Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Round Two Is Behind Us!
Covered Bridge near Tellico Plains, TN
November 3, 2013
I am so thankful to report that yes, Chemo Treatment Round Two is behind us. Bill has entered the "recovery" period and will have a week of reprieve before his third and last treatment on Monday, November 25. In many ways, round two was a bit easier as we were able to make some adjustments in meds based on the things we learned from round one. As we'd been told, round two was similar to round one in the timing of how specific side effects hit. But there were many things that were different and with the nausea better controlled, it seems a couple of other unpleasant side effects took center stage. His "recovery" period actually was a full day later in getting here. We weren't expecting that! The cumulative effects are more evident as he is still quite fatigued, has lost more weight and just doesn't have the stamina he'd hoped for. He is doing a terrific job managing his activity and trying his best to eat food that will provide nourishment even though those aren't necessarily the things which sound the best to him. He is sleeping well and that, in itself is a blessing.
How am I coping? That's a good question. Some days I feel like I'm doing great - other days, not so much! Some days, this all still seems like a dream and I'll wake up with everything being as it was except that I'll have a renewed appreciation for the strengths of my husband and the stability he has always brought to our marriage. We've talked a lot over the past few weeks about how neither of us feel we've ever taken the other for granted, but when faced with having to handle EVERYTHING, you suddenly realize how much your spouse does on a daily basis that he just did and you never thought twice about it. Most days, I'm well aware that this is no dream and we have a long way to go before our life will be "normal" again. I also believe that our "normal" will look very different. We are both changed people (for the better, I hope). Another topic of conversation has been ways in which we will live differently with priorities that might be a bit kinder, gentler and less self-centered. I expect there will be a lot more about that in upcoming blog posts!
There are a few things I have managed to do quite well and I think that has been advantageous to my overall ability to cope. I have faithfully exercised with very few days that I have not recorded at least 10,000 steps on my pedometer. When Bill has been so sick, I've been unable to eat either, so yes, I've lost weight, but during his recovery week, we eat well and therefore, my weight balances out. During the most stressful period I've ever experienced, I'm managing to maintain an exercise routine AND maintain my weight. That tells me I've learned something through the years that is able to run on auto-pilot when it has to. My dear friend, Debby, wrote a post over the weekend that really spoke to me and said some of these same things. She's been doing some thinking too! Here's a link to that post.
The thing which seems to be most evident of my stress is my inability to concentrate. I can't settle down to read, I have no desire to cook, even sitting down to write takes a lot of effort. I leave one room to get something out of another and when I get there, I can't remember what I needed. I've learned that leaving the house without a detailed, specific list of where I'm going and what I need from each store is futile. Bill doesn't seem to be having this problem - I'm the one who seems to have Chemo brain!
When you read this, I will either be heading out to my beloved mountains to hike or already be there. Thanks to wonderful friends who have said, just let us know when you can go, we've planned a short hike to accommodate the fact that I'm way out of shape, but it will get me in the woods and on a trail. Right now, I can't think of anything more therapeutic.