Chemo fatigue is insideous. It's not like the normal fatigue of life that we get used to, that exhaustion that comes from a hard day or a rough night. That exhaustion that can be rebuilt with rest and sleep. And the depth of chemo fatigue is nothing like I've ever known before.
I first became keenly aware of it one day right after my second round when I needed to run out for a minute. I don't even remember where I was going, probably to the market or the post office. But I got ready, and said goodbye to Zak who was here, and walked out the door. I got to my car, got in, and just sat there. I couldn't do anymore. I couldn't think of one more thing but to get back to my bed and lie down. It was only 10:00 am. And that is just what I had to do. And I did. A couple hours later Zak noticed that I hadn't even shut my car door, it was left wide open in the driveway.
That's how chemo fatigue gets you. Like a hail storm. When I was facing chemo (before I began) I didn't really take the fatigue part I heard about too seriously. I thought it was something simple that I could handle. But now in it, I have realized there is nothing simple about it. When you are having issues getting your car to pass smog and it requires 6 trips to the mechanic it becomes something nearly unbearable. Trying to sign up for disability online, when you messed up your password and they have locked you out of the system (it's been 6 weeks of constant trying now) breaks you down to a weeping puddle. You sit there in that puddle shaking your head and just begging for that once self sufficient single women you were to come back and visit just for this one thing. You make deals with the devil. And it's not all just about doing. Sometimes it's just about being. Talking. Negotiating. Sometimes the thinking is even just too hard and you wish there was someone to bail you out. Take over and settle it. Read your mind and step in mid-sentence and say, "Go lay down. I got this for you." But these things were things you could accomplish on a lunch break before cancer. They're not obviously difficult. They're hard to explain or understand.
And another thing about this fatigue, it's a rock and a hard spot kind of situation.
After years and years of always "having to work" when family get togethers and dinners were happening, I saw this time off of work on disability as a blessing in disguise. The "pro" of all this cancer treatment was the freedom from time restraints that normally kept me from family participation. Now I have all the time in the world to be part of events. Until now I have made every effort to be at all of the functions, whether dinners, sporting events, birthday parties, holiday celebrations. I have loved it! But just this past week I am realizing that perhaps the days of my getting myself to every event aren't going to last much longer.
Just last night as the rain was threatening and the wind got cold, I realized that I just could not get myself to Satchel's game. A game I had been waiting for since Saturday. I could not muster one foot back on the floor, much less the next one in front of it. . Zak had spent the whole morning with me making juice and we had lunch together. It was a wonderful morning. But just moments after the door closed and I heard his car drive away the sadness set in. The fear of lonliness grew from my belly to my throat. What if no one comes again for a long, long time?
Sadness, and maybe even depression at the quiet of my little house. It was that final day of being able to survive alone without feeling the fallout. It wasn't fun nor relaxing anymore. I felt homebound by my lack of energy and stamina. I cried at how alone I felt and how long this day and evening had seemed. I loathed my bald shadow on the wall, and the way my body felt like lead - it's heavy and bloated from drugs. I cried and cried and cried until I took Ativan and fell asleep wondering what Mohammed would have done in this situation.
Yesterday was one of two bad days so far. The first one was when I got my pathology report. Both very sad and emotional days.
So this morning I awoke with new intention and I've been calling around to find a Breast Cancer Support Group of which to become part. I never got an actual voice, but left many messages. It's time for me to find a new fork to explore in my road. It's time to look and see where I am and what lies further ahead for me. One of these groups is for women doing breast cancer without partners. It's something I never thought of when I was divorcing so many years ago. That this might be my tribe.
I need to find my tribe. I feel hope waiting there.
Last night I dreamt that I had a littler toddler girl and I was buying her saltwater sandals. We went to the beach and chased a bird around. I think it was a Phoenix.