These four pictures essentially outline my last year – from hair to no hair, chemo 6 times over, to now growing in curly hair. What a year it has been!
I woke up in the early evening of June 2, 2015 to realize with a shock that my surgery that was supposed to only take a couple of hours had gone at least an hour longer. Then to realize that I was being admitted to the hospital – it was only supposed to be day surgery. Then hearing my dear one’s voice asking me how I was doing and saying that my doctor would be in soon. She came in and told me that I had ovarian cancer, stage 2 and that I would be needing chemotherapy to make sure that we had got it all. Yep, that was a day!
Then came the summer and fall from hell. Well, not really hell, but really, really uncomfortable. I had blood taken, oh so much blood taken, was hooked up to an IV for at least 4 hours every 3 weeks, lost all my hair, lost my energy and then neuropathy in my feet happened. I have to admit, I have never felt such pain and never want to again, as I did in my feet.
Then recovery, the slow, slow recovery. I had imagined that once chemo was over, that everything would go back to normal. Silly, silly me. Here I am, 6 months post-chemo and I am still recovering. My hair is growing back, my energy is returning, but there have been and continue to be bumps along this road. I am still dealing with neuropathy in my feet and it is likely that will continue for at least the next year. I have a situational depression which is being dealt with in all the right ways.
Here are some things I have learned and wished I had known when this all started:
- How cold my head got with no hair – thank God for my little knitted cap which made all the difference in the world.
- That you need to tell your medical folks right away if you are dealing with an out of control pain incident. Took us all awhile to find what I needed to make it better.
- That sleep in whatever form it comes is needed. Daily naps are such a blessing.
- Asking for help is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength. You don’t need to do this alone.
- Eating good food helps, but sometimes ice cream is all you want to eat – so why not??
- A good therapist/counselor makes such a difference in so many ways.
- Having an integrated medical team is essential – thank goodness I had/have that.
- Losing my hair was the least obnoxious of the side effects – hair grows back!
- Grieving for what has been lost takes it own sweet time – don’t think I’m done with that yet.
- Best friends you can text whenever and about whatever are so important!! So thankful I had mine.
If you are going through cancer treatment, please surround yourself with all the love and support you can. If you know someone who is going through treatment, reach out to them, they will be so thankful you did. If your partner is going through cancer treatment, be as strong as you are able, ask for help when you need it.
Lastly I want to publicly thank my dear one. He stood by me, rocked me when I wept, sat beside me during all of my treatments, brought me flowers, let me sleep, fed me good, good food, showered me with so much love and grace. I don’t know what I would have done without him. Love you dearest. Always and forever.