>Dreading the C-word – Chemo

>     Today is the day I meet with the medical oncologist to discuss treatment options in addition to radiation. I’m afraid he’s going to throw out the big C word – chemo.  Up until I got the results from the first surgery, I had been in denial about chemo. I had convinced myself that I could avoid it.  Radiation and some pill would be enough.  It’s not that I’m worried about losing my hair (though a bald me would be very scary). I’ve even joked that if I have to have chemo and I do lose my hair, maybe it will grow back naturally red (no gray) and curly. Ok, so I’m only half joking about that.  No, at this point, I’m not worried about my hair, it’s my energy.  While my husband was deployed, I got my act together, signed up for a wonderful weight loss program (Metabolic Research Center) and lost 80 pounds.  I went from being a tired, overweight middle aged woman, to a healthy, fit middle aged woman (who just might have look a little younger than her actual age.) I discovered the joy of walking and have even been working on being fit enough to hike up Pikes Peak.  I’ll let chemo have my hair (I’ll wear a wig or hat), but I don’t want it to take my energy.  

    It’s not just my personal life that will be impacted by chemo.  I’m an elementary school librarian. My students come to the library once a week for 30 minutes and I’m trying to figure out ways that I can get more time with them.  I’m afraid that chemo will zap my energy and I won’t even be able to handle the small amount of time I do have with them.  To be honest, I’ve not yet done any research on the effects of chemo.  I’m only going on what I’ve heard.  My mother-in-law had more than one round of chemo. It drained all of her energy.  Granted, she had a much more aggressive cancer than mine.  But she was only two years older than I am now.  It’s hard not to make the comparisons. Intellectually, I know I shouldn’t make comparisons – emotionally, I can’t help it.  My mother in law eventually cut herself off from everyone, family and even some of her closest friends.  Looking in from the outside, I can’t help be think maybe the chemo did more harm than good.  (Again, that’s the emotion talking.)  I trust my doctors. I have a good team. I’m a librarian. Need a good book or some research resources – call me. Need medical advice, talk to the doctors. So, I will go with what my doctors tell me.  I just can’t promise I won’t whine about it a little.  I guess there’s really nothing I can do until I hear from the doctor this afternoon.
On a somewhat lighter note, I’ve started reading Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips by Kris Carr. It was a free Kindle book for my iPad.   So far, I’m finding it to be just what I need.  I might even buy a print copy for my shelves.  Check back here or on my book blog (Booklady’s Booknotes) for a full review when I’m finished.  In the meantime this is what Amazon says about it:

Product Description:

An advice-from-the-trenches cancer survival guidebook for young women with cancer.
Actress and photographer Kris Carr thought she had a hangover, but a Jivamukti yoga class didn’t provide its usual kick-ass cure. A visit to her doctor confirmed her “liver looked like Swiss cheese,” covered with cancerous tumors. She entered trench warfare (wearing cowboy boots into the MRI machine, no less), vowing, “Cancer needed a makeover and I was just the gal to do it!” She began writing and filming her journey, documenting her interactions with friends, doctors, alternative “quacks,” blind dates, and other women with cancer–sadly a growing group. These include hip, young women such as illustrator-author Marisa Acocella Marchetto (Cancer Vixen), Glamour writer-editor Erin Zammett (My So-Called Normal Life), MTV personality Diem Brown (Real World/Road Rules Challenge), model Sharon Blynn (founder, Bald Is Beautiful), and music manager Jackie Farry, among others. 

Here’s my first tip to share (actually my assistant principal shared it with me and I’m passing it along.)  I have found that when fighting any illness whether it be a cold, cancer, or injuries of some kind, my energy level drops as my body works overtime to heal.  So there are quite a few things I don’t feel like doing. One of those is cleaning house. (OK, to be honest, I never feel like cleaning house, I’d much rather read a book. But my mother was a neat freak and though she didn’t pass that down to me, she did manage to pass down the guilt over a messy house. Gee, thanks Mom!).  There’s a wonderful organization Cleaning For a Reason that will provide house cleaning once a month for four months for women who are going through chemo.  If you need this service or know someone who does check them out. If you don’t need this service, but are looking for a way to support the fight against cancer, you can make a donation or purchase items promoting the service.

Check back tomorrow to see what the oncologist says.  


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