Fucking Cancer

Interregnum, day 1. Today is the first day of my “break” between chemo and radiation and I’m really angry at cancer and what it has done to me and to people I care about.

The day started with decorating for Christmas, bringing in the Christmas tree that we had cut down on Saturday, and getting ready to decorate the tree and the house. The only problem was that I was exhausted in 30 minutes. Normally, I do most of the decorating and can start and finish it in a morning, but today I got a few decorations up around the house, and was in a sweat and ready to rest in short order. I had a nice little temper tantrum, complete with tears, angry that I had absolutely no stamina and about a tenth of the energy I had last year at this time. Fuck. Clearly six months of surgeries, stress, chemo and its aftermath, very little exercise, and weird nutrition has taken its toll.

After that great beginning, I went to physical therapy, where I did the circuit developed individually for me during my first session last week. It feels pathetic that my routine starts with 5 minutes on the elliptical since that’s about all I can do before my heart rate hits the maximum they will allow me. I inched it up to 6 today, hoping to get to 10 minutes in a month or so, which is what they’ve set as my goal. I’m trying to accept that 5 minutes is an acceptable amount for a cancer patient, but damn, I feel like such a weakling.

I then went for a two-hour preliminary “mapping” session and education on treatment with my radiation oncologist. His original plan was something called “deep inspiration breath hold” where I have to hold my breath during radiation for 30 seconds in order to create distance between the radiation and my heart since it’s right beneath the location of my cancer. Unfortunately, I couldn’t hold my breath for more than 20 seconds at most, and I tried and tried to do it, nearly bursting into tears again. I thought, hell, I’m a swimmer (or was before all this), this should be a piece of cake. But no, I haven’t been swimming in 6 months and as my radiation oncologist observed, I’m deconditioned. Nice word for “weak as all shit.” So he will find another way to avoid heart damage and a different method for treatment. He promises me he still will get the cancer, which is all I ask.

In the midst of this, I learned that a good friend was just diagnosed with breast cancer and I want to scream. It’s not fair. I hate cancer today.

8 thoughts on “Fucking Cancer

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  1. I am with you in hating cancer today, but really grateful for strong women like you and your (and my) good friend who are and will kick cancer’s butt! I have to say, I actually think 6 minutes on the elliptical is pretty impressive considering! Also, “deconditioned” sounds kind of like “decommissioned”, which is what they do with warships and you are a human warship right now! The tree and house will get just as decorated if you do it slowly as it would if you did it all in one day – cut yourself some slack, sweetie – it has been a rough road. sending love

    Liked by 1 person

  2. JANET!!! Six minutes on the eliptical is AWESOME! Inched up from 5! And decorating for 30! You are done with the worst part, and doing the right thing, keeping moving — congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

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