Five Days Later
It’s been hard for me to keep up with blogging on a daily (let’s be honest, semi-regular) basis. It’s been hard for me to keep up with basically anything on a daily basis. The past five days have primarily consisted of sleeping, laying down, clutching my abdomen in pain, going to the bathroom a lot, waking up in the middle of the night in pain, taking anti-nausea medication, and eating bits at a time.
The pain is not what I expected. It’s not quite nausea, it’s more of a crippling abdominal cramping that pops up frequently and randomly. I don’t feel too sick to eat, I just feel sick as soon as I eat. I am not grossed out by any foods, but certain foods are more difficult than others to process (if you know what I mean). I feel now that I should have suspected symptoms like this, banking on the fact that I have a pretty weak stomach and often get stomach cramps (especially after eating half of a large Domino’s pizza. God do I miss shitty pizza.)
Aside from the nausea and cramping, I am also completely fatigued. Boy, am I fucking tired. It’s not even the type of tired I expected. I expected to want to nap all day and sleep 12 hours at night (well, that has been happening). You know, normal sleepy/tired/fatigued feelings. Instead, I am actually out of breath walking to and from the mailbox. Granted, the mailbox is a few houses up the road, so that is quite the journey. But still… I’m a young, healthy and fit 20-something who can’t make it a block up the road?? I guess, I was a young, healthy and fit 20-something.
I can almost feel my muscles shrinking. All of that time I spent in the gym in 2014 — poof, gone. All of those fucking subway stairs I climbed in New York, training to be a New Yorker— poof, gone. Everything undone in a matter of weeks.
Other fun side effects I have noticed post-chemo round 1:
- My taste buds are changing ever so slightly. Food tastes more bland.
- Every once in a while, I’ll hear a high-pitched, sharp ringing in one of my ears. It goes away after a few moments. This is not cool.
- My teeth feel more sensitive. Have I mentioned my new cancer dental routine? For the curious, I now do the following 3x daily: Brush, floss, rinse with baking soda and water, rinse and swallow L-Glutamine and water. Yum.
- I have absolutely lost weight. I look waif-ish. I haven’t been this skinny since probably early college. I have to say, the narcissist in myself is really enjoying this.
- “Chemo fog” is REAL. I would best describe it as the way caffeine addicts feel when they are denied their morning cup of coffee— sluggish and slow. I have quit coffee post-diagnosis, so perhaps my actual caffeine withdrawal is contributing. Though I highly doubt it, as I haven’t been drinking coffee pretty much since surgery, which was over a month ago.
As far as I can tell, that’s the extent of it *so far*. It is somehow better and worse than I expected all at once. Mostly, it is just a lot at once. I am getting immensely sad about the prospect of my body losing all of its strength and endurance. All of that strength I built up in New York, speed walking 4+ miles daily and climbing a zillion flights of stairs, all of that strength is probably— no, definitely gone already.
I have pretty much decided that one of my gifts to myself upon my return to the real world will be a personal trainer. I want to become stronger than I have ever been, mentally and physically. I want to be able to lift my body weight and run for miles. Hey, maybe I’ll train for a half marathon or something! God do I miss running. I miss being able to run.
You really do appreciate what you had once it’s gone.