Hermit Crab

October 19, 2010 at 6:07 PM (after chemo, Energy, Family, friends, Mood) (, , , , , , , )

I seem to have dropped off the face of the earth, rants about pinknausea notwithstanding. I’ve been trying to figure out why I don’t feel like talking right now, and it seems to come down to chemo. (Doesn’t it always?)

Starting actual chemo again (vs. a clinical trial or biologic or something) threw me for a loop. Apparently I’ve blacked out how crummy I feel after infusions, because when I collapsed into bed at 5:30 on day 3 of the last cycle, I was surprised. Mr. Wonderful said, “Don’t you remember? This is usually the time you start feeling like crap,” but I had forgotten it. Like how you swear immediately after giving birth that you will never, ever, ever do that again, then twelve months later you’re all, “Let’s have another one!”

So I spent day 4 and 5 in bed, me and the cat and the Compazine, and by the end of the weekend I started to feel like myself again. But apparently aging your body forty years in four years has some drawbacks, and I no longer rebound like I did in 2006. I’ve been having trouble just getting out from under the coughing courtesy of Estes Park’s elevation, and still haven’t resumed my exercise schedule. My lungs don’t like it, not one little bit – not even climbing the stairs, and last night Mr. W and I had a giggle at me huffing and puffing after pulling off a tight long-sleeved t-shirt.

Now I’m at The Cancer Factory for Cycle 2, and anticipating another week of feeling lousy. But why that has to send me into hiding for the next two weeks as well, I can’t figure out. I’ve turned into a terrible phone friend, forgetting to return messages and schedule dates. Some days I just drift along until it’s time to get into bed again, and that’s about all I can handle. But other days I’m doing my little suburban-mommy thing, driving and shopping and cooking and all, yet I still can’t manage to get my head out of my domestic bubble.

So I guess this column is a sort of apology, to those I owe phone calls to, or to those with whom I made tentative plans and then never followed up. It’s not you, it’s me. It’s taken me two years of therapy to be able to accept these words and feel comfortable saying them: I’m doing the best I can.

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Photo courtesy here.


  1. Laura B said,


    I only “met” you via this blog, recently; I myself am in cancer treatment, now. (for that nice awful pink ribbon one… sorry!) In any case, after reading this terribly wonderfully honest post, I just had to write and tell you how much I appreciate reading the truth, as you (and I suspect others) are living it. Thank you.

    And, if it is any consolation… I forgot from one round of chemo to the next! (I just finished 8 “dose dense” rounds of AC/Taxol, three weeks ago) how it made me feel… in my case, I think it was clearly denial. If it’s been anything more than two weeks since your last chemo, well, of course you would forget! Who wants to remember being forced to bed?!!!

    I wish you didn’t have to be going thru more chemo, I do. Given that you are… your honestly is unbelievably welcome, to me, and probably others, too.

    with love,

    Laura B

  2. Mr. Wonderful said,

    Yes, you are. And doing a great job of it.

  3. Maggie said,

    Yeah, you are spent, and that’s okay. I am glad for my poor memory these days. I am glad to forget the blahs, the nausea, the fatigue. It makes it extra special when I feel good. Like I am a brand new person again! Feel better soon and relax, the whole world will still be there when you resurface….

    Your Mr. Wonderful does sound wonderful.

  4. Bernie said,

    I love knowing you are able to do and say how and what you feel. I found my memory was bad during chemo and for a few months after I finished……Sorry you haven’t been feeling well and this chemo is being so rough, saying many prayers for you and your family. I think you are so blessed to have Mr. Wonderful and he really does sound wonderful……:-) Hugs

  5. Connie Reeves said,

    Dear Sarah,
    I, too, only know you through your blog. You invited me and others to join in, with the goal of keeping things funny and light. Or so I recall.
    You have done a stupendous job of doing that, but you do not need to do that for anyone. Keep doing it only for yourself, if it brings something additional to your life right now.
    This is the one time in your life when you are allowed to and must focus solely on yourself. I do know exactly what you’re going through, as this was my chemo experience, especially half-way through the 6 rounds. Utter and extreme exhaustion. I would notice that I had a jagged fingernail and needed to cut it, but it was such an effort that I would keep it on my list of things to do “when I felt like it”, which might have been 2 or 3 days later. I definitely did not answer telephones, and made my Mr. W. answer the phone and check messages and give my status. I was very into emailing gobs of people at one time, but when they started answering me back, during the “bad” days, I just had to let the messages pile up. I didn’t have the strength, energy, or motivation to reply.
    No, Sarah. It isn’t you, either. It’s the chemo. Please give yourself a break, let go of any guilt or expectations (such as an exercise schedule) and just allow yourself to do only what you have to. You need to conserve your strength as much as possible, and this is what your body is telling you right now. You can’t handle anything extra. It is enough just to absorb the chemo.
    With children at home, then, yes, there are things you must do. But if you can, I hope you have some people living around you who can take care of some of that chauffeuring. Mommy cannot do everything right now. I know it must be heartbreaking for you and your husband, for you to not be your normal self right now, but you will be again. It takes a huge effort to get through chemo, as you know from your other experiences, and once that’s over, your energy will begin to return and you can resume some of your normal activities.
    Is it possible that your trip and experience at First Descents wore you out so much that you are still recovering? I think that is highly possible, along with the chemo.
    You do not have to be strong all the time, or setting an example, or inspiring anyone, or kicking cancer’s ass. It seems to me, from what I’ve read from you, that you need a break. Please take one, and take care of yourself.
    All my prayers for your strength and energy to return. Connie

  6. WhiteStone said,

    Yeppers. I understand.

  7. tori said,

    I have a note for you sitting on my counter. Yes – an old fashioned, snail mail note. Just to let you know I’m thinking of you. (act surprised when you get it) No apologies since so many of us do the same thing without the excuse of chemo. And don’t gloat or anything – but you’re one of the reasons I was lured back into Facebook. (you siren, you!) I’m sure you’re getting the help and support you need but please let me know if you need someone to come fluff your pillows for you. Or walk that pony you call a dog.

  8. Filomena Stellato said,

    I know how it feels, I am on my second day of a clinical trial and yesterday I was dead to the world the only reason I got out of bed was for biological needs, this is day 2 and this morning I actually got out of bed and I’m able to do a few things, I know there will be worst days, but I tell myself one day at the time.

  9. Stephanie said,

    Feel better soon, Sara. It’s ok to take time for yourself – your friends and family will understand!

  10. Adrienne St.Clair said,

    Take time for yourself, Sarah, you are an amazing woman. I send you a hug.

  11. Elaine said,

    I have beeen following your posts for a long time, and have been amazed at your spirit and wit, but, I also know that there are so many days when composing or thinking beyond the moment or the next pill is about all that matters until the cloud lifts.
    No apologies necessary. This is your time. Stay srong, and sleep…perchance to dream…

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