Cancer reading and Chemo in lockdown vs pre-lockdown thoughts

Whilst I’ve been attempting to do as I’m told and just rest to give my body a chance to recover from major surgery (I’m doing my best I promise), the one thing I am relishing is the opportunity to spend some quality time reading!

When I was diagnosed well meaning people gifted me various “cancer journey” books or recommended the best ones out there. When I was just diagnosed I was just not in the mood to read them, it was all to new and I the last thing I needed was the positivity of people who had been through it and managed to still run a marathon, be a leading journalist or voted best human being ever! Ok that might be a slight exaggeration but you never get a best selling “cancer journey” book written by someone who found treatment really difficult, had to stop work completely and never got back to their pre-cancer self, let’s face it it just wouldn’t sell, and yet that is the reality for a great number of people. 

So when I was first diagnosed I didn’t feel I wanted to read about these amazing women for fear of never being able to measure up! I was never Wonder Woman before so going through chemo wasn’t going to suddenly give me super powers. 

But as I was coming to the end of chemo I felt comfortable with how I was managing it and where I was, what I was able to do and more importantly not to compare myself with others. This website itself had taught me that everyone deals with treatment in so many ways you literally can’t compare to others even if you are on the exact same treatment plan. Some may have been the fittest women pre-diagnosis, always in the gym, the type who seem to be always busy and on top of everything, and yet cancer and chemo can knock them for six! Then on the other end you can have those more comfortable on the sofa than the rowing machine, who like the more leisurely pace of life, less hectic schedules and they breeze through without any real trouble. There is no guarantee either way and more importantly no right or wrong!

So I started reading the books and felt a comfort in them. These people understood what I was going through, I recognised the worries the chemo in-jokes and fears of that it all might come back. Whilst each person and “journey” was different they each had something with resonated with me and it was good to feel connected with others who had been through it. As much as my family and friends have been absolutely amazing through all this, it’s that age old having a shared experience and thankfully few of them can claim that, and I hope it stays that way.

The one thing I felt jealous of through reading these books though was the stark difference of going through this pre-lockdown compared with now. Each book talked of taking opportunities to see friends and family as often as possible, seeking holidays, get always and lunch/dinner dates etc. All things we have not be able to do! It also mentioned having spouses or other friends/family there with them as chemo was administered, again something we have been unable to have.

It made me think would I have wanted any of that? Yes I would have definitely wanted the odd dinner time away with family but in all honesty is the fact we haven’t been able to have big gatherings a bit of a blessing? I haven’t had to come up with any excuses not to attend any events, or not to have people round when I’ve been feeling awful? I love so many of my family and friends I’ve not been able to see and I think I would have felt obliged to see them when perhaps I wasn’t up to it? That said I do miss them so much I’m not sure what is worse?

The other question is would I have wanted someone with me when I had my chemo? If when I started it was an option I think I would have said yes. But in hindsight I think I coped with the cold cap better because I was on my own, and felt I could just sleep through my sessions. If I had someone there would I have felt that I needed to stay awake for them? 

I guess I’ll never know, there is certainly never a good time to have chemo, but if anyone has had to go through it both before and during lockdown I would be interested in your thoughts? 

As always stay safe everyone and take care x

Anonymous