Over the weekend, I had the most “normal” weekend since my diagnosis with cancer. One of my best friends from Boston came to visit me. I’m off of chemotherapy for now, since it stopped working as well as we thought it would. I’m waiting for my rad onc’s to plan my radiation, so I have been “in the clear” to get back to a semi normal life before radiation starts, hopefully next week. So this means I’m not Neutropenic!! And I can also have a few cocktails! Woohoo.
So, I’ll tell you what it’s been like to return to “semi normal” life. The fact that I don’t have to follow my Neutropenic diet has been absolutely amazing. I’ve been gorging on fruits, veggies, salads. Seriously, I will never take for granted being able to actually eat healthy. So, during this time period, I can eat anything I want. I’m going to tell you right now, cancer f*cks you up, but sometimes for the better! I refuse to drink anything but water (and vodka hahaha! don’t tell my hematologist that), and I find that I’m so conscious of what I eat. I’m not going to get into it, but when you have cancer, basically crazy thoughts go into your head that there are specific foods that cause it. So, instead of gorging on McDonald’s, I find myself eating only organic and extremely healthy. And also watching food documentaries like a crazy person.
So, Katy came to visit on Friday from Boston. It was my first time going out and having drinks, and just being normal. So, we went to happy hour with Kristin, then went out for a bit after. Saturday we did the same thing, and Sunday had brunch and rose (magnum bottle obvi, good idea Kris! Ha!) with a group of my girlfriends. It was really fun and so nice to catch up with everyone!
Here’s the reality of it. Even though I’m off of chemo, I found myself being super cautious about germs. I didn’t even want to shake anyone’s hands that I met out. This was annoying, but the hardest part for me personally (everyone is different) was my foot drop and the loss of strength in my legs. It’s hard. Really hard, and sometimes gets me down, too. I wish this was something that they told patients at my cancer center. They stress so hard that they want you to stay away from people during chemo, because you can get an infection and die, but they don’t tell you that you NEED to move around and not be a couch potato during this time. Months of sitting has resulted in me basically having no strength in my legs and not being able to walk properly. For real, it’s even a struggle for me to walk around the mall at this point. Also, I’m your typical female, AND I live in Miami. Wedges and heels are a necessity for me, in my opinion. My leg drop and the loss of strength in my legs is so bad, that it makes me not want to go out at times. My friends walk faster than me, and I can barely keep up. This is the main problem that I have faced during my “normalcy” period. But when you fall, you HAVE to get right back up. I’m going to PT three times a week, and trying to work out at home too, and walk as much as I can. I actually ended up face planting when I left PT the other day, ha! It’s hard, but it WILL get better, and I’m determined to get my strength back. So, to those of you reading this that are undergoing chemo now, take my advice, move your booty even if it’s at home! Don’t allow what happened to me, to happen to you. You can definitely prevent it. However, if you’re on Procarbozine, you might not be able to prevent the foot drop..
Another struggle I’ve been having is that after my last cycle of chemo, I lost all of my eyebrows and eyelashes. Big W-T-F moment. For me, this was almost as traumatic as losing my hair. I’ve always had the best eyelashes ever, and to see them disappear was heart breaking. I’m not going to lie, I cried for a few days every time I looked in the mirror and saw them gone. One of my girlfriends, Lorena, immediately came over one morning, brought an emergency bag of eyelashes and glue, and showed me how to apply them properly. Exhibit B on how I seriously have the best friends ever!
Above is one of those tough things that you face during cancer where you cry a bit, then you have to force yourself to put things into perspective. In my situation, I realized I’m crying over eyelashes and eyebrows. Really Jess? Really? It’s 2016, and penciling in your eyebrows is SO in right now, and fake eyelashes are the new fad, everyone wears them or has extensions. The majority of my friends. NOW is the perfect time to have cancer and take advantage of these, bahaha! In all honesty though, it can always be so much worse. SO much worse, so if you were like me and crying over this..don’t worry, they will grow back. But for now, rock those falsies! I’m going to do another post on everything I use, soon!
God only gives you what you can handle. If you’re going through hell right now, keep going. He knows you can handle it! Any struggle that you’re facing during chemo right now, there is usually a solution to it. Especially the aesthetic struggles! It’s so easy now to go from I have Cancer, to you can’t even tell! Keep fighting, the greatest victories always go to the toughest soldiers!
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