Friday, October 06, 2006

An Unwanted Journey: Day 0318 - Getting Used to Recovery

The recovery phase is pretty much what the authors of Picking Up The Pieces: Moving Forward After Surviving Cancer predicted. I no longer have Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) nurses coming to my home regularly to monitor how I'm doing and to change PICC line dressings. I no longer have biweekly visits to the Grand River Regional Cancer Centre (GRRCC) where I can talk to oncologists, nutritionists, pharmacists, and nurses about what's happening in my battle with cancer. In other words, I no longer have a regular structure and support network.

Instead, I have occasional questions from colleagues and neighbours about how I'm feeling. Friends and family members tend to talk to me about celebrating the end of treatment with the expectation that it's all about putting the battle behind me and getting on with life. My immediate family is a little more knowledgeable about what the recovery phase is actually all about, and for that I am indeed grateful.

Still, there is a major shift going on now that will take reflection, time, and practice to handle skillfully. One obvious example is the continuity of side-effects. During the past two days, for instance, I have felt as if I had a low-grade flu, with additional symptoms like diarrhea and neuropathy in the feet. My feet have felt as if I was walking on gravel in very thin sponge flip-flops. Not a natural feeling!

On the other hand, I am back at work full-time and making a difference again in the lives of my colleagues...for the good, I hope! I can look forward to fulfilling projects and contributions to the welfare of our information management systems and the productivity of our staff. I have never felt more excited about my work, perhaps because of the troubles I've gone through in the past year.

I still have to take things easy. A full day at work is more than enough right now. The evenings have to be geared towards rest and relaxation with a snooze or two before going to bed for a good 8-9 hours of sleep. I simply cannot consider anything more ambitious right now. Give me a month or two and things will gradually change as I begin to regain physical fitness and work through the exercises in Picking Up The Pieces.

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