Friday, March 29, 2019

Chemotherapy: Work-Life Balance (Rambling)

The first seven-to-nine days after a chemo dose I'm exhausted.  Brain fog swirls around each thought, and I nap daily.  Side effects cram themselves between gaps of consciousness.  I get nothing done.

 I struggle with my lack of progress, especially when my brain starts to clear but I'm still not able to work.  Everything I want done bombards my thoughts.  I tell myself I should get busy. Naps, so necessary, are taken as a sign I'm lazy.  I begin to hate myself for my lack of ambition.
There is a two-week span between my chemotherapy treatments.  During a rough dose, I might only have four truly "good" days to get things done before I receive another.  I must choose carefully or I lose even more time to indecision.

Three blogs, two Twitter accounts, one mentor program, four email accounts, submission deadlines, editing, social obligations, doctor appointments...

My husband and I don't have children.  I don't work outside the home.  I can't imagine what chemotherapy is like for other people.
The American Cancer Society runs commercials with smiling chemotherapy patients who do yoga, manage a full-time job, and go dancing.  They are nothing like me.  These portrayals make me feel like I'm not trying hard enough.  Why is it easier for them?

Maybe, like most advertisements, it's all an act.
I'm a huge believer in lists and prioritization.  Foolishly, I thought all my tasks could be managed with an up-to-date list in color-coded glory.  The list is barely a guideline.  A blog post that should take an hour will now take three.  An afternoon of submitting to literary magazines bleeds into a muddled week.

Near the end of every recovery period, I quickly sketch what I need to do for the next set of "good" days.  Only the barest of plans are laid.  Any promises I made go to the top.  My career takes a hit because the only one I will disappoint is myself.

I struggle and flail.  I tell myself any progress is victory.  I nap.

No comments:

Post a Comment