The second chemo treatment, two weeks later went off without a hitch, and I’ve been lucky that the usual side-effects haven’t been a problem. The worst side effect has been fatigue-but that’s manageable and I’m fortunate in that I’m able to do what I can, then rest when I need to. Some people, especially those with children or other family responsibilities don’t have that luxury, and I’m sure that adds to their stress level.
The woman in the treatment chair next to mine was having her first chemo treatment. She sat there with tears rolling down her face. I couldn’t tell whether she was in pain or scared or what, probably both. The nurses tried to cheer her up, and her daughter or another relative would come back to the treatment area for a few minutes, but she would go back to the silent tears as soon as they left. I asked her if this was her first time and she opened up a little. She told me that her husband had suffered a stroke last year and wasn’t able to do much for himself and now, in addition to having to deal with her own cancer diagnosis, not knowing how the treatment was going to affect her and her ability to care for her husband, she felt quite overwhelmed. And then she was worried about whether she’s get nausea or be too tired to do anything and how she could take a shower while hooked up to the pump at home. My feeling is that sitting in a chair for three or four hours with nothing to do but watch fluids drip into your veins gives you too much uninterrupted time to dwell on the negatives, so I decided to keep asking her questions and answering any she asked me. I was eventually able to get her onto some other subjects and managed to make her laugh a few times. My treatment finished up before hers did; as I was getting hooked up to my pump getting ready to leave, she thanked me for making her laugh. I haven’t seen her in the treatment room since then, but my schedule got messed up after that treatment, more about that later. I hope she was able to come to terms with her situation and get some of her stress and worries relieved.
Speaking of relieving stress, I decided to take up yoga. My first class was on June 22. It’s quite wonderful, and the emphasis is on doing what you can do, and what you feel comfortable doing, not in trying to keep up with what everyone else is doing. Since I’ve been having a little dizziness when I lie down or bend over, I did mostly chair yoga, but did manage a warrior pose, although I did feel like a somewhat wimpy warrior J. The breathing and relaxing meditation we did at the end of class was SO relaxing that I’m surprised I didn’t fall out of the chair.