I really feel as I have been stuck in a dark place the past weeks.
Physically, I have been at an all time low (thanks, Rocky and pneumonia – you make a good double act!) I am so fatigued and weak I struggle to get around and this seriously limits how much I can get out and about. I know my immune system is non existent so I know it is also wise to avoid people. I have been very aware and nervous about getting caught by another infection so all in all I prefer and feel safer staying in my cave. The other side effects are heavy too. My fingers are numb and painful so writing is difficult, opening a water bottle or doing up buttons is difficult. Doing most things for myself seem to be difficult. Fluid retention means I am uncomfortable all over, and the port area feels really tight. My skin is very dry and super-sensitive and is peeling and blistering on my feet. My digestive system feels (and acts) as if it has been wrecked after dealing with the bouts of toxicity. I feel as if I have been lying in a dark cave, every new day the same as the previous day and not a sign of feeling any better at all.
Mentally, I have been unprepared for the dark space. I knew I would not be celebrating and partying to mark the end of chemo, but I did hope to at least have a mental boost and feel a bit hyperbombastic! However, I have been full of dark thoughts, about recurrence, having to deal with chemo again at some time in the future, about never feeling fully recovered and feeling helpless against the enormity of the strength of cancer. I know it is not like me, but that does not make it feel any better. I think part of this is also the strange and almost illogical feeling that with chemo finishing I am no longer throwing everything I can at the cancer beast. If I hate chemo so much, why do I feel this way? Of course, it is not chemo itself I hate, it is the fact that it has made me so sick. I know that I am really grateful to the chemo and that it is giving me the best chance of recovery. I think that feeling so low physically is feeding the emotional darkness.
I have been lying in this dark, chemo cave too long, but I have been unable to find a signal that I can drag myself out of it. Until this morning. When I awoke this morning, I headed as usual to the bathroom. Incredibly, my legs felt different. They felt just a little lighter, not so leaden and I was able to walk across the room more easily than the past days and weeks. I also felt just a little lighter in myself. I know that sounds odd, but it is not something specific I can describe. I just felt a touch less – sick and miserable. I have capitalised on this throughout the day, making sure I am more active. We made the effort to head out, even if briefly, and do a few tasks.
This must be the turning point. Although radiation is due to start in a few days, I am not going to be confronted with another session with Rocky so surely this has to be the start of feeling better?
To make sure it is, I have searched for an image of a cave which reflects where I want to go rather than where I am coming from. It is a meditation cave – a place of spirituality, life, light and inspiration.
I know the path ahead is a long one, but I am sure I have reached the lowest point now and can finally more onwards and upwards.