Over the course of the past months, I have talked about the fatigue and the nausea. Other side effects have developed. They are more unusual than really troubling. I itch so badly all over. The chemo does a real number on the skin. I apply lotion several times per day, and yet I still itch. This is not a fatal side effect, but it is annoying, especially when no one is home to put lotion on my back :)
I had also heard that chemo patients can get anticipatory nausea. When I get chemo and for a couple of days afterwards, I get a metallic taste in my mouth and get nauseated. The day prior and the day of chemo, when I just think about going to chemo, I can actually taste the metal in my mouth and I get waves of nausea. It is for sure a Pavlovian response, and I know that. I thought that kind of anticipatory nausea would not effect me, but it has. Luckily, I know what is happening and I can laugh about it. This is irritating and yet fascinating to me. The mind is such a powerful organ.
This bring me to topic of attitude. I have people comment on my positive attitude. I know positive attitude helps us cope with seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Positive attitude can impact our body and health for the better in the same way that have a negative attitude can make things worse. I do not think that having a positive attitude can will away cancer, or prevent a recurrence. Rather, having a positive attitude can help us feel emotionally and physically better even in seemingly terrible circumstances. Having a positive attitude makes in difference in the quality of our lives. It helps us make the most of whatever time we have left on earth, whether we are ill or completely healthy.
Finally, I am not the only person going through a serious illness. Right now I have several friends who are fighting their own battles. Some have cancer. Some have autoimmune illnesses. Some are care givers to people who have cancer, or neurological illness, or autoimmune diseases. I love the fact that these people have reached out to me during these challenges. Certain diagnoses can seem devastating, but there is power and comfort in community. I am so thankful that these friends have shared their stories with me. I do believe we were put on this earth to help one another. Keep sharing your stories, my friends. We can prop each other up, lean on one another and make it through this journey together.