest of Tuesday and most of Wednesday, but I feel fine now. I'm even drinking coffee! Granted, it's half-caff, but usually the taste can set of a wave of nausea.
It's funny, I've come to know a lot of folks who are also enduring the same experience as I, whether it be the same cancer or a different type, and we all have the same complaint: people just don't understand. Most people try to be compassionate and understanding, but if you haven't been through it yourself it's difficult to really get a grip on what someone is going through. A diagnosis of cancer isn't just that--it comes with a whole host of other feelings, and we typically go throught the whole plethora of them. Denial, anger, acceptance, depression; some of us even get a little wild with involving ourselves in other things to keep our brains occupied. Those things could be work, volunteering, or even video games or TV, cruising the 'net, etc. I'm not yet sure where I fit in to that...it seems I have sort of been just existing and not knowing how I personally want to deal with all these new things that have come my way. I have lost my hair and eyebrows, as well as most of my eyelashes. The hair on my body is really thin and doesn't grow quickly (which is nice because I don't have to shave as often! Yay!). I have gained a lot of weight, as most of us Hodgers usually do. Most of that comes from the fact that Hodgers tend to lose weight as a symptom of the disease, and when we start to get better the weight comes back. Plus, most of us take steroids to help with the nausea, and that's where my weight gain really takes off. I haven't worked since November, nor been to school. I've even been experiencing a "pre-menopausal" state, complete with hot flashes and lack of a period which may or may not go away. I'm having to deal with this entirely new life and entirely new me, one that I have never experienced first hand. Looking at myself in the mirror is still sometimes a shock--all that pretty brown hair is gone and my face is usually quite puffy. I have to pencil in my eyebrows and mascara has become a tough one. My clothes don't fit and I'm stuck wearing my PJ's around the house because they're the most comfortable things I own. I've been told by many people that I've been so tough through all this, that I seem so comfortable with how things have played out. The fact is, I feel exactly the opposite. I've not quite come to grips with the stigma that follows a diagnosis of cancer, and not at all comfortable with the changes my body has been going through. There are so many "what-ifs" and questionable outcomes that it makes me uncomfortable. I've always had such control over things (yeah, I'm kind of a control freak), and not having control over any of several outcomes freaks me out a little.
This is just part of my "revelation:" I feel like I have been squandering this second chance I have been given. I guess you could even call it a third chance, what with the surgery and all. I've pretty much just been sitting around the house, not really doing anything. I know, I need to rest and recuperate and all that, but most days I feel fine. Fine enough to get out and do stuff. I want to be in enough shape to go back to work; the trouble with that is I would have to have a week off after chemo as I'm usually feeling crappy and I also take narcotic pain meds, which is just asking for trouble when working with horses. I have thought about getting a different job, but I have absolutely no desire to sit behind a desk in a cubicle answering phones. I've done that before and absolutely hated it, to the point where I began to get depressed. My ideal job is working outside, or at least working in a place where I can occasionally go outside to get away from the fluorescent lights.
Anywhoo, I have to go hop in the shower. I am taking care of some things at school this afternoon so I can return in the fall (yay! this time next year I will be a college grad!). More next time...