I'm finding Facebook and this blog extremely helpful in not only creating a therapeudic diary of this journey, but also in helping me keep friends and family updated.
While I'm immensely thankful that people care--that means a LOT to me--I'm also finding it difficult to repeat the same updates to all the wonderful friends and family who send me emails and IMs asking how I'm doing, while still keeping up a schedule of work/rest/exercise/cooking, etc.. It is an aid to me when people check here first, and in return, I'll try not to bore you with a bunch of extraneous information that puts you to sleep. :)
All my coworkers in Finance will completely understand my ingrained need to chart and graph my statistics through these 84 days. So, of course, I started with Excel and created a daily log. It has the following columns and up to 13 individual hours can be logged on one day:
- Time of Day
- How I'm feeling
- What I've eaten
- What I've drank in the way of liquids
- Drugs I've taken
- Exercise I've done
I'm the worst one for going to the doctor with complaints then never being able to articulate exactly when and how problems come on. So I plan to be diligent in keeping this up, even though it does suck quite a bit of time out of my day.
If you are reading this post because you're going through something similar, I highly recommend and log or journal. It will help you see trends in what's working, what's not, but also keep you in tune and conscious with your body.
Giving It Up
Here is a lesson that started long before I got my first chemo infusion: To get through something like this, you've got to take your body OFF of life's schedule, and put your life ON your body's schedule. That's easy for me because I don't have a lot of set meetings, no kids to get to school and sports. I can work from home, make my hours, and I belong to a 24-hour gym. I know everyone doesn't have that luxury, but in whatever way you can, you need to do this.
Early on, with anxiety of this diagnosis, the unknown, the waiting, fear, worry, I stopped sleeping regularly. It was like being in the Amityville Horror movie, waking up at 3:15 every damn night. The old me would have panicked fearing I'm going to crash in the afternoon if I don't sleep until at least 6:00 a.m.
But then out of frustration, I did something amazing: Instead of lying awake for hours calculating how much sleep I could get if I fell asleep "RIGHT NOW", I got up and started my day. I turned on my work computer and started handling business. I got to be pool early, swam. When the afternoon came around, I didn't crash. Clearly, my body had gotten enough rest even though my brain insisted that was never going to happen.
If you run your life on a fairly set schedule, be prepared to let that schedule go. This doesn't have to be a bad thing. It relieves a lot of stress to realize that, when my body says it's done sleeping after 4 hours, I can go through the day pretty well. All the horrible things I thought would happen didn't.
In short, you stop the process of feeling you always need to be in control. And that is a good life lesson.