One of the things I’m finding most frustrating about being a recent cancer survivor is how hard it is to get my energy back and feel like myself again. With me it’s very 2 steps forward 1 step back. I will have a few days or a week where I am pretty well the way I used to be…working and exercising and doing stuff with friends and watching Netflix till 11 or midnight with my husband…and then I will have a week where I am sleeping through my alarm and hitting the sack at 9 every night.
It’s so frustrating because I really want to feel like myself and I don’t. Today is a perfect example. Last week we were away and Even though Cuba was relaxing I swam and walked a ton, probably used more energy than I do at home. Then I worked all day Wednesday and then went to a work event and got home at 10, Thursday I worked all day and then went to a barre class, yesterday I worked all day and then went to the mall with a friend after work and got home after nine. It all felt so “normal” to me and before chemo it would have been…but then today I feel like I hit the wall!! I slept for about 10 hours last night and even so I can barely pick up my head today and I’m sending my husband to do the groceries that I would normally do (and I love doing the groceries!). I’ve been told that can take one or two years after chemo to have my past level of energy, that’s so depressing.
I find it especially frustrating because I work full-time and have two kids, and I cannot really not work or not parent…so the energy takes things from me if that makes sense. I have to work, and cook, and help with homework, and do laundry, etc…so when I don’t have much energy it’s the things I want to do for myself, like exercising and shopping and reading and watching my favourite shows on Netflix and spending more time with friends, that don’t get to happen.
Of course when I complain to people they often remind me that I’m lucky to be alive, or it’s a small price to pay for beating cancer, or whatever. It’s true but still hard. I beat cancer because I want to live, that means I want to live my life. Also, the reality is I don’t really know if I beat cancer. I don’t know if I’m gonna have a recurrence in a few months or a few years (I hope I won’t, and I’m not trying to be negative, it’s just the reality of cancer especially one like mine but made it to my lymph node), so it’s important for me to live my life as best I can now…but that’s hard to do without much energy. I know I should be gentle with myself, pace myself, and give myself time. But it’s hard to do, I just want to be me again… the me that works full-time and does my job well, does everything I have to for my kids and home, and still has enough energy to enjoy me things like exercising and friends and family and TV and reading.