Cancer has run out of steam and now it is time to get back on track. I have some doubts about recovery: the scans are good news, the blood tests are great; but it is optimistic to suggest that all is forgiven. Strange symptoms linger while life goes on.
Why am I so tired? On the day you get positive cancer results you would think you would get your energy back. No, I’m still as exhausted the month after the ‘good news’ as I was the month before. The only difference is that most people don’t expect that I will be tired, and want to celebrate when all I want is to sleep.
Why does hair grow back in unwanted places first? Facial hair first, hair on the legs all in place, hair on head reappearing very very slowly.
Does your body remember the nausea? It seems to visit from time to time like an old friend who doesn’t want to be forgotten.
Why didn’t the treatment get rid of all the medical problems I had before cancer? Still have asthma, incontinence, attacks of diarrhoea, muscle pains, arthritis, migraines. You’d think that those ‘state of the art’ drugs would kill everything.
Is every physical symptom due to cancer? Is every bump malignant? If no, what do you do then? Worry.
If you are cancer free why are you always in an oncologist’s office? Checking, checking, checking; it’s enough to make you ill.
If you have been bedridden or hospitalized for a long time and are lucky enough to have NHS or private health insurance, why aren’t you rich? It remains a mystery to me. Maybe you were so out of it on the chemo cocktail that you just dropped your money on the street. Check bank account: assuming death was imminent, perhaps you gave all your money to your children (the King Lear symptom).
AND as long as you could use your computer you might have shopped on the Internet while comatose.
Why do you still have to pay taxes? After a few years of cancer you’d think you might be given a tax rebate. No, instead you are faced with new tax laws that slipped in while you were too sick to care and it’s back to form filling and accountants.
And the will you wrote when you were foggy from chemo, and thought the end was coming… now review it in the light of your maybe being around for a while. (Did I mean that??)
Did you give yourself a well-deserved break from the dentist because nurses were prodding you enough? It seems unfair to have to go back.
Since your treatment has been successful you may feel a wave of generosity and would like to support a cancer charity. Would you like to run a marathon, jump on a trampoline, walk across a desert, climb Kilimanjaro? NO! Well, maybe someone will sponsor you for getting up in the morning and crawling to the bathroom.
While you have been using a limited comfy wardrobe of loose clothes your dress up clothes have been hanging in the closet. They must be ready to wear now that you are ‘well’. Not likely, your body has no doubt changed due to surgery or weight gain (usually a matter of gaining not losing) The diseases that make you lose weight are never part of an overweight person’s repertoire. And even if they still fit, the clothes in the wardrobe have gone out of style.
So here I am, in remission but left with all the health problems I had before. Financial problems are still the same. Taxes still have to be paid, and life goes on much the same as before cancer, but I am left with a chemo brain and residual exhaustion to tackle it. It isn’t fair, but whoever said life was fair?