Thursday, February 7, 2013
Back to normal
But what is 'normal'? It's been so long since anything about life felt normal that I've kind of forgotten what it felt like. One thing (aside from my hair - more about that later!) that is getting back to normal is the way my brain makes associations with certain foods, places and even words. The words is the most interesting to me - anyone who has never had chemo/cancer would never think that ordinary words can take on such negative connotations that they can make you recoil in a gagging ball at the sheer mention of them. For example: Shots (went from fun tiny alcoholic beverages to pain inducing, self injectable little needles of hell), Saltwater (went from sea, holiday, swimming to nauseating 4 times daily mouth rinsing to try to rid that metal taste), flush (the function of a toilet? Nope, little syringes of saline that are pushed into your veins 27 times per hospital visit), dressing (the act of putting on clothes? or the bandages that cover the cuts, scars, and permanent tubes hanging from your arms soaking up the blood that permanently leaks due to blood thinners?), drip (probably one of the worst, no longer something that happens to a tap but instead the little drip drip drip you watch for hours on end willing the IV bag to empty into your veins faster so you can get rid of it), alcohol (this is NOT as much fun to have swabbed over your open wounds as it is to drink. And the smell. Bleugh), piece (everyday word, or wig?) rads (radiators? or radiation?), mass (catholic church service or tumour?) and it goes on and on and on.... But nearly 4 months on (WOW!) the negative connotations are giving way to the old meanings again. When something chemo-ey pops into my head now I smile to myself. The same thing happens with the very words 'cancer' and 'chemo'. These words become a strange badge of honour, something to be proud of. I did that. I always did wonder is it possible to finish chemo and be proud as opposed to afraid? I'm proud of what I achieved in the past months. I'm proud to be out the other side. I'm still afraid that I'll be catapulted back into that world, one more mutated cell is all it takes. I guess you can be scared and proud at the same time. I also have been back at work full time again. I don't feel any more tired than I would have before I got sick. Overall I was pretty surprised at how well I coped and also how it instantly felt like last year never happened. Life as usual. The world carries on. And for this I am very grateful. Hair picture anyone?! This is my current hair... No eyebrows and 12 eyelashes. This week. Who knows by next week.