I Need a Mental Health Day

Before cancer, I used to take for granted the ability to do what I wanted, when I wanted to do it. If I wanted to go window shop at a store, I could go any day, any time, as long as the store was open. Yeah, I had to shower and get dressed if it were one of my lazy days, but that was a small price to pay.

Nowadays, 90% of my time is spent feeling some degree of crappiness.

About 100% of the time, I have to be conscious of where bathrooms are in case I need to make a run for it due to my wonderful digestive tract and its inability to be regular. In addition to that, I want to surround myself with people I feel comfortable enough with to make that mad dash, if need be. It’s one thing talking about it candidly here, it’s a total other thing being in public, making that face, grabbing my stomach with my eyes darting like mad for the nearest restroom, and praying for a vacancy as I run like I’m being chased by a bear.

Other times, I feel foggy and fatigued. My brain doesn’t quite want to work properly, and I lose track of conversations I’m an active participant in. Even when writing these posts, it takes me a while. I write a little, re-read to see if what I wrote makes sense, lose my train of thought and wonder where I was going with whatever I was writing, and so on.

Sometimes I feel nauseated. Granted, it doesn’t last long thanks to the magic of Zofran, but it’s still there often enough and isn’t a comfortable feeling. Along those same lines is the lack of appetite/need to eat everything in sight – all at the same time. Imagine how fun that is for someone who likes to eat. I want to eat, but I can’t really eat, partly due to nausea, partly due to not being able to taste things properly, and partly because it exits almost as quickly as it enters and there’s just no fun in that. But if I don’t eat, then I get nauseated from the empty stomach. Damned if I do, damned if I don’t. This last cycle was better with food, and I think that was mostly due to the fact that I was on point with my Zofran consumption. Every. Eight. Hours. Things still tasted sort of funny or different at times, some textures were odd, but I could eat.

With all that being said…I don’t want to do anything.

Yeah, I go to work and school when I feel well enough. But usually, even on good days, I’m too fatigued to do anything else afterwards, even grocery shop or clean the house. The regular household stuff typically gets taken care of on the weekend when I have more steam. Brad takes care of some of it, but I have a need to contribute, so I do it when I can. I like doing laundry and vacuuming, straightening up the house, etc. I enjoy it because it’s normal, and I try to do what’s normal as much as I can because I’m not a complete invalid. Sure, there are days when I don’t get out of bed except for getting something to eat and using the bathroom. Visit me during week two of my chemo cycle and you’ll most likely witness that. But when I have the energy, I’m up cleaning or organizing something because that’s normal to me.

But leisure activities? Those barely even happen for me.

We go to trivia on Friday nights – mostly because it gives me the chance to see my parents outside of them chauffeuring me to doctors appointments, it’s completely no frills, and it’s entertaining and a chance to exercise my brain. I went to a book event a few weeks ago – I was miserable but it was nice to get out, be a nerd, see people I hadn’t seen in a while, and meet people I hadn’t yet met in person. Went to a dinner for Brad’s work because free food, ok? Spent time with my family over Thanksgiving. We actually realized it was the first time our entire immediate family was all together, ever, which was pretty cool as someone was always missing for one reason or another. I trick-or-treated with my niece and nephew, sister- and brother-in-law on Halloween. Hosted a couple of games at home this football season.

And that’s about it. That’s pretty much the extent of my leisurely activities.

I often can’t do anything because I don’t feel well, or I don’t want to because I’m tired and would rather stay home so I’m not the tired, little fuddy-duddy in the corner not talking to anyone. I often can’t keep up with conversations as I’m suddenly staring into space and not paying attention right in the middle of a sentence.


So I need a mental health day. A moment to feel sorry for myself because this cancer crap is for the birds. It doesn’t just affect your health, it affects your entire existence.

Can’t do this.
Can’t do that.
Finally feel well enough to do that, but you can’t because of this, that, or the other thing.
Feel like crap because you’re constantly saying “no, sorry, I can’t, not today, I don’t feel good” when asked to do stuff.
Getting used to that metaphorical perch in the window where you wave good-bye to everyone who gets to do fun stuff and live their lives while you’re at home, physically feeling like some form of garbage.

Pity party, table of one.

I really shouldn’t be whining. Other people have it far worse than I do. In a year, this will all be nothing but a bad memory. Some people have to live with whatever ails them all their lives.

But, damn it, today I need to whine.

I think I’m coming off the high of having had two good weeks this cycle (since I pushed chemo back for Thanksgiving), and getting ready for the doom and gloom that is chemo day – Monday.

Anyway…I’m going to curl up on the couch with a book (an audiobook because I can’t friggin’ read a book to save my life these days) and eat my pizza and cinnamon bread. Tomorrow is a new day, and I think I might put up my Christmas decorations.

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