My first chemo treatment is creeping up on me ... and I'm not sure I know how I'm dealing with it. Usually I know myself and my feelings very well - too well, too often. But this is different, and I'm not sure why. The days immediately following our appointment with Dr. Borges last week were tough... and I was unaware. I guess I thought that since I'd made the decision to follow through with the chemo treatment - I wouldn't be as emotionally affected as I was when I decided to do the bi-lateral mastectomies. I thought I made a decision and that was that - and I was OK. But I wasn't.
By Thursday last week, I was tired - emotionally and physically. I felt drained and unmotivated. Sleep was escaping me - and that is torment for me. I have never had any issues sleeping. I can sleep anywhere, anytime, after any amount of sleep I may have had already - I can still fall asleep. I like sleep. I'm good at it. But last week it started becoming harder. I just couldn't get comfortable so I'd toss ... and toss and toss and toss. I'd lay there with my eyes closed prepared to fall into my natural rhythm with sleep and instead of falling asleep, I'd listen. I'd listen to all that was running through my mind and I couldn't turn it off - tune it out - or calm my thoughts enough to let myself fall into sleep. And I wasn't thinking about anything in particular or specifically about chemo - which was more frustrating because at least if it were that - I could work toward making more peace with my decision and eventually that would lead me to a calm state - and I could fall asleep. But lately it's nothing special and no position is comfortable. Point blank - tissue expanders are hard. Period. And that hardness makes it tough to be comfortable - especially when you like to fall asleep curled up into a ball, on your side. Impossible. OK - not impossible, but really darn hard. And especially frustrating after feeling "healed" from surgery and like I should be able to sleep however which way I want.
After the weekend I feel great, rested and ready to go in to the next week - but by the time Wednesday comes around - my energy is waning and my frustration is growing and the glow of my spirit is flickering.
I told Mike two nights ago that I think I'm teetering on the edge of depression. I haven't had my major meltdown that should have come with the decision to do chemo - and maybe the suppression of those emotions is causing the sleeplessness. Maybe I just need to sit down and cry and get it out and over with. I'm not "depressed" clinically speaking - but I am feeling deflated. And all of this very well could be the effects of the lack of sleep. I just keep telling myself that it's only until the end of the year. It's only 4 months that I have to deal with this. In 4 months I'll have my "exchange" - the softer, gentler, kinder implants will be in and at last, I will sleep a deep, long, restful sleep - that is comfortable. I really can't wait, and what a great Christmas present that will be.
What's weighing on me about chemo? I don't want to look or feel sick. I don't feel "sick" - and I haven't looked sick throughout this whole process. Undergoing chemo could very possibly land me in the "cancer patient" category to the outside world. I don't identify with that label. I can't -- because I don't understand it. I don't consider myself a "cancer patient." I don't feel like it's that serious. It just feels like regular doctor visits and regular steps to ensure my health. And maybe I'm in denial about my diagnosis and maybe that's because I feel fine. But it's plaguing me that I'm going to actually feel, and look, sick - in order to NOT be sick. It's such a paradox and I'm having difficulty accepting the underlying truth.
But (sigh) - regardless ... the show must go on. At least I have the perfect outfit for opening night.