Showering, walking up the stairs, cooking, driving and walking the dog are physical activities that seem easy and something most people do daily. However, these activities are very difficult for someone whose cancer has progressed or their treatment, such as chemotherapy, is giving them some pretty rotten side effects.
I know personally what it is like having both. Recently, progression has made doing some everyday activities extremely difficult for me.
My last scans showed progression in the liver and brain. I felt awful for almost two months. I took a nap everyday around 4:00 because I just couldn’t keep my eyes open. I had vertigo and still do. Facial paralysis made it difficult to eat. My right ear hurt. My gait, then and even now sometimes looks like I’m a toddler still mastering walking, or a pinball bumping into everything.
My oncologist, Dr. M. put me on decadron, a steroid I’ve been on before and also take as a pre-med before the new chemo I’m on. While on decadron to reduce swelling on the brain, I experienced a migraine almost everyday and severe muscle weakness, especially in my legs. I had such a struggle going up the stairs, somedays it was easier to crawl up. There were times when I was crawling up the stairs and rolled over. Mark would always come and help me up and then tell me I look like a turtle on my back. Thankfully, I no longer need to take the decadron daily and some of those side effects have gone away or subsided.
I’ve been comparing myself lately to a Phoenix. The Phoenix is a bird in Egyptian mythology that was consumed by fire, later renewed from its ashes. The Phoenix symbolizes he or she has arisen from flames as a winner, beating all life challenges and defeating hard times. Therefore, the Phoenix is a symbol of rebirth from the ashes of the past, and it also represents the victory of life over death, thus immortality. No matter how bad things get, I feel like I continue to rise as a winner of life.
I have to say that that I am very proud of the small accomplishments I conquered. It took a while, but I’m gaining strength in my legs and walking so much better up the stairs.
Now I’m cooking and baking all the time, something I love to do. I can walk Wally a short distance and I can drive my car if I really need to. And you know what? I’m getting stronger and better every day.
Wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving. I’m thankful to be spending the day with my beautiful family.
Please check out this website. I wrote an article for them a few months ago. Great place to find information and support.