Apr 24, 2010 - 10:00 pm
Just a 'Flash Back' from when I was trying to climb out of the dark times in the first few weeks post treatment. Firstly, just know you will overcome the feelings that 'you will never get over it', fatigue, mucous, no taste, can hardly eat, and all the other things you are dealing with, it just takes time for you body to recover. Try to stay hydrated and get good nutrition in any way you can so your body has the stuff it needs to recover.
During this period, I inadvertently downloaded the book by Lance Armstrong called 'It's Not About The Bike'. It only took a an hour or so to download the full book onto my Lap Top. At that time I had not discovered these pages so I was totally alone trying to figure it all out. I had been down in a deep depression, had pain, heavy mucus and all the rest of it. I thought I would never get better.
A friend called one day and put me in touch with her brother, who had been through almost an identical treatment and same Cancer as me (SCC of the tonsil). I emailed the guy and asked "how long will this nightmare end ?". He reassured me and said to be patient, measure my improvements by the week, not the day - and to try to get out and about and do a few normal activities each day. These would be walking to the shops to buy a paper, pint of milk or whatever. Start a little daily routine.
I took his advice and ventured out for short , slow walks around our apartment. I was very weak and still somewhat distressed. I ended up going further out into the shopping areas and went into a Starbucks Cafe not far from our apartment to take a rest. I had my Laptop with me as I had intending to walk much further, to my office, but couldn't make it physically or emotionally. Maybe I was being a little over ambitious. I opened my Laptop and found the file where I had downloaded the Lance Armstrong book. I started to read. Note that all during treatment I didn't have the inclination to read at all. This was the first time I had even attempted to read anything but email.
I was immediately sucked into Lances story and 2 hours disappeared in a flash. I had to go home but couldn't wait to come back and do it again. I made this a daily event and looked forward to my expeditions to Starbucks and the thick shake I actually could drink (slowly). So that's where I would sit, in a big comfortable chair in the warm cafe reading that book.
It is a fascinating story of the great fight we all have had and he managed to win in many ways, far beyond what I could achieve but he demonstrated what is possible despite having all the odds stacked up against you. The book is an inspiration. Just as important though, was for me to regain the ability to get out and have a few hours where I was not sick or worried or depressed. I think that was the conscious start of my recovery. I found a break in the continuous feeling of helplessness and despair.
These moments became more and more frequent and eventually they took over from the continuos dark patches that clouded most of my earlier days after treatment had finished.
Now six months out, things are so much better and almost normal and continuing to improve. In fact things are great. The few remaining effects are easy to manage and life is again good. I hope those of you in the darker patched will soon see you way out and start to replace the bad with the good and build back your lives the way they should be.