It's disconcerting to realize how poor my memory can be. Despite having 5 1/2 weeks with a PICC line in January and February for the neoadjuvant combination chemoradiation therapy (Stage 1), I had completely forgotten the limitations it imposes on one's lifestyle. No weight training; no lifting or stretching of any significant proportions; no aerobics; very limited household and outdoor activities; no swimming. And this time, I have to manage 4 months instead of 5 1/2 weeks.
I had also conveniently forgotten how careful my family will have to be. More handwashing, more sanitizing of surfaces in the kitchen and washrooms, daily use of antimicrobial soaps when I have to flush the PICC line, regular use of anti-nausea medications (different ones depending on whether I am going to the cancer centre for an infusion or merely at home or work), scheduling of activities according to when CCAC nurses need to change my dressing or disconnect the 5-FU bottle.
But the nurses have reminded me of all that information. Even more immediately, there is the PICC line itself, the soreness in my left arm, the "sock" covering the line like some kind of weird fashion statement, and soon the bottle of 5-FU that I'll carry with me for 46 hours every 2 weeks...all that screams "Don't forget that your life is still anything but normal!"
Still, like they say, every day above ground is a good day! If I can get out walking further and faster every day, while minimizing side effects, my fitness (what's left of it!) shouldn't deteriorate any further. And there is the whole emotional/social/spiritual side to train and develop. Not to mention work. I really hope I can start back part-time within a couple of weeks, gradually working up to a full-time return while still on chemo.
First, though, there is tomorrow and my first ever FOLFOX treatment, the first of 8 treatments, once every 2 weeks. My wife will join me for the afternoon at the cancer centre so we both can receive the pharmacy training and see exactly how it's to be done.
I need to remind myself of many things it seems, the good, the bad, the eternal, and the annoying.