I’m starting to believe!
Sunday, May 26, 2013
I've been away for a long time. I'm back!
I’ve been having a trying time, and trying to maintain some semblance of positive attitude. I’ve had heel pain that is so bad I nearly cry, I often can’t stand for more than 5-10 minutes. Yes, doctor, I know that at least some of this is a side effect of the drugs you have given me to decrease my chances of the cancer recurring.
I’ve been so tired I’ve literally been falling asleep in the middle of conversations – with my manager! I’ve missed just about every major family celebration for the past few years, and am no longer confident that I can go out alone for a walk or a bike ride. Yes, doctor, I realize I have had cancer twice, chemo and radiation treatments can result in long-term “brain fog” and fatigue.
So I’ve decreased work – from 5 days to 4 days per week, but have been pushing myself to try to get active again. I work out with a trainer – the plan was to go 3 times per week, but I’ve only been able to go twice. I’ve been trying to walk (started in the winter) and in hindsight learned that this was not a good thing for me.
I’ve been to a naturopath, who through an elimination diet has helped me identify some food triggers for migraines, but not much with regard to fatigue and other pain.
My regular doctor and my oncos were all about me accepting my new limitations: “You have to accept that after having cancer twice, you can’t do the things you used to.”
My social worker at the oncology center asked: “What if this is as good as it gets.”
That question is what really got me going, because no, this is not acceptable. I did not get through two bouts with cancer to miss out on everything life has to offer me. So I’ve kept pushing.
I went to the foot doctor who helped me with my toenails after chemo, and she has determined that my Achille’s heel is injured. That is why I have had so much pain. So I have extra precautions to take until it heals.
I asked my doctor to do a sleep study. After a bit of an argument, she agreed. Turns out I have sleep apnea, partly due to weight, partly due to scar tissue in my throat from the thyroid surgery. So I now have a machine to ensure I don’t stop breathing at night. First night is tonight.
Actually, first night was during the sleep test, which they interrupted to have me use a machine. Apparently, I stop breathing as soon as I fall asleep! I went to work the next day and people were commenting on how bright my eyes were, how rested I looked. So definitely a winner strategy here!
By addressing those two things – the achille’s heel injury and the sleep apnea – I may be resolving many of my ongoing problems. Waking up with migraines. Not being able to walk or stand for very long. The seemingly impossibility of losing weight. So, so many things!
I guess the moral of my story is never, ever, ever give up, and listen to yourself – you are the best judge of when you need to dig deeper! I am finally starting to believe that I can do this, and that this is not as good as it gets!