Into the Trench

There’s a pattern to cancer treatments, once they’re underway. You become accustomed to the cycles–not just the appointments, but the cycle of how you’ll feel. Each day of the week brings the side effects in various strengths and weaknesses.

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Side effects also accumulate, building in intensity as treatments progress. That’s true for both chemo and radiation although the effects are usually more obvious with radiation, where your skin starts to sunburn and you can also get internal burns (esophagitis in my case). Chemo is cumulative as well but in a more subtle way, at least for me–it seems to accentuate the highs and lows each cycle.

So at this point, I’m a little over halfway through the chemo-radiation treatments. I’ll be honest: it’s difficult even with the ever-present perspective that this round of treatments is much easier than last time.  I’m exhausted all the time, but often can’t sleep because the various medications make me feel nervous and wired. My stomach is touchy at best, and I have trouble eating enough calories to keep my energy up (compounding with being tired to start with). The past week, I’ve even become weak and wobbly at times. What bothers me the most is an inability to focus on much of anything–even simple things like watching TV seems to require more attention than I can muster.

It’s why I haven’t written much in the blog, honestly, despite my pledge not to avoid posting “negative” content. It’s hard to think of what I would write about, and then hard to get enough focus to actually do it.

An odd part of the pattern is that chemo day is one of the days when I feel best, because of the strong drugs they give to compensate for the treatment. My normal chemo day is Thursday, and feeling better usually extends into Friday and Saturday before I start heading back down into the trench of Monday through Wednesday.

On the other hand, I’m over halfway done with the main treatments. With less than three weeks to go, all I have to do is buckle up and endure. It’s true–my main job right now is just to drag my butt to treatments every day. As long as I can do that and get to the end of the course, it’s all good, right?

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