Faith from the Edges

Faith and life from the perspective of me.

Life between Chemo Sessions

I admit it, I still don’t like saying the words that I have cancer and in particular I don’t like saying the words ovarian cancer. Hard words to say, harder I think for others to hear. I keep reminding myself and others that my prognosis is good, that I will get through this, that my hair will grow back, that my energy and focus will come back, that the neuropathy pain will subside, that there will be life after chemo. Right now, however, my life is what I do or don’t do between chemo sessions.

Ovarian Cancer Canada Sunflower

This has been a difficult week pain wise. I am dealing with peripheral neuropathy pain which is a side effect of the chemo medications. This means that I am getting numbness, tingling and worst of all burning pain in my feet, lower legs, hands and lower arms. It has been hard and I have been grumpy and not sleeping well. I have been taking pain meds and am on a longer term acting med (which takes time to build up in my system) to deal with it. My health care providers have told me that it is likely that this will last for several months after the chemo treatments have finished.

Sharing all this not to look for sympathy but to let others know what it is like to live on chemo – it is hard. Be gentle with those of us who are dealing with it. Ask before hugging, it may not be a good day for it. Pray, if you pray, for those of us living with it to have the strength and courage to get through it. I have shed more tears of late than I thought I had left in me.

Life between chemo sessions right now is about managing the side effects, making sure I get enough sleep (thank God for afternoon naps), drinking lots and lots of fluids, eating the right foods, watching more TV than is probably good for me, getting some small tasks done each day, hanging with the dear one, remembering to take all my meds and supplements to deal with the side effects, small walks that get me outside, reaching out to friends and family for love and support and sometimes just being.

Rocking a scarf and earrings! Some days are good.

I know I haven’t written a lot lately, it takes a lot of energy to write. Hopefully when I am through the chemo life there will be more to write about. In the meantime, thank you dear readers for hanging in with me, thank you for your notes of support, for your prayers and your good wishes. Not doing this alone and for that I am most grateful.

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2 thoughts on “Life between Chemo Sessions

  1. Hi Fiona, Cyber hugs, which shouldn’t hurt. 🙂 I have a friend who is one year out from breast cancer, which I know is different. She was told that the post chemo recovery would take about a year and I think that is holding true for her. There is light at the end of a long, dark tunnel.

    I have suffered severe peripheral neuropathy from Lupus, again different than chemo. I found two things that helped topically, calendula ointment or cream and oil of peppermint (essential oil). The peppermint worked a bit better. You’ll likely want to check with your medicos about both and I think it is worth checking out. A pure essential oil like Young Living which is highly controlled in it’s production is likely the best though I found great success with stuff from the local health food store. Arnica cream is a natural product, if you read the label to make sure, and it helps with inflammation. From what I understand peripheral neuropathy is inflammation of the nerve endings. I have been told that bathing in an oatmeal bath helps, though I have never tried it. Also, eating high anti-oxidant foods like blueberries helps; and who doesn’t want to eat blueberries. Please, don’t be the one person that hates blueberries. 🙂

    At any rate, you know you have my prayers ongoing for as long as they are needed. You are also on our parish prayer list. I am also only a phone call away if you need my ear/shoulder to cry on or dump on or whatever.

    Love and hugs,
    Marion

    • Marion – thank you that is all helpful and I will check with the healthcare people before I use anything else. I have been taking rosemary scented epsom salt baths and they do help as well. Love blueberries by the way! Thank you for the ongoing prayers and support.

      Blessings,
      Fiona

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