Now that I can eat normal food again, I’m able to maintain a more normal calorie level and I’m feeling better. Actually, I’m feeling more than better: I’m feeling much more like myself again. I’m not 100% yet–chemobrain still slows me down now and then, and I’m physically a bit weak, out of breath easily–but I’m not feeling depressed or weirdly inadequate anymore.
My final full-dose chemo is a week from today. With hindsight, I know the time I felt the worst after the last chemo treatment was when I had really bad dehydration. It was so severe that my blood pressure was 80/60 (instead of my normal 120/80). Even after a full two liters (!) of IV fluids, it was still well below normal. The good thing is that dehydration is preventable and once it was treated, I felt almost normal. There was some fatigue, but it was manageable. So I anticipate the final chemo will be about the same.
It makes me think about the time after that chemo, after the couple weeks it will take me to recover. It makes me think about things going back to normal… and what normal even means now. It’s not just about the period of extreme uncertainty between the last chemo and the first results scan (sometime in March). It’s about trying to remember what life used to be like before hearing the words “there’s a mass in your lung.”
At least for me, those words brought normal life to a full stop so abruptly that resuming it on the other side sounds impossibly hard or strange… or just plain impossible. For example, as I plan to start cooking our dinners again, I think, “What did I used to cook?” It’s a sincere question–I really can’t remember. And I enjoy cooking!
What was normal? Where did I go? What did I do? What occupied my time and thoughts?
To some extent, getting back to “normal” will be like rediscovering myself.