Today is six weeks since my last chemo session.
I know those of you still doing chemo are dying to know how long it will take until you don't need a nap after typing "butdoctorihatepink.blogspot.com." Hey, if I'd known how tired we'd all get, I wouldn't have picked such a long URL.
Live and learn.
When I look back a month, it's like I'm a different person. Back then, I was Grandpa Simpson, slightly confused, living in the past, spending a lot of time sleeping with my mouth open, drool pooling on my chin. Now, I'm more like Marge. Brain functioning well (although still a bit slow.) I'm able to manage housework and a deranged family, but I'm not quite up to Lisa standards yet.
Since we in Cancer World like percentages, I'd estimate that my energy level has come back to about 75% of normal. I work 4-5 hours a day (with a 30 minute commute each way) and function fine. I still can't push it; a full day makes me nauseated and exhausted. I can't awaken early and I still need rest, but I'm so much better than I was.
Disappointingly, my blood is not back to normal. My whites are still low, and I'm still anemic, but when I am up and functioning and at work, I'm really there and not thinking about napping. I am even back to cooking dinner for my family again (most nights), something that I hadn't done in months.
I have enough energy to shop the mall again, and spend a half day doing something enjoyable. I can walk up a flight of stairs without needing to stop and rest half way up.
Chemo-brain is also improving. When I first started back at work, before chemo was finished, I couldn't solve the smallest problem if it involved sequencing or tracking something. My substitute set up a filing system of her own (appropriately) and the thought of looking for something in her files was just overwhelming. Like Grandpa Simpson, my memory would flake out on me; I'd forget what I was looking for before I found it and instead start talking about World War II. Now, while I still forget things if I don't write them down, I can follow a thought from beginning to end. I still occasionally discuss WWII but that's just when I want to drive people out of my office.
Physically, I'm better too. As I posted earlier, my hair is growing in, although it's very uneven and not very attractive. (Okay, it's ugly.) My eyelashes are coming back, my brows are full enough and I am forced to shave my legs on a regular basis again. My neuropathy is mostly gone, although when cold air blows on me I still experience some in my hands. My biggest physical problem now is bone aches. It's hard to tell if that is leftover from chemo, or a side effect from tamoxifen or herceptin. I wake up in the morning as I imagine Grandpa Simpson must - groaning, moving slowly, waiting to loosen up.
A nice hot bath/shower in the morning helps a lot with the aching.
I can't wait until I'm back to Lisa status, mind and body bright and able to go an entire day without feeling tired, but I won't complain. I've certainly come a long way in a short time.
You will too.