It has been 2 weeks since my first chemotherapy treatment, and everything is coming back to me like an old, familiar song. That first week after chemo was tough. Like the nausea and the going to the bathroom a lot. Like the nosebleeds – lots of it. Like how everything tasted like sawdust. Like the fatigue that saw me sleeping for 14 hours a day. And the “chemo brain” syndrome that caused me to forget things. And the painful mouthsores. Then, a week later, everything changed. I started to taste food again, and have rediscovered my love affair with oranges and Cadbury Whole Nut chocolate bars! The fatigue has lifted and I have tons of energy. Life is so great!
I think it has helped that I have gone through chemo twice before, so I know what to expect. Most days, as I go through different side-effects, I find myself saying, “Oh Yeah, I remember that!” and then promptly find a way to deal with it. And very easily, I am relying on familiar habits to help me ride through the chemo. Carrot juice and beets everyday. Green smoothies. Vitamins. Ensure nutritional supplements for when I can’t eat. Sleep when I need it. Walks to keep my body moving. And getting things done when I have short bursts of energy. Chemo, with all its side-effects, is actually quite manageable when you stop fighting it and instead listen to your body with all the wisdom it imparts.
Today, my hair has started to fall out. This is something I was expecting to happen, and yet it is not as devastating as it was when it happened four years ago. I am holding on to my hair, literally, for as long as I can, before I start sporting wigs. My beautiful friend and hairstylist, Afsan, took Sabrina and me wig shopping last week, and we picked up 4 cool wigs! They wanted me to go a bit wild, and showed me wigs with updos and exotic styles and colours. It was one of my tired days and I did not feel like playing, so I opted for wigs that I could see myself wear everyday. Again my past collided with my present as the owners of the wig place totally remembered me from 4 years ago and helped me source the newest styles and colours.
My next chemo is on April 4th and I am actually looking forward to it because it brings me one step closer to eradicating this cancer. Going through cancer this time is like having a second child. The first time everything is a novelty and you are on hyper-alert. The second time is easier because you know what to expect and it is not as daunting. An example of this, Nagib always reminds me, is when Shayne was a baby and he would drop a cookie on the floor, we would fuss over it and eventually give him a new one. Whereas, when Sabrina came along, well… even if the toast with butter and jam fell wet-side down, we would brush off any visible dirt and give it back to her. So much more relaxed with the second one!
So, for my second chemo, you should see what I have planned — a DVD player loaded with my favourite movie, my go-to red striped blanket, Don Miguel’s new book which I am currently reading, oranges and a Whole Nut Chocolate bar. Oh, and an iPad to write another post! Why, its almost like being on … no, not quite, vacation!