As I sit here and type this in bed I have one of the reminders. I have one leg outside of the covers, one leg in, and a ceiling fan going at full speed. The reminder is a hot flash. They never come when I want them to, like for instance I could pray for one in the middle of a cold meeting room but nope, nada! Instead I will be in the self check-out at Meijer, I will break out into a sweat, feel like I am going to melt into the floor while the machine is telling me to place the item in the bagging area and it’ll be a toothbrush and we all know it’ll NEVER acknowledge that it is ever in the actual bagging area! Yep they are fun, said no woman ever in history. Yet it’s a reminder that cancer entered my life and altered it. I’m also gracefully stuck in the middle of none of my friends really knowing what the hell I am talking about and then older women I know who don’t really remember them… island Amanda over here. I’ll have some pretty awesome tips and stories to share when my girlfriends catch up to me that’s for sure!
This weekend we spent a lot of time with family which I revel in as time is precious. Late Sunday afternoon after my niece’s birthday party we gathered around a patio table to reminisce about years that had past and told stories. As I looked around the table at the smiles, the laughter, and the glimmer in each person’s eyes my heart was full. That was a moment to soak up and freeze in time, those are the moments to live for! It also blissfully wears me out. It’s a reminder that I am still just two months outside of chemo. It apparently will take three months to regain my full energy level and I certainly have felt a hard slap here recently. I am angry and grumpy on the inside when I am wiped out because I ache to be free of the fatigue. I’m a mover and I no longer want to be held back by the chemo aftermath, stupid ovaries!
There is a tingling in my toes. No I am not talking about a fluttering great feeling of excitement where you get all tingly in your toes. It’s called neuropathy and it sucks which is putting it mildly. It doesn’t stay constant, it comes and goes but much like hot flashes it never flares up at the best of times. Mostly at night when I’d like to fall fast asleep but I guess that’s why the good Lord above had someone invent Ativan. That tiny pill is a life saver for all things of restless legs, tingly toes, and anxiety. Life.Saver.
The other day I was talking with a co-worker and I couldn’t think of a word. I tried to describe the word I was trying to recall. I gave clues such as fancy rice. It’s on all the top cooking shows. You can mix it with things such as mushrooms. You would have thought I was in a bad game of charades and trust me no one was getting it! Finally someone yells out risotto! Yes!!! Thank the heavens, someone gets me! This is the aftermath of chemo brain, a reminder that sneaks up like a ninja. There are just random words I can’t remember for the life of me. I will also walk into a room, forget why I am there, and be holding a piece of paper that reminds me and I forget to look at the paper. I looked it up the other day on how long chemo brain would stick around, let’s just not talk about that as I might chug this wine sitting next to me and let’s not waste a perfectly good glass of cabernet. A good cabernet is meant to be enjoyed not chugged.
I will take all these little reminders as it means I am ticking, kicking, and alive. Doesn’t mean I have to be over the moon excited by them because I’m not. They remind me in a twofold manner, one that cancer ever played a part in my life and two that I am humbled by how cancer has made me look at life. It’s a blessing and a curse. A reminder to honor the process, be gentle with myself, and continue to grow.