Walk in the park?

No one said it would be easy… No one said it would be a walk in the park well no one other than me. I had approached chemo with a very cavalier attitude, easy peasy as my kid says. Yes I would be tired but then what mom isn’t. I read all that the internet had to offer every side effect, every symptom but like most parenting books the reality never seems to match up to the book does it? I had told my parents to come as scheduled and I would be FINE. Well the first chemo and all my resolve to face this alone got shattered.

The first chemo is still a haze. I remember my husband threatening to call security if my 4-year-old would not finish mac and cheese [to be fair we do threaten to call security for a lot of things] but the kids have dad wrapped around their fingers and I immediately realized I needed help, cue a few tearful calls to my parents and to their credit they were on a flight from India in a record 4 days. Apparently everyone other than me knew how hard chemo would be and I was just being the stubborn Gemini that I usually am.

For the technically inclined the AC chemo protocol is a fatigue inducing, zombie producing treatment. You feel like you just completed a triathlon thrice. The fatigue is unnatural and all you want to to do is crawl under the covers and come out next year. My kids have been such troopers through this, taken everything in their stride and just made my life happier and given me a reason to troop on. People keep telling me how brave I am to battle cancer stoically but I think I can speak for all cancer patients that bravery is just a miniscule part of it. You just don’t have a choice other than to keep going back to the brutal treatment which is the one hope of getting rid of the disease. You just take one day at a time and deal with your body betraying you in the worst way possible.

The mental toll was worse than the physical toll. Staying in USA you are used to bringing up your kids all by yourself so it is extremely hard to give up that control to anyone even if  that anyone is your mom. Just the simple act of not being able to count till five when my kid brushes his teeth or not being able to make their pasta the right amount of cheesy made me feel very unproductive. That coupled with way too much time to wallow in self-pity kind of made me really frustrated. One of the reasons I kept off Facebook all these days. The world was going on as normal while my life was at a stand still. People went on spring breaks, got married, had kids while my life had slowed down to a day to day battle of dealing with awesomely irritating side effects the chemo brought forth.

What got me through were simple pleasures, a cousin sending over snippets of her everyday life even though I never replied, Farmville/Farmtown friends [who later became more than just people I could get a cow from] sent cards and care packages which reminded me that I still existed beyond my illness and that out of sight was not out of mind, my neighbor who literally barged into my house few days after my first chemo when I was sitting on the stairs alone lamenting over the fact that I did not have the strength to drive my kid to school. She literally took over for me for the next few days and for these last few months where she has been so awesome about having my kids over so they could have a semblance of a normal life. My office folks who kept me in the loop just enough so I could feel like I was still a professional even though I did not have the strength to be productive. Ok this is starting to sound like an Oscar acceptance speech.

Things were hard, the side effects brutal. I did not realize how vain I was till I started losing my hair, that was devastating more than any other side effect there was. Demi Moore I wasn’t, nothing glamorous about it at all but the beauty of time is it does mend all wounds and gradually I moved past it and started using the wigs I had bought earlier. So now I look something like this only better looking.

Anyways long story short my parents are here with me and will be here till after my surgery. The more aggressive of my chemos are over. I started a new regimen this past Friday which is less taxing but will be weekly. I still have about 11 to go which will end in August. This treatment is also not very zombifying so my life is gradually crawling to a semblance of normalcy [if it was ever normal in the first place]. I should be online more often, post on the blog more often but these past few months have taught me not to be so sure of the future and to take the good days as they come and take the bad days in your stride too. So we will see….

 

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012 at 4:56 am and is filed under Discovery. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.