Do you know those commercials where they rattle of a million different possible side effects of a drug at the very end? Well apparently some of those unpleasant effects are real. This week has been my first week where I have had to endure the broader side effects of chemotherapy after the chemotherapy has left my system. This is beyond the hair loss and loss of taste buds or my short term loss of sight (which is pretty scary) and is now truly having an impact on my body and how it functions. I am now on my fourth day of living with the impact chemo has on your intestines and let me tell you it isn’t pleasant. My intestines are likely stripped of all of the bacteria needed to digest food at a normal rate which leaves me beholden to my house until the medicine helps to get me back to a more normal state. Until then I must find a way to fight through and find something else to focus on.
What is happening in our country right now unfortunately makes it easier to not dwell on my frustrating side effects as there are so many in a situation so much worse. I cannot stop thinking of the grieving families who have lost their children in yet another school shooting. A reckless act which has forced teenagers to be the voice of change, leaders are being made of these young individuals as they stand up and beg for those in power to fight for them and all other children. I was in high school when Columbine happened and am shocked that here we sit 20 years later facing the same problems. I am not going to make this a political platform, I am merely reflecting on my realization that as a voting citizen I have done nothing to help make this right. Until this period in my life I was a news watcher, an avid reader, and nothing more. As I continue to slow down and be present in my world I see that I cannot be a passenger in this life. The world of what I can impact, what you can impact, is far greater than my daily work; it is my community and my country.
This week was meant to be one filled with love and not of loss. I never used to think that Valentine’s day was of importance. This year I find I want to take advantage of any excuse to celebrate life and love. I celebrated by sharing my cheer with my coworkers and nurses of whom make my treatments bearable if not almost pleasant. I also had a friend and her daughter take me out to dinner to ensure I was not alone and I can say that I hadn’t laughed that hard in some time.
I continue to be grateful for all I have as I napped on my porch today with the sun shining on my face and relaxed in the tub with the chirping of birds keeping me company. I might be a prisoner of my body at this time but it will only be for a short period. I am taking everyday as a lesson and working on my playbook of where I can improve once these effects are pushed to the side.
For those of you who have Instagram you can follow me for more frequent updates, sparty_ang. This week I am going to attempt to story my experience with chemotherapy based on all the questions I have received…as long as I feel up to it.