Sunday, March 10, 2013

Keeping up with the weather forecast

We had a storm roll through last night, heralded on the news for days.  Despite all the rain, wind, and thunder, I would have slept straight through it had it not been for a large, shaking black Labrador wedged between my pillow and Gary's.  That's kind of how I felt about the first few down days, too: other than a few side effects that kept it right in my face, it was pretty manageable overall. 

Every chemo drug has different side effects, and with six different drugs this time, I had a wide number coming my way.  Fortunately, I learned the last time to take meds at the first hint of something coming on, and that has allowed me to stay ahead of just about everything.  They had three levels of nausea drugs lined up for me and I only went to the second level a couple of times, totally avoiding any close encounters of the porcelain kind which plague so many chemo patients.  That's a big win!

On the down side, I think I am setting new records in napping, small efforts leave me exhausted, and my back keeps trying to persuade me that it's been beaten with a baseball bat.  I'm also noticing a bit of forgetfulness, known as 'chemo brain,'  which hasn't yet gotten to the point where I could play myself in a game of Battleship, but does make me write everything down.  Sometimes twice.  I have another week of this, and then should have a fairly decent week before chemo starts again.

The nice thing about learning how it's going to hit me is that I can now plan around it and better manage the next five cycles.  It's like having a weather forecast for five more small seasons.

I looked out at the backyard, disappointed, the first day I got the lymphoma diagnosis.  I knew it meant I couldn't do any planting this spring, which no gardener wants to hear, particularly when flower beds have been decimated by three consecutive brutal Texas summers with temperatures above 100 degrees for months.  Hosta, clematis, japanese maples, and even generations-old peonies transplanted from my home in Virginia had all burned to a crisp last August, and needed to be replaced. But a flash of red in a flower bed caught my eye.

I went out to take a look and found that all my gerbera daisies were not only back, one was already in bloom. Hosta was sprouting up, geraniums and begonias which didn't realize they were supposed to be annuals when I planted them five years ago were already an inch high, and the clematis was sprouting new leaves.  Even the peonies were back.

It was a great reminder that seasons come and seasons go and it doesn't matter what each brings you, what matters is how you respond to it.   So what if I have 5 more cycles? I have their pattern down and have a plan - bring 'em on! 

I better write that down...

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