The Many Changing Faces of Lung Cancer
I recently had to change my treatment plan due to my current targeted therapy not working. It was kind of like being re-diagnosed all over again. I don't know why it had that effect on me but it put me in a pretty dark place. I always thought chemotherapy was my last resort, my last back up plan in my back pocket. To hear my oncologist say, "we are going to start you on chemo for 3-4 rounds," I felt like I failed. In the end, I now realize, I didn't fail, it's just a bump in this very unplanned road we are on with this disease.
The different phases we go through with this disease can give us many different faces at different times. I am so hopeful most of the time. I love to spread awareness, I love to show others that I am thriving with this disease, so when it came to having to actually get an IV and get chemotherapy, I felt like I really was sick, when for the past 20 months since diagnosis, I didn't always feel sick. Side effects got pretty bad with my targeted therapy but I was never that cancer patient in the chair getting chemotherapy. It was kind of my saving grace for my sanity and then I just lost it all.
Coming to Terms with Chemotherapy
I have now had my first infusion of Carboplatin, Alimta and Avastin. My oncology team is incredible and had me prepared and ready for the side effects. I have to admit it wasn't what I thought it would be. I had no nausea. Yes, I was fatigued, but it wasn't like I expected. I still had a good appetite and besides some of the side effects of Avastin hitting me hard (sinus issues, headache) and the Neulasta shot causing bone aches, I feel like I scathed by pretty well. Mentally, on the other hand, was a whole different story.
Being on so many different medications the first 3 days of chemo, the steroids really made me go nuts. I would cry over something so small. I would start a fight with my friends or loved ones for no good reason. I was all over the place. I felt like I could never do this another 3 times. How could I? It was driving me insane and was making my life miserable. I just wanted to feel better and it just wasn't happening as fast as I wanted. So, I slept and slept some more. My husband did everything in his power to make me comfortable, to love me, and to have my back at all times. It was hard for my daughter to watch me like that, as she was used to the on-the-go mom that was always doing things, going places and now I couldn't even drive her to and from school. Life had changed as I knew it.
Rediscovering the "Old Nicole"
Then today, on my way home from dropping my daughter off at school, I felt different. I felt like me, I felt like I could actually do this again. Do I want to? No, but I know I want to live, I want to be there for my daughter's graduation, I want to be able to travel with my family, so I decided today, the "Old Nicole" is back and is going to fight fiercely to get through these last 3 rounds of chemo and then make a plan for the next steps. My face now is back to one of hope and smiles. Will it always be like this? Probably not, but if I can always find my way back to this spot, my happy life can continue to go on and I can continue to make memories with those that I love! Life Life Now!
Do you find that staying zen through your lung cancer diagnosis has helped you in your journey?