Well, it’s hard to imagine, but I’m already halfway done with my chemotherapy treatments (yippee!). And there’s something I’ve learned along the way…
It gets tougher as the treatments progress.
I don’t know if it is like this for other chemo patients, but I have found that with each treatment, I get more and more tired and feel more dragged out. Napping is becoming less of a luxury and more of a necessity each time I have a treatment.
And this last round of chemotherapy knocked me off my feet for far longer than I expected. Well, to be fair, this is partially my own fault. See, I haven’t really let myself relax the way I should have, and my body paid for it dearly.
After my last chemo treatment, Michel and I travelled to Atlanta to speak at another event. It was a flurry of activity around here for the weeks preceding the event, and although I did take naps every once in a while, I didn’t really get as much rest as I should have.
I was pushing myself a little too much, trying to do too much, keeping myself too busy, and generally not letting myself take the time I needed to heal.
And I’m afraid it caught up to me.
There’s been a flu bug going around, and nearly everyone in my house caught it. I thought I’d gotten off pretty lucky, since it seemed it was going to pass me by. But I’m afraid I spoke too soon when I bragged that “everyone’s worried about me getting sick, but everyone else got it but me”.
Last week, it hit me like a 5 ton freight train.
The day before my scheduled chemo treatment, I went in for the obligatory pre-chemo blood tests. I was feeling a little under the weather, but didn’t realize what was happening until I got the call from the doctor’s office.
“Sylvie, you can’t have your chemo treatment this week because your white blood cell counts are really low. We need to reschedule you to next week.”
This did not bode well at all. First of all, pushing my chemo to the following week meant that I would be having a chemo session right before Christmas. This meant that instead of feeling merry and bright, I am going to be feeling a little more Bah Humbug. Secondly, with my white blood cell count being dangerously low, I am susceptible to every stray germ floating around, and no amount of positive thinking was going to help that.
The nurse explained that my cell count was low because I was likely fighting off a cold or flu germ. Well she wasn’t kidding!
The next day, the tickle at the back of my throat became more of a scratch, and the overall “rundown” feeling I’d been experiencing started to feel a little more like “did anyone catch the license plate of that steamroller that hit me?”.
I’ve had the flu before, and it never felt like this. Trust me, when all this is over and I’m back to my old self again, I will never again complain about having a common cold!
Having a cold or flu when you’re in the middle of chemo treatments is really tough to deal with. Everything is magnified and it feels worse, mainly because my body is just not equipped to fight anything off the way it normally is.
I know it will pass, and it gives me a great deal of hope to know that I am halfway there. I only have 4 more treatments to contend with before I can start feeling like my normal self again.
And in the meantime, I have re-learned a very valuable lesson…
My body needs to rest if I am to get through this. There is nothing more important than giving myself the gift of my own health. So, I am taking extra time each day to remind myself to “do nothing” and relax my mind as well as my body. Just sitting still doesn’t count as rest.
I need to also spend time relaxing my mind and not put so much pressure on myself to accomplish everything I normally can in a day. I am making an investment in me right now, and although it does not come naturally to me, it is important for the sake of my family and my business, that I take some much needed time out to let my body heal.
Christmas is just around the corner, and this year, I am reminded of just how grateful I am for all the people in my life who are there to love and support me.
I may not feel physically wonderful this time of year, but with my family and friends by my side, it will be a wonderful Christmas!
My best wishes to you and your family during this holiday season. May you be as blessed as I am.