For anyone dealing with a crisis like this, you need to look at strategies to minimize the fear. Because it’s such a great blow to the life you’re living, it’s crucial that you actively don’t get sucked in the vortex of fear and despair. I have met so many amazing people online that send out the message of love and hope no matter how difficult a situation they’re in and that just makes you humble. The time to live your life is now!
Third chemotherapy out of three for the first set of treatment. Done!!! I am really relieved about that. Had to wait an extra day to make sure all my white blood cells were up to one more round. That happened Tuesday, so me and the kids went for the hospital; wanted them to see what was going on in there. It’s was a super good idea to show them that chemo is nothing scary in itself. We got into the elevator on the way in and already my daughter lit up. “Mom look, she has the same hairdo as you! I never saw that before.” I think it’s really important to involve kids as much as possible, what we don’t tell them they make up themselves. Afterwards we simply took the bus home together, even went grocery shopping and had time to play at the playground and they took some photos of me to remember the day by. It just normalised the whole situation and now they will have a joyous memory of this, getting fear out of the picture as much as we can.
Fear can sneak up on everyone. It’s the little things. For me it can happen when former colleagues send me flowers. Or when I meet friends and they look me in the eyes and say “Oh, this is really terrible”. The fear is only in my head and it mostly happens in interactions with others. I see the horror in the face of another and it goes directly to my stomach. It’s in that moment that I realise that it’s serious. I’m in a potentially really scary situation. I try to live a normal life, going to work when I have the energy, going out occasionally, seeing friends and have a good time as much as I can. But when I sometimes stop to reflect it just gets to me.
The side effects have been manageble so far, but I’m not unaffected. This third one took a greater toll on me and I’m happy it was the last of its kind. Dizziness, being immensely tired, a soar throat, a bad stomach, a bit nauseous, dry eyes and mouth, concentration problems and the obvious of my hair falling off. I sometimes fear that it will get worse. I read the pamphlet regarding the next type of chemotherapy and antibodies I’ll receive in two weeks time. Utterly bad idea. Side effects so scary you’d only take it if your other option is something worse. Which it is. Crap. Crap crap crap. And then I realise I’m still good. I feel more than ok. My day to day is good, family and friends are helping out all the time. The most silly thing would be to be upset by things that haven’t happened yet and most probably won’t ever happen. I talked to “my” nurse, she’s been following me the whole time at the oncologists, who is both emphatic and a great nurse. She said the side effects are rare. “Put those thoughts away,” she told me. I absolutely resonate with her. We talked about lifestyle changes in general and her comment was that she just recommend me to live like I use to. No diet changes, no supplements, no restrictions. Just normal healthy diet and I’ll be fine. To focus on being happy as the most important.
So the most scary parts to me are other people’s reactions and the fright of things might get worse. But still I’m feeling fine. More than fine. So there’s no use in allowing myself to dig into these thoughts, because they are in no way constructive. It’s important to keep the right proportions; especially when you think of the life of other people. I always considered myself the luckiest person in the world. Cancer challenged that view for a bit, but truth is I’m still objectively one of the luckiest people on earth. Every day I have a place to sleep, food to eat, warm clothes on my body and not the least access to the latest and most expensive health care for free when I need it. All around me I see courageous people fighting much bigger battles than me and still keeping their heads and spirits high. Both in the cancer community but also in places of the world where much hope is lost. People that flee from war and terror to try to find a better place for their kids to grow up in. People in extreme poverty everyday struggling to get by and feed their children. I have nothing to be afraid of. No reason to feel sorry for myself. I have a lot to give in this place and I hope that me and my children will see a better world for many years to come. I will not let the fear get to me, life is too precious for that. The time to live is now. Always now