head, shoulders, knees, & toes….

Tingling toes, frozen fingers, blurry head and shoulder so sore. I seem to relate my ailments to the little diddy I sing to my kid everyday. He grabs my toes when I start the song which makes me smile, and has my toes trying to overcome the numbness. Neuropathy sucks. But most of these chemo, cancer side effects suck. My hands, though, are just killing me, and it really has made me mindful of those suffering with arthritis or the like.

This little diddy has me thinking about my body in general. I am 37 years old and worry that this cancer bout has/will age me by ten years at least. I was always fit, happy with my body, never really struggled with self-esteem in this department even when I have had issues fitting into my skinny jeans. The vanity of this upsets me, because as I have said, my longevity means so much more, yet I am just not quite ready to feel almost fifty at my age. I thought I had a few more bikini years in me, even post baby. Okay okay, I know what I sound like and so what. (Even after my scar post, I guess we get to have ups & downs.) I have worked hard at keeping trim, keeping my outer side pleasant to hopefully match my inner side, so I feel I get to worry a little bit about what the hell I will look like when I am done being a cancer patient. The Gods willing…

I have questions about this head, shoulders, knees, and toes:

Will my spine be okay, or will I be hunched over when I age? Can I ever get a pedicure again?! Will my liver ever stop pushing my other organs around like a bully at the playground? Will my eyelashes return to their full glory? Isn’t it enough to be lopsided, one boob and all? And the one boob, what shall I do, can I ever get reconstruction? And, I am super worried about my bones. How will they weather this storm? Will my posture be compromised, can I ever practice yoga again? Or Kung Fu, will I be able to keep kicking cancer away with Shaolin? Or will I be limited in my activities? Will my heart be weakened, can I kick a soccer ball around when my kid gets old enough? What will be my post cancer me?

Perhaps I should just focus on having a post cancer me, head, shoulder, knees, toes and all.



29 comments on “head, shoulders, knees, & toes….

  1. exiledtyke says:

    You make many points which have been occurring to me lately as I meet the me I didn’t expect to come across for another decade or more. The balding head, the walking-frame posture and speed, the lack of strength to do things such as open a bottle easily, the loss of muscle and energy. They really aren’t who I want to be before I’m 60. Like you I don’t know whether I will be able to kick a ball about with my grandkids let alone go on walking or cycling expeditions with them and like you I know that pretty much however I will be when I come through this will be a damn sight better than the alternative. We will be able to work at everything else and show the world that we are the people we want to be and there’s nothing vain in that. You can do it.

    • jelebelle says:

      And so can you! Our fears are valid but yes, better to be a little weaker than not be at all. Here is to being around for all the kids and grandkids (and us) for decades and decades and decades.

  2. Violet says:

    These are all tough things — my eyelashes went totally haywire, then back to normal. I feel like I aged a lot due to the chemo, though people claim to not notice. The neuropathy made me crazy, but it comes and goes. I’m just hoping for a semblance of my normal life. An ability to shave my legs without passing out.

    I wish all good things to you, too, dear. Some of these lines we’re developing are badges of honor.

  3. Beautifully written…the little ditty was one of my son’s favorites as well. I echo Violet “I which all good things for you.”

  4. carolecluer says:

    Thought this, sometimes I still think like this, I guess its easier to worry about the small stuff like wrinkles rather than the really scary stuff. Mostly I worry about both. Thank you for letting me know I am not alone

    • jelebelle says:

      Indeed…though I was told to not sweat the small stuff these days. Easier said than done! We are not alone in this….thank you for reading and being apart of this community, sharing our voices and experiences. Be well…

  5. I keep telling myself that I will be like the 6 million dollar man: Better than I was before….better….stronger…faster. (Maybe you are too young to remember that t.v. show:) First of all, I will hopefully be getting the boobs of a twenty year old after reconstruction (although now I sit here with blisters from my radiation treatment). I have also taken up yoga and will resume running, but this time I will be running for my life. Mabye I am just kidding myself, but I do plan on being a BETTER me than before cancer.
    Cancer Warrior

  6. billgncs says:

    You will be graceful and supple again. The yoga will make you supple and balanced, and focus on the soft of Kung Fu ( Tai Chi ) if you have it, and the circular motions will build your strength and grace.

    And most important, great heart will always shine.

    • jelebelle says:

      Thank you bill 🙂 yes…I have been thinking about tai chi a lot, maybe soon. This “navy bean” drug seems easier, so if it works, perhaps I can get some life back in me! Thanks for your great heart.

      • billgncs says:

        I studied Kung Fu for about 12 years and taught Tai Chi until an old horse riding accident forced me to get a hip replacement which ended that phase of my life. If you master Tai Chi, it is not only good for health, but a very effective unpredictable fighting style.It is a bit like a moving meditation.

      • jelebelle says:

        Wow, you have many an experience. I love the philosophies behind kung Fu & tai chi…a calm fight, it is how I approach this cancer beast.
        You have inspired me to practice (if the doc okays it)

      • billgncs says:

        One thing you can do, is lie or sit quietly, close your eyes, regulate your breathing and then in your minds eye run through your forms, doing every move with perfect execution and balance. It helps establish muscle memory.

  7. I worry about all the same things! Some days I’m really mad about aging and going through menopause so much earlier than normal. It’s really great to hear that I’m not alone.

  8. When I tell people that I felt like I aged 10 years after chemo, they give a soft laugh thinking I’m totally joking. Those of us who have gone through it, know the reality of the effects.

    I think reflecting over your life and your future is part of the healing process mentally. I am 3 years out and I still have fears that pop up that I didn’t think on before. Makes me thankful I can handle it bits at a time. Otherwise it would be too overwhelming.

    You will do better over time and you sound like someone who doesn’t mind working for a fit body. I have faith in you.

  9. I know exactly how you feel – it is a total attack on your girlie – and we are “supposed” to be grateful for life and for being cancer free as that happens, which we are…but we still have to feel like we have been mutated – no matter how great our surgeons were. Whether people talk about it or not, it’s an attack on our girlie.

    Great post !

  10. Cara says:

    After chemo induced menopause, I feared I would never be the same. I’m happy to report that almost three years out, I feel great, have all my strength and endurance back and almost all the weight is back off. I needed to take a hard look and ask myself, was I really doing everything I could do to get back to the old me. The answer was no, and once I owned up to that, life changed. This is a crazy ride, both emotionally and physically, hang in there, it really gets better!

  11. There are so many worries and questions aren’t there? Just know you are not alone. Day by day – so cliche, but so true.

  12. Just wanted to add, I really like the name of your blog – “Keep the Calm.” I think that’s what we’re all trying to do.

  13. You’ve generated lost of interest here…it’s a hot topic for girls who want to continue to look and feel hot. I think we all struggle with these troubling thoughts when we are diagnosed so young. The only consolation I see is that we are not alone. I try to use what I’ve learned to help others, and I see you are doing that, too, keeping the calm for all of us. XX Jan

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