I’m feeling really good these days. Really, really good. It’s funny, at my last visit with my Oncologist, I told her I was aging in fast forward. Which isn’t as crazy as it sounds, considering that I started chemo as a young wrinkle-free 105-lb mom, and finished months later as a feeble, gray-faced, bald 120-lb old lady.
At least that how you feel, post-chemo. There’s a fast-forwarding of life that happens. These past months since my last treatment have been about me adjusting to a revised rhythm, and getting to know this new version of me. At just over 2 months post-chemo, I’m beginning to get color back in my face, and my hair, though very dark, is coming in with a vengeance. There are still no eyelashes to speak of, but I am pleased to note that the facial muscle twitching is dissipating.
Though I’m seeing improvements in many areas, unlike some diseases, there’s no graduation day with cancer. It’s never really over. There are frequent doctor appointments, the next 10-years of Tamoxifen side effects to be managed, and – if things get really exciting – ultrasounds “just in case”.
But life goes on, and our new normal actually feels…normal. Fun, even – with a family of 6 there is plenty of fun. So we are adapting. Accepting. Coping.
A friend of mine refers to life after breast cancer….extras (extra worries, extra pills, extra tests, extra hot flashes, extra weight gain, extra sleepless nights, etc) as “Survivorship Issues.”
I LOVE this phrase, Survivorship Issues. I love it because it reminds me that I’m one of the lucky ones. Yeah, the side effects stink, and there are too many days where I battle my own anxieties (it’s a totally weird thing, calculating the age you can safely die knowing your children will be OK – my friends assure me this is both totally normal AND completely effing meaningless), and the phrase Survivorship Issues reminds me that all of these anxieties and tests and extra appointments and – yes – even the Tamoxifan side effects are all because I made it. I survived.
I’m a survivor.