Sunday, January 13, 2013

So Really, How Do You Feel?

"How are you feeling?" This is a question that I get asked a lot. And before you think I'm complaining about your concern, I'm totally not! I so appreciate all the love and good wishes and support and thoughts. But sometimes I wonder if you really want to know all the details...probably not. But I thought I'd do a post about the most annoying complaints I have.

When I'm not being hit by a truck (that is, the 3-4 days after chemo, which is a post all on it's own), I generally feel:

(1) TIRED, TIRED, and TIRED some more. It's kind of embarrassing. Did you see the Parenthood episode a couple of weeks ago where Kristina makes a comment about hitting the wall? How 6 minutes ago she was great and now all she wants to do is sleep? I laughed because that's exactly how it is!

(2) My teeth still hurt, but changing toothpastes and avoiding cold things is helping. And my favorite pharmacist asked her dentist dad about it, and he says he has had patients going through chemo complain about it and they think it might be related to not getting enough fluids. So even though I feel like I'm drowning in cranberry juice and green tea some days, I'm going to start drinking more and see if it helps.

(3) A new malady that's come up in the past week is my eyesight. I can no longer see things up close. Reading books, recipes, email on my phone...all a problem now. I'm going to have to go pick up some of those cool granny glasses. Luckily, the doc says that this, too, is a side effect of chemo, and tends to sort itself back out again within several months of the end of treatments. It better, because reading is my life and I'm starting to feel old.

(4) My head is always cold now! And if I go outside, it gets rained on which makes it colder! Yes, I know, I should just wear the wigs, but eventually they make you hot and itchy, so you don't really wear them around the house. Thank goodness for the hats that people have made and sent.

(5) This might seem petty, and I already know better than to complain about it to the doctor who would be excited to hear it, but I am GAINING weight. WTH? And I know that none of you would think this is a bad thing either, but still. This is most notable because in addition to asking your birthdate every time you walk in the door, they also weigh you. And they think they're being sneaky by having the electronic scale post it in kilograms, but science major me knows how to do this math. And I've gained 4 pounds in less than 3 weeks.  (Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm sure it has nothing to do with all the sitting on my ass I've done since mid-December, but when there's only about 4 days out of every 2 weeks where you actually feel good enough to walk around the neighborhood, sitting sounds pretty good).

(6) Chemo brain is setting in. I knew it was coming, but I hate it. Chemo brain is this strange phenomenon where you lose your short term memory, forget the words for things that you know, etc. There have been many times where I pick up the computer and then forget why I did. Or I'll be in the middle of typing these posts and forget what I wanted to say. Or I'll be talking to someone and I won't remember the word I'm looking for. This usually involves me waving my arms around frantically as if that will help my brain come up with the right word/name. MAKING ME NUTS!

(7) If there can be a most annoying malady, it's definitely that my taste buds are WHACK right now. Things that I used to love to eat no longer sound good. One example of these is my complete lack of desire for my mochas/hot cocoa. I've gone back to tea, and even green tea which in all honesty I used to hate. I can't get enough of those hideous bottled Lipton green tea and berry concoctions now. My favorite shrimp tempura? A definite no go right now. Nothing tastes right, or how you remember it, or how you expect it to taste. There's been many a night where I'm the person having something else for dinner because what was on the menu just doesn't taste right to me. Crazy!

(8) And a last complaint...if the fast-growing hair cells are being attacked making me bald, can someone explain why I still have hair on my legs? I'd be happy for that to go away ANYTIME! And I promise you that it's much faster growing than the hair on my head, so what's the hold up??? I'd be happy not to have to shave my legs. I mean, really, there's got to be one perk to this whole process, right?


  1. Hi Shauna,

    I just wanted to send a note and thank you for sharing a bit of your brave journey with us all. I often wonder how you are "really" doing as well- I can only imagine all the emotions and thoughts that accompany each of these stages/days/minutes. I hope you are getting lots of rest and continue to have a ton of support. I'm out here in Argentina, but will be moving back to the States sometime this year. Keep in touch and all my love and prayers,

    1. Thanks Angie! So good to hear from you. I appreciate the prayers :) I am jealous of your time in Argentina, but look forward to your return. Take care, my friend!