The Chemo Diaries: Round One Recap

The first phase of my chemo has passed and I celebrated by going out to an amazing steak dinner with a couple of old friends from my carefree college days. It was great for a lot of reasons, but especially, perhaps, as a return to normal and a reminder of what normal is after two and a half days of feeling, well, kind of crappy.

No one said that chemotherapy was going to be a fun joyride or a walk in the park or any other cliché to imply ease. I did not expect it to whisk by unnoticed and without making an impression. Still, in spite of being prepared, there is no denying that feeling crappy is no fun. And yet…

The fact is, “crappy” is always relative. There are going to be levels to each day for the rest of my life, just as there have been for every day before now and just as we all have experienced all along. And once the nasty parts have passed, they are easily left behind. I will say that while I was feeling off, even a bit awful, for the two days or so that the drugs were at their most active, it would have been hard to conceive of working a 12 or 14 hour day any time soon. In the thick of it, things seem so permanent sometimes.

But here I am, writing this after 11 pm when I was up at 6 this morning and going strong all day. Technically, I guess my work day ran roughly from 8:15 am until 9:45 pm, and tomorrow will be about the same. And I feel great, actually, with energy to spare (though I do kind of wish I was sleeping now just to be on the safe side). I’ve got an annoying cough, but there has to be something. There always is.

So if there are going to be crappy days, then they should be allowed and experienced for what they are. If every day felt like Paradise, what value would Paradise have? How can we weigh our joys without sorrow? And more importantly, how can I really take stock of my body if my body can’t show me a full range of what it is going through? I don’t like the icky feeling of constipation or nausea or being “green around the gills” as my mom used to say; I don’t much care for feeling flu-ish or muddle-headed or wobbly in the joints. I do however appreciate what those feelings tell me.

And I appreciate even more knowing that they pass, that life goes on and excitement awaits!

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