Yesterday marked the last chemotherapy infusion. Now to recover … and celebrate of course! But how?
After four cycles of treatment, hair loss and some inconvenience from other symptoms I have completed my chemotherapy program. Each cycle is three weeks long, so I am at the beginning of that. However, I see the infusion as being the worst of it – and that’s now over! The worst of it, just because it is what it is – hospital time, chemicals being infused into my body and the anticipation of the days ahead. Now don’t get me wrong – I have had a pretty good run. I have had minimal symptoms and they have not been too debilitating.
Three influential habits
I think three things have helped me through my treatment so far: fitness, a positive mindset and living well.
My oncologist has suggested I have dealt with the chemo so well because I have a good level of fitness. I have maintained my routine – group crossfit classes five days a week – with only a couple of absences. All credit to my trainers at UnrealPT, who have been very supportive in getting me back to the gym. Truthfully, it is the best treatment I could engage in. Despite the challenges posed by the workouts, I feel better on recovery. Anything that makes you feel better without prescribed medication is worth considering in my books!
The other thing is mindset. I am sure that the mindset you adopt also has a part to play in how you deal with the things you are dealt in life. I am no champion, but I just viewed this treatment program as something that had to be done. It was to prevent recurrence as much as anything else. I am confident that I am going to recover and get on with life and do all the great things that I have planned.
The treatment has not really stopped me from engaging in my usual activities – be they work or play. I have just limited my interactions in crowds somewhat. I have recently become a step-grandmother! (Let’s leave out the step!) And, I am going to be a good granny, even an outrageous one. I have work to do – even through the treatment I have been able to do work from home. I have places to go. What is the title of the Dr Seuss book – “Oh the places you’ll go?” Well yes I have places to go, to see and to ski, to wait and to conquer and sometimes not. But all of it is possible.
Life is like a wild tiger
You can either lie down and let it
Lay its paw on your head
Or sit on its back and ride
~ RIDE THE WILD TIGER
Living well is important too. That means eating well, resting well and being supported well. It’s a personal thing and everything is relative I suppose. I have tried to be balanced. We buy fresh market produce, use home-grown herbs and cook most things from first principles (I’m a country girl at heart). It’s not all organic. I have had to manage my energy and take little “nanna-naps” as needed. I haven’t missed celebrations but they have been early nights ie NYE! Mr Controleur has been at my side throughout. It hasn’t been easy for him – at times harder than my lot. He even said he would “have the chemotherapy for me if he could!”
I have managed to maintain a calm demeanour through it all though. It wasn’t a conscious decision, it has just unfolded that way. There certainly were wobbly moments – especially at the time of diagnosis. I have had excellent, medical treatment that I trusted. Although not always good at asking for help, I have asked for it when I needed it. So far, I have avoided the question “why?” I am not sure that it is helpful. It just is. There is no blame or reason that will help me in that. But, there has been some learning that just happened, on the way.
Philosopher’s hat off, party hat on
Time to celebrate! Now that there is a light at the end of this tunnel, I want to find some ways of celebrating – to acknowledge the completion of treatment. A few ideas come to mind immediately, although not all can be implemented straight away.
Perhaps I should have a staged celebration?
Small “yes!” moments staged throughout the rest of the cycle?
Well here are some ideas …
A glass of bubbly? (especially good as I have had very little alcohol since starting treatment!)
A delicious breakfast out? A favourite pastime, following market shopping!
A dinner with friends and family who have supported me?
A hot-chocolate at MÖRK? (on a cool day of course!)
A dinner out with Mr Controleur? My main supporter (even shares the chemo hairstyle!)
Do you have ideas to share?
Would you share them on this blog? Simply write them in the comments box below. I will let you know what I decide to do.
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Photo credits – Anthony Delanoix, Kevin Curtis, Mantra Media via Unsplash.com; Mork website: morkchocolate.com.au and one author’s own (poached eggs).