I’ve had a few people ask for a little update on living with cancer, and I looked through some of my old posts, realized it’s been quite some time since my last update, so I thought I’d fill you in.

Day One:  Total Synergistics

Guess what?!
We are officially 1/3 of the way through treatment.  Yes, I know.  I shouldn’t get caught up in the number, but it feels kinda good to say that we have 4/12 treatments complete, and are extremely optimistic about our upcoming scan.

I know it’s natural to be curious to wonder what it’s like to live day to day with cancer.  What are the treatments like?  What are the side effects like?  And the one, in my head, I think a lot of people are wondering is…when are you going to lose your hair?

What’s it Really Like? 
Here’s what I can tell you.   Life goes on.  There’s a new sense of normal for us.  Doctor’s appointments, blood work, scans and tears are part of the routine.  It simply becomes part of life.  Not necessarily fun, but I really don’t mind hanging out with the ladies of UPMC Cancer Center.  They’re pretty awesome, willing to go the extra mile!  For example,  this past Wednesday, I told my nurse Cathy about one of my side effects- blurry vision.  It had been awful.  Basically, it left me in bed with my eyes closed for the entire day.  I couldn’t focus, hold conversations, watch TV or type on the computer.  It was so frustrating, especially when I was told, more than once, I had to deal with it.  Nurse Cathy came to my rescue, did a little research, and decided it was likely my nausea medication- not the chemo.  Easy change of prescription and I am a NEW person.  How awesome is that?!?!  Nurses > Cancer.  True statement.

My Favorite Easter “Peeps”

Overall, the chemotherapy knocks me on my butt for about two days.  Without the nausea, I suffer one side effect: fatigue.  Family and friends have been generous to cook meals, do some dishes, and help out around the house while I rest.  I think people have an idea in their head of what cancer will be like (I know I did), and really, it hasn’t lived up to the expectation. I swear.  Sometimes the cancer is just the devil presenting himself with words of fear but no real substance to back it up.

Oh and my hair is still on my head.  I was told it would be gone after the second treatment at the latest.  It hasn’t yet.  In fact, my nurse this week informed me that I have extremely strong hair follicles.   Sometimes, however, I do dream about it falling out, and the anxiety of it likely happening can be tough.  But every survivor I’ve talked to mentions how anti-climatic it is.  It grows back and it just isn’t that big a deal.  I often try to remind myself of this.  But the anticipation is the hardest part.

Instead of Why Me, Ask Why Not Me?
Sometimes the hardest part of living with cancer is being reminded of it’s presence.   I’ve found the best way to deal with cancer is to continue living. Stop asking, why.  There isn’t an answer.  When I was first diagnosed, I started putting limitations on the things that I wanted to do.  I stopped following my workout program, modified my workouts, and allowed cancer to suck the fun out of one thing that I loved.  Now, 2 months into treatment I feel pretty strong.  My persistent cough is gone, and I notice an increase in energy since beginning treatment.  I work out at least 6 days a week, except on treatment day and the day after.  Sometimes I get a little crazy and pull doubles!

One such limitation I made was quitting the 21 Day Fix.  I am not allowed to lose or gain weight throughout treatment.  My homeboy, my oncologist, prefers that I keep my weight as stable as possible. (If you are a woman reading, this please insert a sarcastic, ok, homeboy).  But it had me thinking.  Why not do a workout program?  I mean, sure, I may have to do a modification or two. But why would I allow cancer to take something away that I really enjoy? Why not aim for awesome results free from the scale? If there is one thing that I truly believe in, it is the results that can come from Beachbody Programs and Shakeology. So if a girl with cancer can complete P90X, why can’t you?

So, I’ve decided to do continue following my own meal plans and completing P90X3- Classic.  I’ve never been one to pay close attention to the scale, but I definitely can tighten and tone.

Day One is in the Bag. Stay tuned for results… oh and watching me punch cancer in the face too.

Katy Ursta