A Life of Balance

I read the classics in college. I knew about the wheel of fortune. I should have known that to get an extremely uplifting Good Day it would have to be balanced with an equal and opposite Bad Day. Yeah. That Bad Day happened yesterday.

It hit me out of the blue. I know it shouldn’t have. I have cancer for crying out loud. Of course I’m going to feel pretty bad at some point. But the weekend went so well, I felt fine. I felt more than fine. I got out. I did normal-person stuff. I was even adventurous for what I’d normally do, because it was something I planned before all this took root. I went to bed Saturday night contented with all I’d accomplished even though it wasn’t very much at all. Then on Sunday I started to feel tired, and yesterday was worse. It wasn’t just Bad. I wasn’t just Tired. I couldn’t even move.

Going from one extreme to the other affected my mental state more than I realised too. Not being able to move without feeling sick was something I thought I’d gotten over with my latest prescription. And here I was again, doing the stop-start thing: Sit up. Breathe. Stand up. Breathe. Take a few steps. Breathe. It took me three hours to get out of the house, and that was only with a helping hand from my mum. I had another brief burst of energy when we got to the hospital, but then while we were sitting in the waiting room for my radiotherapy, my vision went blank, my ears stopped working, and all I wanted to do was sink into the floor and be swallowed up and not feel this bad anymore. After the feel-good weekend I felt defeated. I’d gotten through one week of my four week cycle and I couldn’t handle the drugs. Couldn’t handle the poisons. I wasn’t going to be strong enough. And my Dr admitted me onto the ward.

Today is another day. After an afternoon and night of tests, drips and painkillers they let me loose on the world again. All of my signs are fine; my bloods have been tested and are showing my body is coping with the chemo and radiotherapy. It’s just maybe my mind that isn’t. So this week they’re going to give me the same doses of everything, except the post-chemo steroid which seems to be the culprit for both my flying weekend and my crash and burn on Monday. That, they’re reducing the level of, so I don’t go through this again next week. It’s good that they can do that, limit the damage. It’s just sad that they can’t make me feel great all the time. I’m going to miss feeling normal.

I also get a therapist out of this. If I’m keeping too much in and trying so hard to be strong then I’m more likely to make myself ill, is kind of how my doctor put it. I don’t doubt that she’s right, either. It will be good for me to talk to someone who has no emotional investment. Someone who won’t be scared to upset me or be upset by some of the things that cross my mind in the middle of the night. Someone trained to help me to straighten things out so I can do this. Because I know I can do this.

So soon I’ll be taking another stop outside of my comfort zone, and instead of just saying I should accept help, I’ll actually take it.

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