Bab's Blog

It's just me, in words.

What IS Normal? June 8, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — babscampbell @ 10:58 am

So, today marks another anniversary.  One year ago, I walked out of the office to begin my cancer battle, full-time.  It was one of the hardest days for me, not just because I knew I wouldn’t see my wonderful co-workers as often; not because I was feeling so weak and tired; but, because it was the last piece of my “normal” life, I had held on to and I was now letting go.

I know it must sound wonderful to think you don’t have to go to work for an unspecified length of time.  I was blessed with disability insurance, so our income wasn’t too badly affected.  My friends at work promised to keep in touch.  The executives promised me a job when I was ready to return.  Why was this so hard?

When you face a chronic, or possibly terminal disease,  the first thing you do to prepare yourself for the ongoing management is to vow to keep life as “normal” as possible.  This isn’t to remain in denial, it’s to feel  in-control and not give in to the disease.  The fear of being a burden on your family also comes into play, fairly early, and it’s one way to feel that you’re managing the disease rather the disease managing your life.

So, what’s normal?

I go to work every day.
I wear professional clothes.
I style my hair.
I wear makeup.
I eat these foods.
I drink these drinks.
I drive this car.
I wake up at this time.
I go to bed at this time.
I eat dinner at this time.
I talk to these friends, every day.
I work on a computer every day.

I know these sound like EXTREMELY basic things in life. . .but, slowly, one by one, they are gone. . .

I worked until the day before my 4th chemo treatment.  My Dr. was SHOCKED!  She said, “You’re just a crazy girl! You need to recover, stay home, stop working.”

Slowly, one by one, they are gone. . .
I was no longer eating on schedule or the same foods. Too spicy, tastes metallic, no taste at all, feeling nauseous
I wasn’t drinking the same drinks.  No caffeine, no Coke Zero, no coffee, no Frappuccinos, drink water, more water, flush the chemo out of your body. . .MORE water.
I had no hair to style. Which scarf do I wear or wig or hat?
Finally, the day arrived. . .no more work.  No driving, no nice clothes, no co-workers, no Weds. morning staff meeting, no make-up, no reason to wake up.

My days were now filled with sleeping until noon, wearing sweats or shorts, no shoes, no hair, no makeup, no reason to.

Normal was gone.

I stayed in bed and slept to recover.  I got up, long enough to move to the recliner and fell back to sleep.  I’d get up occasionally to test my blood glucose (BG) eat something and sit right back down.  I’d look around and make a mental list of all the things I would do when I felt better; paint this room, clean out this closet, move that furniture, work in the garden, sit in the sun.  Even these simple pleasures were taken from me.

When you’re on chemo, you have NO immune system, so you can’t do ANYTHING that may expose you to a germ; no dirt, no garden, no bugs-especially the kind that might bite or sting.  Some of the medications also make you quite sensitive to the sun with not natural body-reaction to fight it.

My Mom, Mother-In-Law, friends from church and my neighbors all chipped-in to help with the meals, gardening, housework.    All of it. . .everything that was normal. . .was gone.

Today I will not celebrate the loss of my “normal” life any longer.  I celebrate the victory over that which would’ve taken it from me forever.  I was able to return to work, part-time, in March and by May I was back to 8-hour days.  Guess what I do now. . .

I go to work every day.
I wear professional clothes.
I style my hair.
I wear makeup.
I eat these foods.
I drink these drinks.
I drive this car.
I wake up at this time.
I go to bed at this time.
I eat dinner at this time.
I talk to these friends, every day.
I work on a computer every day.

Welcome back to my NORMAL!

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11 Responses to “What IS Normal?”

  1. Sara Says:

    Yay for normal!

  2. This is great! It’s funny how something as normal as normal can be such a blessing!

  3. Andrea B. Says:

    Congrats on regaining your “normal”!

  4. Sharyn Says:

    Thank youfor letting us share in your fight. Will always remember Jon and you with your bald heads. Loved it. Congrats for getting through this ugly thing.

  5. Jess Says:

    this is a beautiful post, babs! glad that you’ve been able to get some “normal” back into your life. ❤

  6. I love this post. 🙂


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