Every now and then I’m my own worst enemy. I suffer moments of idiocy that I later live to regret. I forget about them quickly, assume all is well and find myself creating a new one… it’s a bit like following shampoo instructions ad infinitum. Rinse brain clear of any recollection of moments of idiocy, repeat moments of idiocy.
My mind somehow decided two weeks after the final chemo and a few days since the conclusion of GCSF shots and antibiotics, that my body really ought to be getting its act together. After all, how long does a body need to repair itself and start bouncing around like a Spring lamb? A couple of weeks? A month? Six months? Today I can safely say the answer is longer than a couple of weeks.
I have been itching to be “normal” again; able to do all the things I could do without thinking before chemo happened to me. This weekend was a good opportunity to test out normality with some simple tasks like carrying numerous heavy boxes up eight flights of stairs without stopping, unpacking and putting things away, working for 8 hours without a break to hang curtains, make beds, clean cupboards, floors, walls, replace light bulbs… oh and after completing these tasks, taking my son on a shopping trip. The pre-chemo me would have plenty of energy left over to go shopping and make dinner even if she’d climbed the equivalent of the Empire State building three times polishing every step on the way up then again on the way back down.
The present me has few of the physical capabilities of the original and she finds that frustrating from time to time. She can manage multiple trips up eight flights of stairs carrying packages but she gets out of breath and has to go really slowly as she approaches the final flight. She can work at multiple household tasks such as making beds and cleaning but she cannot do them non-stop for hours on end. She can undertake a shopping trip but has to tell her son not so fast otherwise she’s unable to keep up. Mentally she’s alert and forty-something, physically she’s aged about a three centuries and has the wrinkles to prove it!
Unfortunately the present me didn’t realise just how much her physical capabilities have been degraded by cancer treatment (until sometime after the stair climbing, cleaning and shopping escapades were complete). She now realises eight flights of stairs leading to a bright, airy and clean new home for her son – a much more heavenly environment for him – feels very much like the stairway to perdition if she has to walk it multiple times. Behaving like a whirling dervish when stair-climbing was off the agenda was another interesting choice, possibly known as a moment of idiocy and not to be repeated.
Dr C said it will take 3 months to feel something like normal again following chemo. That’s three months on top of 9 months of active treatment of various kinds. A whole year of feeling physically substandard coupled with the knowledge that prior to certain cancer shenanigans, none of these simple tasks would’ve proven in the least bit taxing.
I’m sure over time my physical capabilities will improve but cannot deny that at present trying to be “normal” feels like it could become a rather large moment of idiocy. Pushing boundaries in this post-chemo recovery period is possibly inadvisable science… however I don’t accept that means ‘normal’ tasks have become completely impossible. They may use up more energy and take longer than usual, they may require some extra recovery time…but they aren’t impossible. Where there’s a will there’s always a way.