Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Great Expectations and Seeking Normal

I finished a 3rd quilt square last night.

Radiation Treatments: 8 done. 22 to go!

I'm told that my skin is looking good so far. I'm taking curcumin (the basis for curry powder, recommended by my naturopath) that is supposed to help my skin better endure radiation treatments. The staff at the Champion Centre remind me to continue applying lotion 3 times a day and to let the skin "air" when I can, especially if it's feeling hot. Hmmmm ... perhaps I should be getting drapes for my front window! I don't want to freak out the neighbours!

I'm finding my mental game the toughest part at this point and not the mental difficulties regarding radiation this time ... I mean in terms of moving on to AFTER cancer treatment is over. It's about being eager to return to "normal" but I'm not even sure I remember what normal is. It's wondering when to push myself and when to listen to my body. On those days when I feel remarkably well, it's easy to get caught up in the feeling and think, "THIS IS IT!" and expect things to continue improving. But that has never been the case so far. So far, those days have been like shooting stars - random and short-lived. I'm s0 eager for a time when feeling good really does become progressive. Even last Sunday when I felt so good, I was done in by 8:30 and then didn't feel so great the next day. By then, at least, I was familiar with the scenario so the disappointment wasn't so bad.

If it's hard for me to know when I can or cannot do "normal things", then it's hard for others to know, too. Part of it is that, on the surface, sometimes it's easy to fool even myself about how "normal" I'm feeling, especially if I'm feeling good at the moment. If I put on a wig, draw on some eyes, cover all the scars, I can look "normal" (for me). People who don't know my situation wouldn't know my health is compromised. People who know my situation might think I'm pretty much back to my old self. I might even think it myself ... temporarily. And then, when I'm on that high, it comes as a surprise to me when I suddenly feel overwhelmed or tired or drained or conscious of the little aches and pains that I don't always understand.

I guess that's the big question for me now. How long after radiation until I start feeling progressively better? I've heard that it takes about a year to really get back to pre-cancer energy levels and mental acuity, but I hope that long before that I'll feel normal enough to be able to fully engage in my life again. I can't wait for that day and I want it NOW! Or, at least, I want it the week after radiation is finished. Is that too much to expect?
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