When I know what I want to talk about I sometimes start writing my blog posts on Sunday, but this weekend brought other challenges.
On Friday I had an appointment for a bone density test. It is a baseline test that will inform my oncologist when I start hormone therapy. It was easy and important for my future health.
Also, on Friday I received my first COVID vaccine. (YAY!) My oncologist cleared me for the vaccine any time after April 19th. My body finally felt ready for it last week. I’ve never been more excited for a vaccine in my entire life.
My excitement was tempered only by my concern for what it would do to my still healing body. I know that there have been side effects, but I wasn’t sure how my body would react. Getting the vaccine felt like hope.
Vaccine Side Effects.
Fatigue was the first side effect I noticed. It was expected and manageable. By manageable, I mean that I rested all weekend and fell asleep on the sofa early each night.
Another symptom that I had was muscle tightness and pain. This impacted my surgery sight exclusively. My chest was tight, extraordinarily tight, and so painful. Saturday and Sunday I was in a great deal of pain. Hot showers helped but I was still stiff and in pain. It was excruciating.
I was also very emotional. I cried more this weekend than I have in past few months combined. I read somewhere online that this was a symptom, but it’s not listed as an official symptom. Between the pain and fatigue, I probably would have been crying anyway, but this felt different. I felt like I was crying for no reason and I let it flow.
Last night, Sunday night, things changed. I went to bed early after falling asleep on the sofa, thank you fatigue. During the night, I woke a few times to use the restroom and to take some ibuprofen. Then, around 4:00 am, I woke up and my sheets were drenched in sweat. I felt like I had broken a fever but because of the ibuprofen I didn’t have a fever.
Then this morning I noticed that my chest muscles have relaxed a little and some of my worst swelling has improved. I still have a lot of swelling, but some of the worst of it has finally begun to lessen. What a relief.
Getting the vaccine was a relief as well. It’s the first step to getting back to a normal life.
This week I start physical therapy and I have my first radiology appointment, a consultation. It feels like I’m moving towards the next phase of my cancer journey. Moving past surgery and moving towards treatment.
It’s hard for me to believe it’s already May. Things have been moving so fast.
Lesson This Week.
Crying is a release of energies sometimes as effective as a salt bath. Tears come when we are sad, happy, angry, or overwhelmed. They even come when we have no idea what’s going on. Let the tears flow. Release the energy. Let it go.
I know it’s not always convenient to cry, like when you’re in a meeting. But when you can, let them flow. Release the energy and let the tears cleanse the soul.
Our bodies are extraordinary. They can heal from major surgeries and absorb a vaccine to create immunity at the same time. If we care for our bodies and honor their needs, our bodies will heal. They may not heal back to what they were before, but they can heal, and we can go on to live healthy lives.
I am honoring what my body needs most, rest. And it’s working, I am healing. What does your body need today?
It’s Your Turn.
Have you received your vaccine? Don’t let the fear of side effects hold you back. If I can do it, you can too.
And for the ladies reading this, do your breast self-exams. You, and your breasts, are worth it.