Whilst I write this post I’m awaiting cycle 9 (of 12) of treatment. The past five months have been really tough and at one point I never thought I’d get to cycle 6! I’ve still got a little way to go to climb to the top of my Mount Everest (end of treatment) but I’m getting there – slowly!
Since my diagnosis I have made a huge transition in my thinking. Daily life is a lot different now and I wanted to share my insights of what I wish I’d know before starting chemotherapy, so here goes…..
- Get use to the fact that the hospital will run your diary for the duration of treatment – I try not to plan too much in advance now as I generally have to rework my diary if I get any delays.
- Delays in treatment do happen! Initially I put all the treatment dates in my diary, I soon realised that actually it wasn’t realistic (hence why I now write in pencil!).
- Listen to your body – the mental and physical effects of chemo can be really tough. I nap when my brain tells me too!
- Don’t underestimate fatigue! – I don’t even know how to describe it – it’s like sleep deprevation times a million percent! It’s get to mid afternoon and I’m shattered!
- Stay positive – I’m naturally a positive person, glass half full, see the best in people but being positive gets me through my recovery days.
- Get practical help and support from family and friends – I realised I couldn’t be superwoman and do it all, the support network I have around me is priceless!
- That you are still the same person, even if it doesn’t feel like it some days – my tolerance levels are much lower since I’ve started chemo (which is out of charecter for me).
- Getting your head around treatment patterns – normally when you’re ill, it’s not planned, you rest up and recover. Having the knowledge that you’re going to have a number of days where you feel terrible and knowing you’ve got to go through it 12 times is really hard to digest. I’ve written myself a positive note to remind me on these days that’s these feelings are temporary.
- Allow yourself time to recover from treatment – I have lots of naps, and really take it easy on my recovery days. I find that I do recover slightly quicker.
- Finally, take each day as it comes – whilst I do plan things on my better days, if there’s any delays or I’m not feeling well they have to be rescheduled. Before I would be really frustrated with this but I now have the ethos of “living in the moment” which really works for me.
Had I read these insights before chemo it would have helped me prepare for this challenging time. Having said that, it’s all part of the cancer journey I suppose. As the Cookie Monster said: