This past Monday I had my 9th chemo infusion. I am getting a total of 18, so that means I am half way through! I am on a 3 week on and one week off chemo schedule. So that means I have completed 11 of 24 weeks. My husband and I continued with our pre chemo tradition of running 10 miles in the morning before heading to the cancer center. I was nervous going in on Monday. I do not normally get particularly nervous, but I had some pretty significant nausea the week before. Just thinking about how badly I had felt scared me. This week my fears were happily unfounded, because I felt fine Monday night, other than being tired.
I have learned to expect the unexpected throughout chemo. I was only mildly nauseous this week, but I was completely exhausted most days. I had some weird arm pain and swelling going on which was bothersome. Still, I managed to run or run/walk all week. Tuesday and Wednesday I ran by myself.
On Thursday, I met up with a girl friend and really struggled to keep up for the first couple of miles. Eventually I was able to settle in and the run was enjoyable and therapeutic. On Friday, I met two of my ultra running girl friends for an easy run that just about killed me. I kept thinking I would feel better, and I never did. I felt like I was really gasping for air through the entire run. At one point, I stopped to walk up a hill, tripped and fell, cutting my finger open. Yes, I trip and fall when I walk.
I had planned to try a little longer run on Saturday with my friend who is training for a marathon. I went to bed feeling nervous about it, since I really struggled to finish 7-8 miles this week. Something happened on Saturday, though, and I felt pretty good. I felt comfortable the whole way and wasn’t out of breath and struggling. My friend ran 20 and I finished 14 miles. I was very happy about doing my longest run since just prior to surgery in November. It seems crazy that in November I thought nothing of running for hours on end, and now I was not sure if I had 14 in me or not.
Today Steve and I went out to run ten miles and I felt exhausted and breathless again. I never know what each day will bring, but I am learning to deal with the physical effects as they come.
So now I have finished half of my chemo infusions. This week is an “off” week for me and I am looking forward to hopefully feeling more like myself. I still feel like I have a long way to go, but now I am beginning to think about life after chemotherapy. When I first started this adventure, it felt like it would continue forever. While going through treatments and making twice weekly visits to the cancer center, it is hard to think about a whole lot other than just making it through each day and taking care of my family. Cancer takes over a lot of time, physical and emotional energy. Now I am starting to think, “What’s next?” Just thinking about the future and possibilities is exciting and exhilarating and also a little scary. I am looking forward to moving on and moving forward, and of course, planning my next race!