Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Not So Brave

Ever since I started writing this blog, both friends and acquaintances have been telling me how brave and how courageous I am.  All I have to say is this--not so much.  

Words that I never thought would come out of my mouth are that I have been having difficulty getting my appetite back.  Apparently this is pretty typical after major surgery. Along with that, some friends seem to think that cancer is causing me lots of pain.  Interestingly enough, I have been asymptomatic and pretty much pain-free since the beginning of this nightmare. The closest thing to pain that I have experienced is that it is difficult to get comfortable.  I bounce from the chair to the sofa to the bed in an effort to find a position where I don't feel like I am channeling a wiggly first grader.  

Ever the good student and teacher pleaser, when one of my docs told me to make sure to get enough protein before I start my chemo, I decided that a very high protein drink would be a good solution. On Friday I drank some of this protein potion, and  I followed it up with more on Saturday.  Much to my dismay, the result was that I felt as though someone had blown up a beach ball and stuck it in my gut, and I was miserable.  Consequently, I only ate bland foods on Sunday in order to get my system settled down, and I started to feel much like myself again and like I was back on track.  However, on Monday a few bites of yogurt made me feel sick to my stomach.  

After two days of feeling as though I had been run over by a truck,  all of my bravado and derring-do went right out the window as did my self-confidence and my fighting spirit.  I thought to myself, “If I am scared to eat much of anything, how I am going to face the vicissitudes of chemo?   How I am going to face the lack of energy and the fatigue? How am I going to do all of the things that I want and need to do?”  
This new reality was a frightening slap in the face as I started questioning my own strength and my own resolve and my own willingness to keep fighting.  

The good news is that after yesterday's visit with my oncologist and with a dietitian, I was reassured that everything that I have been experiencing both physically and emotionally is pretty common, which was a huge relief. My chemo treatments are scheduled to begin in a few weeks, and  that will give me more time to heal from my surgery.  The better news is that if I feel up to it, I will be able to take my grandsons to see the Cubs.

All of this is to say that my first goal will be to build up my strength, endurance, and appetite enough so that I can accomplish that.  I will be setting smaller daily goals of increasing my time on the treadmill and walking a little farther to meet  Donna when she walks the dogs each day.  I plan to add more foods (gradually) to my diet to test out what I can tolerate.  

The bottom line is that this patient needs to learn to be patient and to adjust to my new normal.   Baby's all about baby steps.


  1. Sending powerful positive karma. Deep breaths to help with that patience. Be very kind to yourself. Been thinking about you!!
    Wendy Marencik

  2. Courage doesn't mean you're not afraid. It means you don't let fear stop you. You can do this!

  3. So did they ever figure out the origin of your cancer? (As if it's any of my business.) You are amazing. I hope in all this you're not beating yourself up, as in, "I SHOULD feel better." No shoulds, especially here. If feeling awful is what it takes, it's one day at a time feeling awful. I can't read when I feel sick, but I take great glee in watching brain candy movies (Tootsie, Remains of the Day, Harry Potter. YMMV). Of course, I've never experienced what you're going through. Hugs

    1. Thanks for your kind words. It looks as though the cancer originated in the cecum/bowel.