Cancer Lesson #62: Chemotherapy has a long tail.
I’ve been lucky. My cancer lessons could have been much harder learned. Soon after I finished treatment, however, one slouched into my brain forcing me to comprehend that exhaustion – sheer debilitating fatigue – had become a part of my day.
I’d never felt so feeble, even during chemo — probably because I was at home during most of that time and could rest whenever I wanted.
You see, I had access to both my accumulated sick time and the library’s sick bank, which meant I didn’t have to work during that period. Plus I was between positions so there were no worries about how my department was functioning without me.
Returning to work made all the difference. I discovered I couldn’t work and do everything I thought I needed to, let alone everything I wanted to do. And I was only working part-time!
Most evenings I came home and stared at the walls.
It was weird to feel mostly healthy when you’re not yet completely recovered, but I knew it would get better.
My oncologist told me I was at about 50% of my normal energy level. Chemotherapy, he says, has a long tail.
It’s a great image, bringing to mind a sleek cat slowly disappearing from view. The last one sees is a flick of that tail, and then it’s gone.
I expected my “new normal” to appear as silently as the cat, and it did. One day I realized I felt, well, almost normal. And that was that.
No more tail.