I’ve hit that point again where my aspirations outpace my energy. Between growing a human and cycling out of treatment, I’m exhausted these most of the time. My days consist of the office, maybe a nap, home, nap again, eat, then back to bed. It’s not terribly exciting.
I’d really like to fit some more exercise in, but with my energy budget running so low it seems kind of impossible. I can’t figure out how to climb out of the deficit. I have to wonder if part of the energy drain isn’t due, in part, to deconditioning, and if it is how do I get better? I get stuck waffling between whether to exercise or conserve energy. I’m obviously still trying to figure out this new normal.
This isn’t to say things are bad. They are actually really good. Baby Mazurek is developing appropriately and my blood tests keep me firmly in a “no cancer” status. That alone is a lot to be thankful for. It is a little anxiety producing that they depend on blood work and my personal report to determine if I’m still in the clear, but I am trying to give things the benefit of the doubt and not get too worked up about every ache and pain.
Still, the aches and pains are real and they can be concerning. Senior cancer patients have always commented on how every little thing makes them worried the cancer is coming back. I thought they were overreacting. They weren’t.
First, if you knew all the symptoms my friends had when they were first diagnosed, you would be terrified every time you had a headache or stomach pain. Cancer has a way of sneaking up on you like that, and there’s a reason almost every webmd search will yield the dreaded C-word as a possibility.
Second, the reoccurrence stories are equally terrifying and heartbreaking. If I have a cough, or a pain, or a headache, or shortness of breath, or if I’m feeling tired, or not sleeping well, or my neck hurts, or etc., etc., etc., that could be a legitimate sign of disease coming back. (By the way, I feel most of those things most of the time.)
On the one hand, I don’t want to live my life in constant fear. I want to get on with things and go back to something normal. On the other hand, if I ignored a symptom, I could be in real trouble. Failing to catch a reoccurrence is a life-or-death gamble. I don’t have a lot of slack to work with since I was diagnosed as a mid-level Stage 3 patient. So I definitely need to be vigilant. But I really don’t want cancer to be my world anymore.
In short, the balance is a fine one and I’m working on a healthy mix of confidence and caution.
Part of my new balance is having to say “no” more than I’d still like to be at this point. To my friends who I miss and haven’t seen, trust me, it’s not you, it’s me. I feel a bit like a hibernating bear, coming to light only if I have to. I’m trying to conserve energy for things (and a small person) that are necessary. I promise there will be fun times together someday in the future. I’m sooooo looking forward to it.
Give ‘Em Hell