The New Normal


Hooray!! Cancer treatment is over! It makes you want to do a cartwheel even if you never could!
Three months after my last chemo, two months after my bi-lateral mastectomy, and one month after starting the reconstruction process with expanders, I freaked out in the oncology office. “My hair is growing back, why don’t I have energy?”

They call it “transition” or, “the new norm”. For the last few months, you’ve been focused on getting better; crossing the finish line. But now, Who will drive you? Who will help you grocery shop? Who will make a quick meal on a day you feel you’ve expended finite energy? Who will understand your need for talking a lot about cancer now—or not at all.

I’d used the gauge of my hair growing back to determine when and how my body should get through the day without naps or help. Ooooo so wrong. My oncologist answered my question about hair growth equating to energy by saying, “You’ve been through major stuff! Your body’s recovering. Give it one-two years.”
So, your hair’s growing back. You look great. Everyone is breathing a sigh of relief. Go easy. It takes time for physical and emotional healing. Family and friends are in new roles, too. They no longer need to drive you everywhere, and may not see how getting the mail, AND watering plants, AND cooking adds up to your exhaustion.
Tip: Continue to ask people for help up to six months after treatment. A bag of Russet potatoes is heavy! Get someone else to pick it up for you.

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