Chemo Treatment 101

Author: Shannon Miller

Because there are so many different chemo regimens it’s difficult to know whether you’ll be able to keep working or if you need to take a complete break. Of course it also depends on your job, how physically demanding and the type of work you do.

I’ve found that I have one really bad week where I really just focus on sleeping and keeping the nausea under control. The second week I feel better and can work a good amount and by the third week I can be working full time again. I also know that Thursdays are my worst days so I try to plan around that as much as possible.

Last night, a Thursday, I was emceeing a big event here in Jacksonville called Ladies Night Out. It was a great night tackling the issue of obesity with a fashion show by weight loss winners, cooking demonstrations from top chefs and health screenings by St. Vincent’s HealthCare.  I knew Thursday would be a little rough on me but I love being a part of the Ladies Night Out series and did not want to miss such an important topic. Knowing my cycles, I was able to plan my day with lots of rest and fluids prior to the event. In addition, I planned today as a rest day, if needed.

I learned the hard way initially but I’m getting the hang of it now. I’m in my favorite comfy chair as I type and work around a nap or two. One of my big challenges, and I don’t think I’m alone in this, is that having work pile up creates stress for me. I don’t want to have to slow down; I don’t want to have to take a break. Logically I know I have to set my priorities with health being at the top of the list. But some days I have a difficult time putting things down.

I’m guessing that many of you fight this as well. I’m so used to working, I don’t like having an inbox with 500 e-mails waiting for me, dishes piling up and laundry going unnoticed. Part of me likes to ignore the whole chemo issue and go on about my day as if nothing has changed. But when the side effects strike there’s no getting around it.

That inner voice keeps reminding me to “Focus on your health. Get rest when you need it and attack the other stuff in small portions.” I can’t say that I ALWAYS listen to that voice but I’m getting better at it. The reality is that we don’t have to be Supermom or Superwoman. It’s okay to take a break, lean on others and focus on getting well.

I’ll keep reminding myself of that and for those of you out there that also suffer from Superwoman syndrome…let’s all just take some time for ourselves. Let someone else handle the dishes and we’ll go take a nap!

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