Halfway Done And I Hit A Snag

flu.thumbnail Halfway Done And I Hit A SnagWell, 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.

23 Comments so far »

  1. Ladan Lashkari said on:

    December 20, 2006 at 3:14 am

    Hi Sylvie,

    It’s nice to hear from you again after a while. I hope your cold is gone in lightening speed and you feel better soon before Christmas.

    Wish you a wonderful Christmas!

    Ladan

  2. Julie Perry said on:

    December 20, 2006 at 5:02 am

    Sylvie,

    I oftentimes find myself in these awful situations where I get carried away in all of my “have to’s” and my “must do’s,” and worse off, my “if I don’t do this, I missed a tremendous opportunity to grow my business [(insert whatever fits: further my mission, gain publicity, earn financial reward”)…yadda yadda (or yachta yachta, if you’re promoting a book on yacthing…ba dum bum…psh)], and I push myself…and push myself…and PUSH (yeah, we get it) beyond my means, and I wind up worn down, EXHAUSTED, and, typically–in my case–another “episode” with my own personal health condition–also female in nature (don’t you love the female repro system)–erupts to a point of pulling me out of “the game” for days at a time. Most recently, my over-​​achiever nature left me a newly published author–with a book that she was SO very proud of–but once released, found herself battling a flu (so I thought), turned bronchitis, turned walking freaking PNEUMONIA…yeah: THREE weeks of my life I lost to what, I honestly believe, I did to myself in trying to overdo it…trying to complete the “impossible” (I churned the last chapter out with a vengeance, went a whole two weeks at 3 hours sleep a night to get all the layout organized, and I pulled 72 hours of no sleep to edit the final proof to get the d*mn thing out in time). Is that me tooting my own horn to say, “look at the sacrifice I made to complete my book…my goal…part of my mission!!”? …NO: it’s me saying, “How stupid was THAT!?!??” $#!@)(^!(%

    Sylvie, PLEASE, take it from “wannabe Superwoman” herself (and I don’t even have a husband or kids…nor is my business as flourishing as yours…YEAH: I don’t know how the H*LL you do it!?!?), PLEASE slow down. Slow down.

    NOT a lecture…I know you know everything I’m saying here…As do I know when they tell me to slow down (and I roll my eyes and think, “you don’t ‘get it’”)… And okay, you probably get it more than me…SO, let me be your reminder here (annoying as that is): SLOW down. You know why? Because I KNOW–as do most of the Internet Marketers that I know who know YOU have said to me: YOU, Sylvie Fortin, are AMAZING. YOU are incredibly talented, and savvy, and knowledgable, and vibrant, and motivating…and everything, EVERYTHING (Sylvie, I could go on for days about how much you inspire me…and how much I aspire to be half the woman you are today–with all that you juggle…and all that you manage with what seems like ease)…But you know WHAT? I ALSO know that it’s easy to get caught up in trying to live up to such Legends…and images…and impressions you know others have of you.

    Recently, I had to take a step back and say, “you know what?: I pushed too hard…and I’m tired…and now I’m sick (walking pneumonia was something I didn’t think people actually GOT!)…and I must take several steps back and focus on ME for awhile…and more importantly: my HEALTH!”

    Sylvie — YOU are one of the most amazing women I know…You’ve accomplished so much, you run an amazing business, you can get up on stage and inspire an entire room of people (especially young women like me, who are searching for a positive role model at those seminars…someone whom we can RELATE to–who shows us that it’s possible to master and excel in such a male-​​dominated industry–someone who can be attractive and sexy, yet smart and powerful…and someone who can pave the road before us to make it a little less daunting)… Not to mention that you are down-​​to-​​earth, approachable, and GORGEOUS, and fun…and hilarious!! Sylvie Fortin! I LOVE you!!!…and you are SO MY INSPIRATION!!!

    So PLEASE–do me the favor of doing the thing that even I have such a hard time doing (with only half of what you have on your plate on my own): which is, to slow down…relax…LOOK AFTER YOU; forget about “us” (your audience, your fans, your clients, even)…’cause, you know what?: if I don’t hear from you or see you at a seminar for the next six months, it won’t make me forget about you. And, when you pop up a year from now looking health and happy and vibrant and full of HEALTHY and CANCER-​​FREE life, I will say to myself: “THAT woman is even more amazing than I once thought…and I have SO much to learn about how to put myself FIRST in this world…and to let those adoring fans just WAIT awhile—because I’m busy: I’m busy looking after ME…so that I can be HERE to continue to do what I am meant to do: to BE that legend and that inspiration, and to show others the way down the path I have taken.”

    Sylvie, who knows why this CRAP happens to good people. But, at the end of the day, I believe it’s to make us that much stronger…to give us a challenge that will only further inspire others down the road. So please, EMBRACE the experience that you’re having now. Right now, at this very moment, your only task is to defeat this horrible disease/illness…To give us all the inspiration that anything is possible. But to do it, you must put your mind to it. Sylvie, put your mind to it, and ONLY it. We will ALL be here once you’ve come out the other side healed and healthy and even more vibrant and full of life than ever before. I can’t WAIT for the clean bill of health day!!! It’s right around the corner!!! So please, for now, focus on that.

    I love you for all that you’ve brought to my life, which is more inspiration than I can put into words.

    You’re a STAR! THANK YOU!!!
    Love,
    Julie Perry

  3. Joanna said on:

    December 20, 2006 at 5:46 am

    Hi Sylvie,

    We don’t know each other, but I do know what you’re going through. What you’re doing is called “participating in life”–it’s what keeps you alive, keeps you going during this tumultuous time.

    What you need to know is that this is a special time… a you time. Whatever it is you want to do will wait while you heal, while you complete your chemo and do the personal work necessary to put the cancer in your past.

    Realistic expectations that flow from understanding can help you to plan your life and accomplish a steady upward trend. You should know that chemo stays with you for a very long time after completing the treatments–which is exactly what you want! It keeps working to kill cancer cells, and to prevent their re-​​establishment. However, the fatigue, “chemo-​​head” and other stuff stays with you too. In my eyes, this is a very small price to pay for what you get in return–your LIFE! Maybe a slower pace with fewer (yet steady)accomplishments would be preferable to big ups and then crashes? (I’m thinking, delegation!)

    I wish you strength, health and happy holidays!

    Joanna

  4. Suzan St Maur said on:

    December 20, 2006 at 7:16 am

    Hi Sylvie

    You are at exactly the same stage of chemo as I was this time last year. And the sessions do get a bit tougher as they go on. Mind you, you may have a different cocktail of drugs in the second half of the regime — I did and they affected me differently, but not worse. Also my hair started to grow back, which was encouraging.

    It’s sad that you got the flu. I found that I stayed pretty well bug free through my chemo by avoiding anywhere where large numbers of people gather, including shopping malls, schools, even restaurants, especially during wekk # 2 when the white cell count is at its lowest. It might curtail your business activities and make you feel a bit like a hermit, but it’s worth it — it’s only for another few weeks.

    Put your feet up and let everyone else do the running around this Christmas — just take it easy and enjoy it! With all good wishes

    SUZE

  5. Dori said on:

    December 20, 2006 at 10:13 am

    Hi Sylvie,

    Just wanted to say hi and let you know I think of you often.

    It was great to see the blog entry even though your sicker then a dog. Hang in there girl, you are almost there!! :-)

    cheers,
    Dori

  6. Suni said on:

    December 20, 2006 at 11:11 am

    When my father was going through chemo he had to rest ALL the time. He still has problems staying awake after it has all been said and done…which has been since July of 2004. Chemo does get way worse before it gets better. Please take every opportunity you have to kick up your feet and relax, sleep, whatever you need to do to get better.

    God bless. You are always in my prayers.

  7. Jerry Bernstein said on:

    December 20, 2006 at 11:26 am

    Hi Sylvie,

    Please remember our recent call with
    Dr. Rica and start drinking your Goji
    juice, today, so your body will be better able to handle those unwelcome side affects of your chemo treatments. Let me know.

    The very best,

    Jerry

  8. Monique said on:

    December 20, 2006 at 11:27 am

    Hey Sylvie,

    What a woman! You are the embodiment of womanhood– a fighter, a selfless human being, nurturer and a sweet spirit. I have never had cancer, but I am truly inspired by you to be thankful for the gift of life.

    Much love, God bless

    Monique Evans

  9. Monica and Gail said on:

    December 20, 2006 at 12:05 pm

    Hi Sylvie,

    We are happy to learn that you are almost there and that you are keeping your good spirit… as usual :-) You definitely are an inspiration to us all. We wish you a Merry Christmas, packed of love and special moments in the company of loved ones and a New Year filled of blessings and good health.

    Gail and Monica

  10. Diane & Mario said on:

    December 20, 2006 at 12:27 pm

    Hey Sylvie,

    A little message from your cousin (Mario V.) and myself. I read your blog often and wait for the next one to read and see how you’re doing. We think of you often and are prayers are with you.

    I think you’re a strong person and I know that next year at this time, you’ll be remembering and thinking of how lucky you are. Michel is a wonderful guy and god bless him as well. You have angels watching over you.

    Anyway, keep smiling and be good.

    Diane (and Mario)

  11. Teresa said on:

    December 20, 2006 at 8:28 pm

    I certainly understand what you are going through with the chemo and being tired and drained with each treatment. Please.…keep a positive attitude. I know it is hard. But that is the only thing that kept me going. I don’t have a husband, boyfriend or even children and it was tremendously hard on me. Thank God for my Sister. She got me through it all.

    You are a very strong and determined Woman. Don’t over do it. Take time to heal. Your body is going through a whole lot of changes right now. Take it from me YOU WILL FEEL BETTER after the last treatment. Slowly, your energy will come back. I take OPC Factor everyday and it boost my immune system as well as gives me energy.

    Best medicine in the world???? Friend, love, family and keeping a POSITIVE ATTITUDE that you will fully recover and life will resume as normal as ever.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you always. Remember, take one day at a time, don’t over do it and if your body calls for rest DO IT!!! I’m proud of you. God Bless

  12. David Stefanini said on:

    December 21, 2006 at 2:15 am

    I love the blog that you have. I was wondering if you would link my blog to yours and in return I would do the same for your blog. If you want to, my site name is American Legends and the URL is:

    http://​www​.americanlegends​.blogspot​.com

    If you want to do this just go to my blog and in one of the comments just write your blog name and the URL and I will add it to my site.

    Thanks,
    David

  13. Heather said on:

    December 21, 2006 at 10:20 pm

    Sylvie,

    Keep hangin’ in there! So many people are pulling for you… Just keep thinking about what’s gonna happen when you’re sitting on the couch with Oprah!

    Heather

  14. Mikki said on:

    December 24, 2006 at 2:57 pm

    Hey there Sylvie,

    I too, have been waiting to see you write in your blog again. I was wondering how you were doing. I think of you often, since you are the one person I was in contact with that was just a few weeks ahead of me in getting diagnosed & having your surgery.

    Your words are some of the most encouraging I read & they help to guide me forward with my own healing. Even when you are writing about how hard it has been, I am encouraged because you show me that it can be done. I pray for you often & will continue to ask God to help & heal you, especially at the difficult times.

    My first chemotherapy was on Dec. 12th. I did suffer a few side affects, mostly a pretty bad headache (it lasted almost 5 days) & a queazy stomache (no vomiting though). I, too, felt fatigued at times & had to rest. All in all it was not so bad, so far.

    My next treatment is next week, Dec. 27th. I’m ready for it & will stay positive as I go through the symptoms.

    Sylvie, I want to wish you, Michel, & your whole family a very happy, healthy, & bright holiday season.

    God Bless You,
    Mikki

  15. Sean Spence said on:

    December 25, 2006 at 6:30 am

    Hey Sylvie,

    I want to wish you a happy holiday. Your blog means a lot to folks out there, and reaches a whole new group every day through SharingOurDays​.com. I honestly believe that the time we take to communicate our lives is having a big effect on people around the world. You are making a difference.

    All the best today and every day.

    - sean

    Sean Spence
    http://​www​.SharingOurDays​.com
    http://​www​.MissouriToManhattan​.com
    seanspence@​earthlink.​net

  16. Laura Strebel said on:

    December 26, 2006 at 11:23 am

    Sylvie,

    Darn flu bugs are tough to fight under the best of circumstances but through chemo they’re vicious! I do hope you’re doing fine by now and you had a wonderful Christmas.

    Yes, the effects of chemo are cumulative so don’t get discouraged. You’re doing just fine. Having your hair start to come back will encourage you and that will start happening shortly. Be watchful of tingling in your feet and hands and be sure to tell yur doctor if it starts. I’m assuming your second half will be Taxol. It can cause some strange side effects. Some will go away, some might not, but there are things your doctor can give you to help.

    The Taxol caused my fingernails to discolor and toenails to do some really strange things but it seems to have corrected an ingrown toenail! LOL!

    Make sure you do some regular light excercises with your arms. During chemo we tend to forget that we’re still healing from the mastectomy and the muscles, nerve endings and joints still need to be trained and used properly. And for goodness sakes, take naps whenever you feel the need! Your body needs them to continue the healing process. Outside of that, just keep doing what you’re doing.

    Those of us that have experienced this have the best resources to help those that are just entering what they may percieve is a tunnel. We can remind them to keep the lights burning then pass them on to the next ones until there is a cure, just like you’re doing.

    Laura

  17. Jen Houck said on:

    January 24, 2007 at 12:40 am

    Hi Sylvie,

    I have been thinking about you so much and checking back for updates. (((HUGS))) first off. I hope you are pulling through this victory. You are one amazing person and I just know God will pull you through this.

    Prayers continuing your way everyday!

    Much Love,
    Jen

  18. Barb said on:

    January 29, 2007 at 12:44 pm

    I’m on my way out the door for an ultrasound, following my annual screening mammogram. I had the mammo Monday evening and they called Tuesday morning to say that I have two nodules in my right breast and need to come back for an ultrasound. Not a phone call I wanted to get. :( I’ve been stressed and worried for 5 days and I doubt that I’ll know anything more than I do now at the end of today. It’s my guess I’ll have to wait a few days for results. Argh!

    Anyway, I found your blog and will be back to read more and check on how you are doing.

    Heading out the door now. *HeavySigh*

  19. Minerva said on:

    February 9, 2007 at 1:20 am

    Fellow breast cancer girl here, and like you currently undergoing chemo!

    Second time round here and just as punishing and as life changing as the first time — if that is possible…

    Lovely to come over and read your take…

    Minerva

  20. erin said on:

    February 23, 2007 at 1:36 pm

    Hi Sylvie,

    I wish God will pull you through this.

    I found this page with all the latest news breast cancer

    , it has a lot links to the reliable sources like NIH, WebMD, latimes, bbc …

    bestmorph​.com/​c​g​i​-​b​i​n​/​s​h​o​w​/​t​a​g​s​/​7​4​-​b​r​e​a​s​t​_​c​a​n​cer

    hope it’s helpful

  21. TNF Pathway · Living With Cancer said on:

    June 28, 2008 at 9:32 pm

    […] Fortin is at the aforementioned stage and has cursive interestingly about it on her journal — click here to […]

  22. shercyramos said on:

    August 24, 2009 at 9:49 am

    I love the last part of your article, when you said that you might not be physically well, but with your family and friends by your side, it will still be a wonderful Christmas. It’s a great feeling to have your love ones surrounding you in your time of need. A condition such us this needs a very loving support system.

  23. Alicia said on:

    September 20, 2009 at 10:12 am

    I know your blog is several years old. But hearing your story, that of a young courageous woman is truly inspiring me. It is also giving me tremendous hope. I will be having a double mastectomy on September 28th at the age of 42 years old. I hope you are doing well. And thank you for sharing your story with such honesty and humor.
    :)
    alicia

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