The Calm After the Storm

2014-10-25 18.49.59 (1)Here I am, just past one month after my last round of chemo. “How are you doing?” you ask? GREAT – I’m alive! The cancer has been removed and the rest of my body has been duly poisoned in order to kill any remaining traces of the big C. The pill containers are now part of the past and have been replaced with herbs and natural products.

In talking with others who have walked this path, I think I fared quite well – relatively speaking. When I look in the mirror I have a little peach fuzz beginning to emerge from my formerly naked skull. I have one alfalfa sprout that is longer than the rest, which has been amusing to watch. I doubt that I’ll manage to keep the reserve for much longer and I’ll trim it to match the length of the rest of the shorter hairs. For the first time since early childhood I will be sporting a short hair style…the new me for a little while. That will be another interesting learning curve – learning what to do with short hair.

Much to my chagrin, I have three fingernails that look like they have begun the process of departure, but the rest look like they may just stay. It appears that immersing my fingers and toes in ice during the last four chemo sessions paid off!

The most difficult side effect that I’ve been dealing with is not one that you can see: memory loss. Those who aren’t around me all the time really notice the shocking presence of it, as I repeat questions a few times as if I’d never asked them. The other day my girlfriend said “do you know you’ve asked me that three times?” That question has haunted me since then, as I’ve repeated other questions with complete ignorance that I had already asked it. Another friend asked me what shows I’ve been watching on Netflix. I actually could not remember one beyond the one I was currently watching. It is SO frustrating :-(. I’m sure it is a combination of being shoved into menopause and having chemo-brain – it’s like a double whammy! The more I learn about chemo-brain, the more eye-opening the whole process that I’ve just completed is. Chemo therapy damages brain cells. Those days when I was getting chemo and felt like it was all floating in my head, it was indeed – killing thousands of brain cells.

So now I’m on the road to recovery. I’ll return to the gym this week, starting with the treadmill and work my way into a few weights, as I have very little muscle tone left. Thank goodness I’ve gained a few pounds back, as 128 was not enough to sustain this almost 6′ frame! I’m now weighing in at 137lbs and looking forward to a few more pounds added as I work hard to regain some much needed muscle tone.

This Wednesday I will be deported. Yes, my port comes out. This is a surgical procedure, but one that I will welcome. I will no longer be a bionic woman, with a ‘plug-in’ component. This will be a nice closure to this chapter of my life.  Now on to the new chapter …. one with much adventure, happiness, love and gratitude for just being alive.

About denisemacdonald

I am a Canadian entrepreneur who has been spending the majority of my time between Canada and Panama, Central America. Living oceanfront, I am an 'investment consultant', predominantly in the area of real estate in the beaches areas. Photography is my hobby. In April, 2014 I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Triple Negative Breast Cancer. I will be sharing my journey here on these 'pages'. If you would like to learn more about "Triple Negative" breast cancer, please click onto
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2 Responses to The Calm After the Storm

  1. John July says:

    HA, at least you have an excuse for the short-term memory loss 🙂 Waiting to see you again !!!

  2. Barb Death says:

    Hi Denise! I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog and following your journey. You can ‘hear’ the positive attitude and determination in your voice! I look forward to seeing you and giving you a great big hug. Xoxoxo

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