Surviving chemo is probably the biggest, scariest, most enormous thing I’ve ever done and Paul says I’ve made it look easy. It feels like climbing Everest. The hard part comes now, which is getting back to normality. I know I’ve written about this a bit in the past, but it’s important so needs more words.
Imagine you’re Neal Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, not only the biggest thing he’d ever done, but one of the greatest achievements for all mankind, hence the “one small step” etc speech. You get back to earth and for a while your a hero, you’re revered by everyone, but then one day you have to go back to work, back to normal life.
Imagine you’re Tim Peake, you’ve spent a long time on the international space station and people think you’re great, but then you return to Earth and the muscles in your legs aren’t strong enough because you’ve been in zero gravity for so long. Not only do you have to get back to normality, but you’ve also got to rebuild your strength and fitness just to be able to walk on the earth again.
The great feeling of surviving chemo fades. It’s an anticlimax and there’s a long recovery with a lot of hard work ahead of you. It feels really unfair, especially as you want everything to be wonderfully bright and shiny. It’s perfectly normal to feel like this after doing something so big and amazing. Normality takes a while to get used to after finishing chemo. But remember normality is what you’ve been fighting so hard for during treatment. And when you look at it from the top of Everest, normality looks a bit dull, small and boring. Bright and shiny seems a long way off.
So manage your expectations and put some effort in. Normality can be amazing if you look at it in the right way, or if the old normality isn’t enough anymore, then find a new normality or find something which is bright and shiny to you.
Recovery will take time, both physically and mentally. Patience with yourself is key, as compassion towards yourself. Put the the effort into recovering and rebuilding the metaphorical strength to walk on the earth again. And then if you want to, put a bit more effort in, go beyond normality, find the bright and shiny and have an amazing life. You’ve survived chemo, so nothing is impossible, you can do pretty much anything you put your mind to.
So what do you do once you’ve climbed Everest?
The answer is simple. You fly 🐝
Be a warrior, not a worrier.