Climbing Out

Cycle 4, day 17. A survivor friend contacted me last week to ask if I was “climbing out of the hole” and I honestly can’t think of a better description of the recovery trajectory from chemo. This last round has been slow going. Usually by this time, I’m feeling pretty good and pretty energetic, but not so this round. Yes, I have some energy and I’m not in distress from side effects, but those side effects lasted longer this time and only stopped a few days ago. And my energy level isn’t great, with naps still a regular part of my day. When I compare where I was at this time in cycle 2, I was walking a 5K the equivalent of three days ago, and that seems pretty inconceivable to me today.

I understand that this is pretty standard fare for the last round, and another survivor friend reminded me yesterday after we took a walk that my body had been assaulted for the past six months and it needed time to recover. Indeed. I’m glad I have the rest of this month to do that before radiation begins. I think I need it.

On the good news front, my spirits are a bit better, my husband is around more, my appetite is returning, and I can read again. The last one was the hardest to adjust to. I usually read a lot, at least a book a week, more when I have the time, and in the days after chemo, I was lucky to have the attention span for pictures in a magazine. I had the energy today to walk the track at the gym for 43 minutes at a decent pace and then do a Christmas Target run, after which I’m now ready for a nap (which I’ll need if I’m going to make it through my husband’s retirement party tonight).

On Friday, I plan to go back to the physical therapy program for cancer patients that my hospital offers, setting up a program of exercises that I can do to get my strength back up since swimming won’t be on the menu until after radiation. I’m looking forward to having something other than walking to do.

So for the coming few weeks the dilemma will be pacing myself, setting reasonable goals each day, and not expecting miracles. I’m still climbing out.

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