Friday, May 9, 2008

Life on the Edge

First, let me say that I am, overall, doing well emotionally, at least in terms of the cancer stuff. But I am feeling a bit overextended at work. It's a busy month anyway - was away at Univ of Oregon last week-end, I have one large and another smallish grant proposal due in the next two weeks, I have to do some reading and writing for a committee I'm on at NSF, and I also have to make revisions to an article by June 1. Then, Jeanne will be visiting soon and the week after that, I'll be participating in another symposium at Portland State. Hadn't intended to do either of those grant proposals, but the opportunities seem too good to pass up.

Something that I've begun to realize in the past couple of weeks is just how much on the edge I am. Another way to say it is that I have a delicate balance in my life. I do fairly well, for the most part. But I just seem to be knocked on my ass - pushed over the edge - lose my balance - fairly quickly - or at least a lot easier than I used to.

Last night/yesterday was a case in point. I spent the day with a friend - we drove to McMinnville and then had lunch and then we went to a nursery - we thought we might go to the outlet mall. I figured a day hanging with a friend would be fun and give me a change of routine. But I ended up feeling nauseous most of the afternoon and into the evening. I think it was due to motion sickness - I was the passenger and we ended up on some back roads that were curvy. Usually, when I eat, it goes away. It did for a bit, but then it came back. So, I incorporated some the strategies that my acupuncturist gave me, plus things that had worked in the past. These included eating, having candy/sugar, drinking peppermint tea, and wearing some magnets on accupressure points just below my wrist. I felt better by evening, but I felt slightly nauseous again this morning, so I've been wearing the magnets all day.

I also felt nauseous last week-end, after riding a bus up into the foothills of the Coast Range to go to a winery for dinner. By the time we got to the winery, I felt sick, but after eating I felt better, and then nauseous again on the way back to the hotel.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I seem to be getting nauseous a lot easier than I used to in the past. This has got me a bit worried for plane travel because I do have a tendency to get motion sickness on the plane, so I'm beginning to worry that the nausea might deter me from traveling.

Also, being away from home for two days last week-end got me out of my routine - it wasn't the activities so much as it was eating on a regular schedule, taking the meds, etc. I'm gonna have to pay more attention to that, I guess.

But to get back to life on the edge - last night, when I felt nauseous, I started feeling really discouraged because I wondered if this was something I was going to have to deal with for the rest of my life - and probably when I travel. I like to travel, but I really really hate feeling nauseous. I hated morning sickness when I was pregnant and the nausea with chemo was absolutely the worse.

So, to make a long story even longer - feeling nauseous yesterday made me more discouraged than I thought it would. And, realizing that this is going to be something I'm going to live with probably for the rest of my life - well, that sucks. It sorta knocked me off balance - and almost put me over the edge again.

Time for an attitude adjustment, I think. I need to stay busy, but make sure I get lots of rest, and try not to overcommit. I need to stop feeling sorry for myself - need to take a lesson in doing that from Liz Kreger at She seems to manage to talk herself out of funks - a good model for me.

Really, I am doing much better tonight. Went with my sister, her kids, and Eddie to see Speed Racer. I like the movie - the sets and the costumes gave it a cartoon feel. Then, we went to dinner, I took the kids to the arcade, and now Eddie's cousins are staying the night with him. They're occupying each other and I get to chill out.


Carver said...

Hi Dee, I'm glad you are feeling somewhat better. I think you are smart to realize you have to find the right balance and also know when something becomes too much. If you have to change plans so you'll have more strength for later, then that makes sense. I know it's hard with professional commitments, but you are going through a lot physically. I'm sure if you need to modify a professional or personal plan in order to stay home and rest that people will understand and if they don't, expletive deleted. Take good care of yourself, Carver

jeanne said...

I wish I had something useful to contribute other than suggesting you sniff on a fresh cut cube of lemon (got me thru the back-of-the-van-winding-roads-of-Mexico) and "I feel ya, sister." (Bring a couple lemons or limes and a paring knife in a little baggie.)

I gotta say, tho, I am really pleased you're considering applying for a Fulbright. Shoot me an email if you want me to send you my proposal! nyc jeanne

Dee said...

Hi Carver,
About striking the right balance - since I'd been feeling generally better, almost normal, and most of the side effects are being managed (i.e., I hadn't felt nauseous in awhile, I was starting to back off the sweet carbs, I haven't been getting mouth sores, my feet and hands are still dry and sometimes they want to crack, but they're okay, and I'm sleeping well), I more or less thought I could return to just about normal levels of activity. I guess what I realized is how close to the surface some of the side effects were and getting out of my routine and/or windy roads (which don't bother me too much unless I'm really hungry) made me realize that I'm closer to the edge, closer to experiencing the side effects than I thought. In other words, the cancer gods, such as they are, were reminding me that I'm still in active treatment. SIGH! So, yep, finding that balance again and remembering to keep to it is going to be crucial. And, you're right, most of my colleagues will understand ... need to remind that to a couple of them.

And, Jeanne, I would love to see your Fulbright application!! Never heard that about the lime/lemon trick - will have to try it on windy roads next time! I hope you're doing well after your chemo.

Thank you, both, for visiting!

mynameischarlene said...

Hi Deanna!,

Sorry, i'm not much for homeopathy (SP) but try some dramamine - for the movement induced motion sickness. it shouldn't conflict with all of the meds your on - but i'd double check that.