I’m not going to sugar coat it, chemotherapy sucks. But it’s when you feel like you’ve been stripped of everything (like your job… your lifestyle… your hair…) that you realise everything you need is right in front of you.
I mentioned in a previous blog post that the reason why I’m doing chemotherapy is for a better future with everyone that I love. I’ve got to admit though, it’s not easy. Just the thought of going back to the hospital makes me feel nauseous. At this point, it sometimes feels like life handed me lemons.
When things are low, hearing cliches can feel a little patronising but surprisingly I’ve found meaning in these sayings too. If you haven’t worked it out yet, the cliche I’m talking about is…
“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”
This is how I’ve been making lemonade out of my lemons which is chemotherapy:
1) Light walks
One of the many side effects of chemotherapy is lethargy. I was told by my doctors and nurses that the best way to combat this is light exercise. Not only does it help you physically but it helps you mentally as well.
Before all of this happened, I used to run laps around a lake near my house. These days the lake is where I go for my walks. Sometimes I go with my dad and sometimes I go with my boyfriend. Every time I go it’s a really refreshing experience with people I love.
I’m looking forward to the day I can run laps around this lake again!
2) I’m not allowed to eat out… so I learn to cook what I crave!
Because of my lowered immune system, I was told to avoid eating out because I’m more susceptible to food poisoning. On top of that, I lose my sense of taste for a few days after chemotherapy. But there are those days where my taste returns. And each time it does, I make the most of it.
I’ve used this opportunity to learn to cook what I’m craving. Burgers, rice paper rolls, and different desserts! It’s pretty fun cooking and because being able to taste food is rare for me, the food is much more enjoyable too!
3) Public spaces and movie theatres are a “no”… so I’ve been going to Drive-In Cinemas
I was given this advice by a friend who also survived cancer. When you’re on chemo it’s best to avoid crowded places because if someone is sick you can easily catch whatever they have. Cinemas count as a crowded space. It sucked when I first found out because I love going to the movies.
Fortunately, there’s a Drive-In Cinema near where I live. It’s a great alternative because I won’t miss out on new movies and the Drive-In experience is pretty unique! It was actually receiving this advice that made me realise that I can make lemonade out of lemons! P.S. Ant-man and the Wasp was a great movie!
4) I have more time on my hands…. so I’m learning something new!
Because I’m not working or going to uni I have a lot of spare time. Some of these days I’m just in and out of sleep because chemo got me drained. Other days I’m just watching Netflix because that’s all my body can bring me to do.
But the days I look forward to is when my strength is regained enough for me to paint. I’ve been taking online watercolour classes on the Skillshare app. Since then I’ve created a few (amateur) artworks that I’m pretty proud of.
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During my years at uni, I’ve been taking photos of flowers and sketching them during lectures and classes (when I should’ve been paying attention 😂). These days, while I’m doing chemotherapy, I’ve been spending my time off work turning these drawings into paintings. The first painting is my most recent one. If you swipe right you’ll see the ones I painted before this. I like to think I’m improving! 😆 . . #watercolor #watercolour #watercolourpainting #sketches #drawing #flowers
5) Falling more in love with sewing
You all already know how much I love to sew. I admit that there are days where chemotherapy leaves me really weak that bringing myself to sew is difficult. I also have a schedule on when I want to have particular projects sewn and blog posts published. But with the state I am in now, there are times I need to step back and tell myself this is not realistic.
I’ve kind of just learnt to take things as I go and accept what I have right in front of me. All of this makes me really grateful for the days when I do have the energy.
Rather than seeing sewing as just a project I need to finish or a post I want to publish. I’ve been falling more in love with sewing simply for what it is.
Learning to Love Myself
When I scroll through Facebook or turn on the TV, every travel ad tells me that I need to go far away to find myself, and I’ve always believed this. I’m not saying that this isn’t true, because I’ve travelled to South America and Asia and I’ve learnt new things about myself through my travels.
But the most I’ve ever learnt about myself is right here. Getting diagnosed with cancer has been teaching me to appreciate the small things in life and the more I appreciate what I have, the more I learn to love myself.
“Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies”
– Mother Teresa