Time To Do The Laundry
“Problems are like a washing machine. They twist, then spin, and then knock us around, but in the end we come out cleaner, brighter, and better than before.
You know your subconscious is telling you something when you look at an average item in your house and suddenly you can identify those words with your Cancer Journey. It just shows you that even though you think you got this thing “cancer” under control, all it takes is a glance at something you identify with and you suddenly “spin” a little out of that control with your thoughts.
Take for instance the cycles on a washing machine……..
Normal/Reg – What you were before, but now it is the “new normal”. When you are adjusting to life with Cancer you really yearn for what you use to be, but as you go on your journey you do learn to accept the new norm. For me that can range from hot flashes/night sweats, to joint pain, and brain fog to name a few. I think you just become good at how to handle them, which in part they become just the way it is. Maybe the symptoms ease up or is it I become better at dealing with them?
Heavy Duty – The diagnosis. The day I heard “You have Cancer” was defiantly very Heavy Duty. But you know what? We are built to handle this. We are strong, way stronger than I ever imagined. God gives us strength; we need to put our trust in this. Just because it’s heavy doesn’t mean we can’t handle the load.
Whites – The “white coats” or the many doctor’s appointments. Monthly appointments during chemo, then every 3 months for 2 years, then every 6 months for 3 years….and that’s if you stay in remission. The good news is they really get to know you as a patient. You also get to know them and there is such comfort in that. It keeps the lines of communication open, which is so important. They really have your best interest in mind. They are fighting your fight hand and hand with you.
Sanitize – During chemo, this is your life. Making sure you don’t pick up any bugs, cut yourself shaving, etc., all while the chemo is wiping out your white cells which makes it easy for an infection. Plus, if your white count gets too low, then there is a delay in treatment and nobody wants that. Finishing chemo on schedule is always a priority. Once you finish chemo you have days with no zip, so you are always hoping it is the side effects from chemo and not that you’ve picked up a new bug. This improves as time goes on too.
Bulky Items – Those days when your thoughts get the best of you. Sometimes you feel like you are caring a heavy load. We have to remember on those days that there are friends and family that are always willing to listen. I’m so thankful I could use my sisters to “unload” on. On those days, I encourage you to get rid of the “bulk” by just talking about whatever is on you mind when it comes to your cancer journey. Just because people don’t ask you on a daily basis about your cancer doesn’t mean they don’t care. I think many times they are waiting for you to bring it up because they don’t want you to think they are focusing only on your cancer. I promise, just talking about things will lighten you load.
Custom Cycle – Everybody’s cancer is different, so there are many different “cocktails” for chemo, along with maintenance medication to help get through any side effects. There also might be additional medications you may take on a daily basis to help keep cancer at bay. I believe what is most important is that you believe in your oncologist. Just as in life, we can’t compare ourselves to anyone else because everyone’s journey is unique.
Delicates – Yes there are days you feel pretty darn delicate. It’s all part of the road you are on. On those days take time for yourself. Practice self-care. Take a soothing bubble bath, read, nap, get a massage, drink more water, go for walk, and write down your feelings. Feeling delicate every once in a while will help you charge up and make you stronger for whatever may come your way next.
Wrinkle Control – Your body will never be the same. For me, I lost all my hair during chemo. Yes, it was nice to not have to shave my legs and I no longer needed a head towel, so less laundry😊. I really missed my eye lashes and eyebrows. But the good news is that everything grows back eventually. Believe me, the chin hairs come back with a vengeance!! I can’t stop the aging process, but I’m so thankful for another day that I will gladly welcome new wrinkles. It shows me I’m living my life and maybe that new wrinkle is from laughing or having fun!
Drain & Spin – I was fortunate not to have hardly any side effects during my 6 rounds of chemo. As the chemo treatment’s accumulated, I would get tired (drained) around day 3 or 4 post chemo but usually you just listened to your body and rested when it was necessary. I also experienced some dizziness; it was around the 3 and 4 rounds of chemo. Without warning the whole room would start spinning on me. I have experienced something of this dizziness prior to my cancer diagnosis, so they were unsure why it occurred during chemo. Dizziness isn’t a normal side effect. It took a couple times (and a smart sister to remind me) that when I felt the sensation of something coming on to take the medication, they had prescribed me. I think it only took me one or two times with medication and I never experienced the dizzy sensation again.
Clean Washer – REMISSION!!! When they tell you that for the time being you are cancer free, it is a wonderful feeling to be told you are winning the fight. But you still must continue to be on guard. A clean washer can always become dirty. There is always a chance the cancer can return…..and that’s ok, because if it happens again you’ll know what it takes to throw a load in and get the laundry done!