Let me tell you about my fears. I used to fear silly things like blood draws and clowns. Now I fear losing another person who I deeply love to a terminal illness. I fear infertility. I fear cancer recurrence. I fear dying before my son gets a chance to really know me.
Although I have tried to convince myself that everything is normal, the truth is that I have been having a difficult time these past couple of months.
Over the summer, I successfully weaned myself off of all of the meds that I had been taking throughout my cancer treatments. That was no easy feat. I did this partly for myself, but mostly because I wanted to make sure that my body was as prepared as possible for a future baby (meaning: completely drug free). I wanted to spend the next few months getting my body strong and healthy enough for another pregnancy. We have been patiently waiting for the day when can finally add another little one to our family. According to the doctors, it will be safe for us to get pregnant this upcoming spring, as I will be two years out from chemotherapy and it will be completely out of my system by then.
I started to feel a little “off” around the time of Ryan’s birthday in September. I had to really push myself each day to find the energy for things that I used to do easily. I gained about 8 lbs, so I decided to try to start exercising regularly. The problem was that I couldn’t even work out as much as I wanted to because I felt extremely tired all of the time. Granted, I was trying to keep up with the never-ending workload of my grad school classes while packing Ryan’s social schedule full of activities, so I never actually took a moment to rest.
We were caught off guard in October, finding out that I was pregnant for a couple of days and then immediately suffering an early miscarriage. I know that it wasn’t the right time for us, but there was certainly a huge part of me that got my hopes up. It felt too good to be true for something in life to actually happen easily (instead of having to worry about trying to get pregnant and fertility issues). Of course, it was not meant to be.
The past two weeks, I have felt more fatigued and I lose my breath easily from just doing regular amounts of physical activity. I came down with a cold, so I figured that was the reason that I was so exhausted. But the cold is gone, and I have not improved. I push myself each day to keep up with my responsibilities, trying to hide the fact that I can barely get Ryan in and out of his car seat without feeling short of breath. I have sharp pains in my chest, lungs, and in my left shoulder/collarbone. I also experience hot flashes and heat intolerance, which are probably long-term side effects of chemo.
I went in to see my oncologist and had a bunch of different scans/tests done, but all have turned up inconclusive. Next on the list is a PET scan, which will determine whether or not the cancer has returned.
I am sure that whatever is causing all of this is something minor. Maybe it is just stress, anxiety, and/or depression. I have never had depression before, but I certainly feel less motivated to be active and do a million things. I am sure that this will just resolve itself on its own, and everything will go back to normal soon.
I still plan on having a long, happy life with my wonderful husband, complete with our dream of having three children. Many people have grand, elaborate dreams and goals for their lives, but for me, as long as I am alive and have my husband and children, I will be the luckiest person in the world. I will be eternally thankful if I can only have that blessing.
But for now, I will schedule that PET scan and keep everyone posted on how it goes.
I am preparing myself for the worst but expecting the best. Please keep me in your prayers this week and next.
Update: The results of my PET scan came back clear, as in: no cancer! I am extremely grateful because it feels like I have been given a second and now a third chance at life. I have never felt so appreciative of every single moment the way that I do now. Now that we have ruled out cancer recurrence, whatever has been causing these odd symptoms will be minor in comparison, so I am not too concerned about them anymore. They might very well just be the long-term effects of chemo that I will simply have to deal with.