I finished chemo 3 weeks ago. When I started 4 months seemed like forever but now it is over. I am relieved but not as relieved as I thought I would be. I guess that is because I still have some side effects and also I am going to have a mastectomy in the next few weeks so now I am starting to worry about that. I had put off thinking about that until chemo was done.
I was so scared before I started chemo. I remember a quote in one of the cancer guidebooks (which was meant to be encouraging) was about how you could sometimes still go out the movies with your friends during chemo. This made me worried as it had not previously occurred to me that I might be too sick to go to the movies.
Lots of the books encouraged exercise during chemo but being a runner I knew they weren't allowing for the amount of exercise I was used to. I was happy when I found a place which mentioned people who were used to 'strenuous exercise' - it said that was ok to continue but maybe just make it a little gentler. That was good but then it said "for example, instead of running you could try tai chi". This made me annoyed - it makes me annoyed again now.
Chemo was not as bad as I worried it might be. There were only a few days when I felt really sick and a few when I was falling asleep the whole day. I was able to keep running throughout - the distance & speed gradually reducing but mainly still going ok.
The main side effects I still have are a bad taste in my mouth and trouble concentrating/thinking, as well as a general tiredness. These do not sound very bad when I type them & they are not really very bad - it's just the constant slight unwell feeling gets on my nerves and I wish it would stop. I have a vague headache most of the time when I'm by myself - when I have other people around it helps me feel better.
I am looking forward to my hair growing back although it is not a great problem not having any hair. There are some advantages - my legs are lovely and smooth and it saves time not having to wash & dry my hair. The thing I will miss most when my hair grows back is after a run when I change my sweaty headtube for a fresh clean cap - it feels wonderful.
At the moment I don't set my alarm - I just get up when I wake up and then go to work. I also leave work early if I feel like it. I really like not setting the alarm. I feel nervous about when they will expect me to be able to go back to working proper 9 to 5 days everyday. But, I guess that's not for a while yet - I still have to have surgery and recover from that as well as continuing to recover from chemo.
Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.