It is almost 6 weeks on from my final chemo and these weeks have had a kind of limbo feel to them.
The first 3 weeks were fine and spent recovering from chemo and getting ready to go to London with my family for the weekend. We had a great time but I came back with a cough that just wouldn’t go away. My throat was sore and my voice was croaky. It interfered with my sleep and consequently contributed to my feelings of exhaustion. My bones were aching.
Since coming off the steroids my scalp has become very red and itchy as has the skin under my breasts. I weighed myself and actually couldn’t believe how much weight I had put on. My feet are still sore and the skin on my right foot is red and cracked. My nails are discoloured and look like they will fall off. My hair is growing back but it sparse and patchy on top and looks worse than just being bald did. My face is very round. I feel ugly.
My periods have not come back yet but I still get hot flushes and sweating at various points during the day. I have been to the Dr to get my bloods checked for anaemia as I feel so tired and need to sleep in the afternoon. I am also waiting for my radiotherapy dates to come through, they are late and that is contributing to my anxiety.
As I write this all down I realise why I might be feeling rather miserable. In addition, I occasionally find myself going down the ‘What if I die?’ line of thinking. It’s sometimes unavoidable and actually I probably do need to think about that in order to process my feelings. I am aware that I have some pent up feelings inside. I find myself crying sometimes when looking at my children. I don’t let them see but sometimes I feel overwhelmed with emotion. I’m not even sure what kind of emotion it is. It’s not happy and yet not completely sad. It’s some kind of appreciation of the moment I am in which will pass. An understanding that this is my life, these moments filled with the love I have for my boys.
I have been able to walk every day, only about 30 mins as I get so tired and as April has turned to May I have watched the trees budding and becoming green again. I see the flowers beginning to bloom and colour coming back to the fields. The first flower I saw in April was a wild pansy but I prefer the more romantic name of ‘Heartsease’. I know that in a few weeks that whole field will turn purple, a cloak of colour. It will be beautiful.
There is a time for everything. I realise that this time is about recovery and accepting that I might not bounce back to health quickly or be instantly ok emotionally. It all takes time and perhaps this is what I need to go through first in order to feel comfortable with myself again. Or maybe find a new equilibrium.
I have always been looking forward, moving forward and I suppose that’s why I have found this period difficult. Staying in the same place has not had the same appeal. But I this is what recovery is, resting, healing and recharging. It has been necessary. This has been really hard but it will ease. I feel an echo of spring inside myself, the budding of hope.
Things will get better.