This morning was the first time I woke up with ideas swimming around in my tiny brain… the first wake up in ages where I felt like writing.
Before this whole thing happened; if anyone asked me if I liked writing I’d have laughed (and spat out my drink) ‘No!’ Whilst a student, I spent four years of my life trying to avoid writing essays (not the way to earn a degree it turns out!) and when I had to write I always calculated the exact minimum amount of words needed to scrape by. (Can’t understand why I didn’t get a 1st really!) But now, it turns out that I can enjoy writing- in fact it’s the first sign after treatment that I’m creeping back towards being my normal self.
Some of the chemotherapy side affects are well known (nausea) and others are obvious (hair loss) but there’s a secret symptom that you really didn’t know about before… the fug. The fug stops you being able to think, remember, understand and even read! Yep, the other day my husband laughed at my attempts to read a picture book to my 3 year old- I did sound like the ‘Slow Readers Group’ poem from ‘Please Mrs Butler’. I am also rendered utterly useless when trying to follow a film plot. We have to keep pausing for Rob to explain- I don’t even have to ask anymore- he just periodically pauses when he thinks something slightly complicated might have just passed me by. Maybe it’s my glazed expression?
This fug just seems to interfere with your ability to concentrate meaning I can happily spend hours gazing into space. I’ll have a book or magazine in the vicinity but I won’t be looking right at it!
I’ve said before that many of the symptoms of this treatment are similar to pregnancy- extreme pregnancy and then some! Sickness, heartburn, aching, constipation and yep- baby brain!
I’m recovering from the fifth of six cycles of chemotherapy… the end is right there- within a fortnight it’ll be done and I’ll be recovering for the last time! I was incredibly blasé about this before I started. I remember my mum breezing through her treatment (we both agree now we remembered that time with incredibly rose tinted glasses) and I just thought ‘I’m young and healthy, I’ll be fine- chemo won’t touch me!’ Hilariously I still think to myself, ‘I’m not an ill person.’ I still associate being an ill person with being a lazy, work shy skiver! This does not help with the feelings of guilt, ‘I should be at work, I should tidy up, I should really do the boys’ bathtime myself tonight.’ And I’m realising that you actively need to rest and recuperate not plough on as normal. Difficult when you feel like you’re always missing out! So I should have respected chemo from the start- I should have known it’d knock me for six and I should have realised that taking time out to recover would have made the recovery all the more effective! In short it’s just been way harder than I’d hoped. A horrid experience I’d not wish on my worst enemy (you know who you are!) Each time it has got harder, my positivity is being chipped away at, my resilience is worn and my ability to fight has really been drained to the final dregs. I know this because at the ‘Race for Life’ I saw one of those pink squares on a girl’s back and it said… ‘In celebration of Myself- I’ve beaten it… twice.’ The thought of it coming back and doing this all over again makes me instantly burst into tears. It’s just too hard.
During the week following treatment you feel so awful and it really is difficult to imagine feeling well again. It can actually take you by surprise when the day arrives that you don’t feel like rolling over and covering your head with the duvet. For me, waking with the enthusiasm to ‘blog’ is a really good sign! The fug is lifting!