The weather forecasters on both the local and national news have been giddy with anticipation. A big storm is coming tonight. Snow, sleet, freezing rain – a trifecta of precipitation worthy of daily dissection on the regular news and special alert cut ins all week.
I have my own storm brewing this week. Chemo infusion number two is on deck for Tuesday. How much harder will the treatment be? My mind is already jumping ahead. If each one gets a little harder, how hard will the last couple of treatments be?
I find myself comparing this to the experience of giving birth. Labor and delivery are overwhelmingly challenging. You focus on nothing else. You have to be reminded to breathe. You look for distractions. Then it’s over. You’ve earned a funny little cherub whose poops and gurgles consume your every moment. A few weeks later, the specific ugliness of what transpired to bring them into the world seems a little fuzzy.
The difficult parts of the first chemo infusion are already out of focus. I’ve sort of forgotten about the wooziness. The steroid induced sleepless nights spent with my laptop. The need to nap. Often. But unlike delivering children, this labor will last for four to six months. A cancer free outcome will be every bit as joyous, but do I have the physical stamina and mental toughness to get me to the finish line?
The last week has been an opportunity to recharge.
It hasn’t been without its challenges. Constipation. A urinary tract infection. Thinning of my hair. Did I say constipation? My kitchen counter is starting to look like the back counter at the pharmacy. I have a seven day pillbox with 28 individual sections. A new box of raisins is in the cabinet. Two flavors of juice and probiotics are in the fridge. My germ radar has me turning door handles with my shirttail and turning down dinner invitations.
But the fog lifted this week. I’m not as drained physically or emotionally. I worked full days and was productive. I slept longer and more deeply. My babies are grown now, so I haven’t had to worry about anyone but myself. My lack of energy and agitated stomach are annoying, but not insurmountable.
Today, I was able to meet my running buddies at the bike path for a walk. The hugs and smiles and laughter filled me up. It was invigorating to feel the cold air. I walked a little further than I had originally planned. My body did its job. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to feel a sense of accomplishment from movement.
Rest. Hugs and laughter. Fresh air. Movement.