Getting back to ‘life’ in general after chemo does present some challenges. It’s funny, because one might think that after you’ve received your last dose of poison that it is all about getting back to ‘normal’. However, it isn’t quite like that. Life after chemo carries it’s own challenges and lessons.
Almost 4 weeks after my last chemo treatment (which was September 19th, 2014) is when my eyelashes decided they would indeed, depart. It is so disheartening, as you think it’s all behind you, but it’s like this nasty little trick your body plays on you after the fact! Not funny :-(. Now 6 weeks post chemo, I think I have about 5 lashes left in total. YES, I miss my long, thick and abundant eyelashes and eyebrows. It’s like the universe is saying “did you really think that was it – that you would just lose your hair and your boobs?” It’s like rubbing a wound with salt.
Then there is getting back into things like going to the gym. I was looking forward to getting back this week – until I came to a stark realization while trying to fall asleep the other night. My blood stopped pumping and then I went into panic mode as I realized that something that used to be considered a simple thing isn’t that easy anymore. How would I shower at the gym without scarring someone’s retinas for life? (Thanks for that borrowed expression Cat Mandell.) How would a young girl feel if she happens to see two big breast cancer scars in the place of my breasts? Not to mention that one minute I have hair (a wig) and the next I don’t when I go into the shower! Although I was tempted to not go, I shared my woes with my husband, who encouraged me to just keep moving forward. So I put one foot in front of the other and went – fully clothed in gym clothes with no plans to shower there, but rather at in the comfort of my own home. I did wear my hair, but it was too hot :-(. Prepare yourselves Peterborough, as I will be sporting my bald head and a hat!
This little experience is just one of many aspects of breast cancer that I presume most people don’t think of. Other things, like running to put on my boobs and hair when someone is stopping by so that you look less ‘shocking’ and don’t make people uncomfortable. While I know that it’s not about trying to please others, for me it’s about showing consideration.
Two gym visits down now and I feel good. I had a few extra-long looks today as I’m sure some were wondering whether there was ANY hair under that hat. Oh well. I just smiled and carried on. Time to get this body back in shape! I will forge forward with this new me and hold my head proud. Some adjustments are just a little more challenging than others ;-).