When I finished radiation and chemo treatment they told me that I would continue to feel worse for a couple of more weeks while the radiation and chemicals continued to work their havoc on my body, and then in the third week I would start to feel better. What I internalized that as meaning was that after three weeks I would be back to my old self. Well, the first part (feeling worse for a couple of weeks) was certainly true. My wishful interpretation, of course was far off the mark. I’ve continued to have weird symptoms even as the sores in my mouth and throat have healed – my mouth is pretty dry as a result of the treatment beating up on the salivary glands, my sense of taste is really strange (salad still tasted really bitter to me), I’m cold most of the time (which is probably related to my having lost over twenty pounds during treatment – I now weigh less than when I started college!), and, since weaning myself off the painkillers a couple of weeks back, I’m not sleeping worth a damn. The doctors, however, are quite pleased with the progress, so that’s good. And as most of you know, my first post-treatment scan showed no sign of any disease, which was fantastic news! They don’t call you cured until you have three years of clear scans, but so far, so good!
But worst of all is the lack of energy – just walking a mile or so feels like real exercise. I’m used to being in pretty good physical shape, and the thought of having to work hard at gaining all that back again is a bit discouraging, though I know it will come – but NOT SOON ENOUGH!
Michele made the wise observation last night that there’s a reason they call people who’ve been through cancer treatment “survivors” – it’s like a war has been waged, and unfortunately it’s your body that’s been the battleground.
But today was my first day back at work (half-time for a few weeks) – and it felt great to be there and see everybody. On the way back!