Sunday, November 1, 2009

Recovery - for the 12th Time

Eleven days later I can say that I'm most certainly on the way to feeling like myself again. To add insult to injury, the post-infusion effects of the final chemo treatment were the harshest and most debilitating of all 12. The five days immediately following it took every ounce of mental, physical and emotional strength to get through. There's that myth about trying to squeeze water from a stone - that's what it felt like. My body and mind were tapped out.

My Body:
Angry. Ravaged. Abused. Beat Up. Hurt. Achey. Pissed. Tired, so very, very tired.

I thought that maybe because I only had three quarters of the drugs that I normally have that the side effects would be one quarter easier to take. That was certainly not the case - I've never been good at math.

After the excitement of being done with the last chemo session wore off the side effects set in and it was a rough few days - the roughest yet. My body was lashing out at me, not understanding why I would subject it to this ... again. I truly don't think it could have gone through another treatment. Now I know that if faced with it I could handle it, though in those moments of pain that was hard to fathom. Luckily, there are no more ahead of me.

I could do nothing but sleep. Sleep was the only thing that kept the pain away. Though sleep wasn't restorative or healing, it served as a rest from all the angry bones, blood and muscles. The night after my chemo session Craig kept waking me up with fear in his eyes concerned that it was the end --- I was extremely clammy and sweating but felt freezing cold to the touch. My body temperature was low and I kept breaking out into cold sweats. Even Sammy was highly concerned, trying to jump up on the bed to be with us, something she never does. Craig was ready to take me to the hospital and I was so out of it that what was happening to my body didn't even phase me. But like always, with time the battle calmed. And every day after that brought more strength and less hurt.

Today almost two weeks later I don't feel any bone pain. The cough still lingers but is less debilitating. My energy is increasing - enough to get back to yoga and small doses of jogging.

My Mind:
Discontented. Confused. Distracted. Cluttered. Overwhelmed. Tired, so very tired.

I was an angry person in the days following my last treatment. I lost my get-up-and-go. I lost the positive push that carried me through all previous 11 recoveries. I had a lot of crying bouts so frustrated with feeling foggy, disconnected and helpless. I could do nothing. Even though my body forced me to be on the couch or the bed, my mind couldn't rest - it kept slithering to bad places thinking about cancer recurrences, thinking about my upcoming PET Scan, not being able to comprehend that this was going to be over and that I would never have to do it again. I couldn't read. I didn't feel like talking to anyone. All I could do was stare inactively at brain rotting television shows - the only thing that could keep my mind off it's negative course.

But like my body, my mind recovered. I worked - in the office - for four days straight. We traveled to see our baby nephew this weekend. I am actually now writing again and looking forward to reading a new book. Things are looking very high up. I'm no longer afraid of my own mind. I'm now able to realize in fact how strong it is and how without its strength I never would have gotten through this. I'm full of happy thoughts again - thinking clearly, soundly and breathing easily again.


  1. Karin---You did it!!!! And with such grace and style---I for one am so proud of you---as the days get better, so will your thoughts---you'll be back to "normal" sooner than you think---Blake and I have prayed for you throughout and now your done---FOREVER!!! If you ever want to renew your vows you know who to call!!!! We love you!! Bev & Blake

  2. Karin,
    Sorry to hear this last chemo gave you such a hard time. The good news is you are done! 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12...a dozen! I hope you will feel better and better, stronger and stronger, happier and less pissed :) every day!
    You've conquered cancer,you can conquer anything!
    Looking forward to all the cute hairstyles to come! Love,Lynn

  3. we are so proud of you. you are true to your emotions and you inspire others through this. congrats

  4. K.
    The 12th was a real mental challenge. I think it was mind and body coming to grips that this is the last one and you don't have to do it anymore. It was like a release for me - a giving up and letting go. With no more treatments ahead of you to be strong for, the mind/body decided to give itself a break and just be weak for awhile. But, as always, you stayed focused and bounced back - which is the important lesson in all of this (I think).

    Congrats on putting chemo behind you. It is a long, difficult road. Better days ahead...and thanks for sharing all the ups and downs - you have been a source of inspiration and learning to all of us.