Living with Cancer and Living Unwell

Living with cancer and living well is the theme of this blog. Somewhere along the way I’ve gone from living well, to thinking I’m living well, to realizing I am living unwell. When did this happen? How exactly did I get here? It sucks. Can I get back to living well or is this it?

Quality of life (QOL) has been a phrase I’ve always hated. To me it means treatment is done and it’s an attempt at empathy to say the focus is now on comfort. I know QOL can show up from day one of treatment, however, some of my preconceptions are carved in stone. I am a fan of comfort, but also would like to stay on an effective treatment. Besides, I want both. It needn’t be one or the other.

Enhertu was a relentlessly vicious treatment without an ounce of comfort. Nausea followed me everywhere. Either I couldn’t eat when I wanted or wasn’t hungry. Weight dropped off effortlessly. Most of the time I felt a heavy, flattening fatigue. I slept a lot. Why not, it lessened the nausea a degree.

Here is a plug from my fictitious sponsor Ensure. Ensure is delicious, especially the vanilla. And it gives me some needed nutrition. It comes with an immunity boost, too. I love it!

Other lowlights include a two-month hiatus from taking a walk outside. I finally did my 2 mile loop. I was about ten minutes from home when I realized how hard it was and how much energy I was exerting. I need to build up my stamina. I’ve only done it once or twice since then.

A friend has visited me twice where our visits basically amounted to me lying on the couch like a lazy bulldog while she sat in a chair. I couldn’t even sit up.

Most days my makeup consists of eyebrows and eyeliner on days I want to spruce up. Makeup has always been rather minimal for me. Eyebrows make a huge difference. Lipstick isn’t needed because if I go anywhere, I wear a mask.

These scenarios are examples of my not living well with cancer.

At home I’m largely okay. It’s my safe haven. I can eat and rest when I need. Recently, I traveled to Florida. My plane ride was remarkably normal. Once I met up with friends, I found keeping up with them hard. I couldn’t always eat when I needed to but gradually began to do this to fit my body rather than the late hour. I had to say NO once or twice to activities. I still took my afternoon siestas when possible. The emotional toll of the trip and side effects were almost harder than the physical.

What to do now that I’m home?

I rest when I need to rest.

I nap without apology.

I eat what I can and what tastes good to me.

I cancel plans if too tired.

I know who supports me.

Now, I’m on yet another treatment. I hope it’s kinder to my body and more effective. I’d love to get back to living well.