There is always one last gasp of winter where I live, a dusting of snow after flowers have already started to bloom. Everyone complains about it like the weather owes us something. We want to believe that we’ve turned the corner into days of sunshine and warmth when all of a sudden it’s -1C and snowing.
I was so happy that chemo had finally come to an end after four gruelling months. It was with pure joy that I rang that bell at the end of my last treatment. “I’m finally going to feel better!” I thought. I have discovered that, like spring, these things don’t happen overnight. It’s a bit of a climb back to “normal”. Throw in the common cold (my version of the surprise snow) and it can become a bit disheartening.
Photos by Elise Copps
I have exactly five weeks between my last chemo treatment and my bilateral mastectomy and I want to make the most of it. Two of those weeks have already flown by and I’m not quite where I want to be. To be fair, I have put some high expectations on these weeks. We all know how that can turn out sometimes. “This is going to be the best trip ever!”or “Our wedding will go off without a hitch!” Curve balls happen. We just have to expect that.
Every day that I wake up however, I feel a little bit better. I still can’t believe that the worst is over. Friday would have been a chemo day if I had kept going. I went to the hospital in the morning to get a Herceptin infusion but that was no big deal as far as treatment goes. Normally at this time, I would have been anticipating going downhill over the next few days. Now, as a friend reminded me, I get those days back. This is a remarkable feeling. I’m free! No more falling into the pit and climbing back out. I’m not sure how many metaphors I can use in one blog but I may be breaking records with this one.
I walked the dog by myself today. That was a bit of an achievement. She’s pretty strong and I’ve been pretty weak so that duty has fallen upon my husband and daughter of late. Walking her made me feel normal. It was warm and sunny outside after yesterday’s snow and it felt good to be walking. I need to get my strength and endurance up so that I can be in good shape for surgery.
I’ve also noticed that there are tiny hairs starting to return on the top of my very bald head. My eyebrows and lashes are scant but I know that they will return as well. I’ve been told that 2-3 weeks after chemo ends, the hair makes a comeback. Alleluia! This will also be an exercise in patience I’m sure. I have never grown my hair from scratch. Even as a newborn I had more hair than this. I’m going to take photos at intervals so that we can see exactly how long this takes. It will also be a relief to have nose hairs back. I have discovered they have a purpose. Since losing them, I have been keeping the Kleenex company in business. The eyelashes aren’t just for batting either. My eyes have been watering for months! So far I haven’t lost any finger or toenails but that can happen too with Taxol. That’s a side effect I hope I’ve evaded.
I look forward to the day when I will no longer look like “Breast cancer lady” without a wig and a whole lot of make-up. Right now I look like the “Ancient One” from Dr. Strange if I’m being honest. Speaking of which, I got asked if I qualified for the senior’s discount at my local pharmacy this week. Not exactly in those words but it was implied. I’ve said before that your ego can really take a hit with this chemo thing and I was right. Ugh.
Even with all of these positive notions of new hair, lashes and brows, there’s the impending loss that I have been loath to write about. I will, eventually. In the meantime I’m going to enjoy these days of recovery and count my blessings. Spring is here after all.
Photo by EncyProductions.com
Make Up by @Nathymakeup
Watch me ring the bell!