Round 1: Chemo 1, Aaron 0

Apologies if it’s been a little quiet around here lately. The R’s and I took a little time off and headed up to Maine for the last couple weeks. Well, to be more precise, I took a little time off. Big R had a two-week unpaid gig as camp director for “Camp Mama” (there’s that invisible caregiver work again).

Making a chair in Maine…

For the last two weeks, I’ve been learning how to make chairs with Reed Hansuld (@reedfurniture) and Adrian Ferrazzuti (@ferrazzutifurniture) at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport, Maine. If I’m being completely honest, though, just hanging out with these two characters was a bigger draw than learning to make a chair.

I only missed one small detail when I signed up for the class. The first week would coincide with my first five-day cycle of chemotherapy. Oh, and the dose has doubled from what I got during radiation. Ugh.

… while on chemotherapy

Because of a shipping snafu, I couldn’t take my first dose until Tuesday night of the first week. Wednesday came off without much of a hitch, but by Friday, I was really in the dumps. I was totally unprepared for how nauseous I would be, and I did a terrible job of eating strategically (eat small amounts, avoid my favorite foods, etc.) On top of the nausea, the fatigue was real. Sometimes I’d be forced to head outside the workshop and just lay on a picnic bench for 20 minutes. I’m sure some of my classmates (who would work late into the night) were befuddled by my lethargy.

(When) will I get the hang of this?

Here’s the hardest part – when I’m exhausted and just looking at food turns my stomach, it feels permanent. It is so hard to step outside of myself and know that in a week or two I’m going to feel “normal” again. That’s how incurable cancer really messes with your head. You see, some things are permanent, so it’s easy to slip into a mindset that accepts the crappy feelings as inevitable and unrelenting.

When we talked on the phone, my mom had a very helpful insight. She suggested keeping a journal (probably not this blog) of how I feel each day. That way I can remember what to expect and maybe even remind myself of when I’ll feel better. Great suggestion, mom! I think I’ll take this time around.

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