Moving Forward (7/18/17)
How does one move forward when they are continuously getting knocked down? The answer to this question is multifaceted. Recently, I have had a lot to digest from managing side effects of the new oral chemotherapy, celebrating milestones and continuing to train for triathlons.
On May 26, 2017 I had my last chemotherapy infusion. Since then it has been hard to see all the great things in my life that were happening around me. My youngest nephew, Kyle graduated from Kindergarten, my oldest nephew, Jacob graduated from high school, and there were birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. All of these milestones were happening around me, and yet I couldn’t put them into perspective. I was missing something, and that was my usual energy, spunk and enthusiasm for such events. As each memory was etched into my mind I now look back and realize I was just being present among the crowds, not really experiencing the moments…just letting them pass by.
I started taking Lynparza, the new oral chemotherapy, on June 23, 2017. These last three weeks have been a struggle in terms of managing the side effects and not letting life pass me by. The first week brought nausea, fatigue, decreased appetite, depression, muscle cramps and stomach pains. I was so nauseous and motion sick that I only left the house twice that week. I was frustrated with doing “trial and error” each day that I tried to fit this medication routine into my daily schedule. I knew I needed to develop physical and mental strength to continue to take this medication.
Lynparza comes with a laundry list of specifics to taking the medication. I knew I did something wrong when I went through a month’s supply of anti-nausea medication in two weeks. After two weeks of being on Lynparza, I met at Yale with my oncologist, Dr. Silber. She did a complete blood count and all of my counts were right where they need to be. She also reassured me that the side effects would continue to diminish as my body adjusts to the chemotherapy.
With all these changes to my everyday routine, it was no surprise to me that I wouldn’t be able to train for triathlons. With luck on my side I did not have any races scheduled, so taking a few days off from training to let my body adjust to the medication was ideal in my mind. Yet when days turned into weeks of not getting any type of physical training, I began to worry, “Will I be able to manage this medication enough to get back out there?”
After two weeks of just trying to get through each day, something sparked inside me that allowed me to release the stress of hyper focusing on the side effects of the medications and lit the fire within me to push forward. With some guidance from my triathlon teammates I was able to get out and go for a 16-mile bike ride. I was a little surprised at how well I felt after this ride. Recovery time is still longer than I would like it to be but for now I am just happy to be back out on the road again.
I ask again, “How does one move forward when they are continuously getting knocked down?” The answer is quite simple; you only have to keep up with yourself in order to move forward. Let life come to you, do what makes you feel good, and be proud of all that you do. When life knocks you down, get back up, look life in the eyes and bring home the gold.