Today, I am sitting in my ‘injection chair’ at Lingard Private having my sixth and last hit of chemo drugs Taxotere and Carboplatin (I will keep having the Herceptin drug intravenously for the rest of the year). During the days leading to this one, family and friends in a show of positivity, love and support have commented how excited I must be that this is my last chemo treatment. I have tried to put a smile on my face in agreement. To be honest I’m not excited at all. Maybe I will be in a few weeks, but not today. I have the slippery slope of sickness coming.
Today I just keep thinking about how bad the side effects were from my last or fifth chemo cycle and so I’m dreading the coming weeks of sickness. I am so over it and I acknowledge that I don’t sound very positive. Maybe I should just take the rock band ‘Thirsty Mercs’ advice and ‘…build a bridge so I can get over myself…’. Many people have it worse than I do.
Round number five was pretty bad for me, though. For a week and half, my tongue felt burnt and tasted like a frequently used ashtray and my sense of smell became super-sensitive, and not in a good way. Food tasted terrible, my tongue was also ulcerated, and the shroud of nausea overwhelming.
One morning I was feeling particularly dreadful, so Craig took me for a drive to Warners Bay so I could sit by the lake for a while and enjoy the serenity. As we pulled up to park along the esplanade, I could smell bacon cooking and coffee brewing from a local café and that set off the retching. Ladies, if you have had an aversion to certain smells during morning sickness, you will know what I’m talking about.
When you feel overwhelmed with sickness, even little ventures seem like such an effort. After spending a few days in bed or on the lounge, my house starts to feel like a prison. Even making the effort to get outside for fresh air can feel like climbing a mountain. It’s in moments like these, when I desperately want to feel well again and enjoy normal activities like walking outside, that I realise how I must appreciate the importance of finding the joy in the little things. Having the energy to water the garden or the strength take a walk down around the lake, spending quality time with my children or enjoying my favourite food.
People often say to me when they see me that I look well. In the third, ‘good’ week of my cycle I do feel normal again and, man, have I learnt to love and cherish those good weeks. It was that wise woman Joni Mitchell who wrote and sang those famous lines, ‘Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone…’. So true!
Having chemo again today, even though it is the last time I receive the two ‘heavy’ drugs (i.e. the drugs that cause the worst side effects), I know I am on the downward slide to that foul sickness again. I just have to appreciate every day the sickness finally subsides and take the time to find the joy in those little things: they are a gift.
In my pre-cancer life, I was always busy, busy, busy. I was such a worrier and lived off stress and adrenaline. I have a great job and a wonderful family, but didn’t take the time to stop and appreciate the joy these precious things gave me.
I urge everyone to take a moment everyday to stop and find the joy in whatever little things you are doing and as that famous book by Richard Carlson urges us to do …’Don’t sweat the small stuff…and it’s all small stuff’. Because one day you might not know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone!
For your enjoyment, check out fab Joni Mitchell in action and enjoying the moment - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgMEPk6fvpg