The Side Effects of Treatment

Diary entry from a 33 year old woman who just finished chemotherapy,⁠

Dear Diary,⁠
Today is November 11, 2019 and I just had my last chemo infusion. I should be happy but I am not. I know it should feel like a big milestone but it doesn’t feel like an accomplishment at all. I still have such a long way to go. I can’t see that light at the end of the tunnel just yet.⁠

They keep telling me to cheer up. Everyone says, “At least it isn’t stage IV. At least your hair will grow back. At least it isn’t a death sentence anymore. At least”….⁠

At least nothing. They don’t know what it feels like to be so physically sick that you almost think it would be easier to die. Sometimes, the pain of it all is too intense that I have to jump into the tub, fill the water to the top and turn the lights off…a makeshift deprivation chamber to ease the pain, even if it is just for a second.⁠

They don’t know what it feels like to have to suck on lemon heads for hours in hopes of some kind of relief, but it never comes.⁠

They don’t know what it feels like to sleep for hours and hours because you are so exhausted you can barely keep your eyes open. At least sleeping is better than feeling pain.
They don’t know what it is like to cut people out of your life and lose some as well because they just couldn’t understand what you were going through, or constantly said the wrong thing.⁠

But worst of all, they don’t know what it’s like to cry as your husband shaves your head instead of holding your hand and doing newly wed things. They don’t know what it is like to step into the shower and rub your bald head that used to be covered with luscious blond locks. ⁠

I couldn’t wait to be done chemo. So why am I still soooo tired? Why am I so sad? Why do I feel so hopeless? When will I feel like myself again?⁠

I won’t. The doctors say THIS is my new normal. I must mourn the loss of the old me to make room for the new me. I feel as though I assassinated her:⁠
◦ I try not to think about myself a year ago because it makes me very sad and angry. I miss who I was a year ago even more I miss who I was before cancer.