Thursday, April 8, 2010

I'm Tired of Feeling Tired

My low-dose maintenance chemotherapy began on March 24. Two weeks into the first cycle, I'm getting used to Revlimid again, after not having taken any since sometime in November. The side effects are mild: a little tingling in the fingertips; some constipation and general gut disturbance; a bit of rash on the face. Thankfully, there are no muscle spasms, probably because dexamethasone is not part of the equation this time.

Now that the immediate existential threat has retreated (although it continues to lurk like a black cloud just over the horizon), I am reduced to focusing on what seems, by contrast, almost trivial. For example: The most frustrating aspect of my current situation is the unpredictable duration and intensity of fatigue and weakness. Some days I wake up, having slept comfortably through the night, and after performing my morning ablutions and having breakfast, feel the urge to return to bed. But if actively resisted, the feeling often simply dissipates. I can now walk two miles (cane-assisted) without stopping to rest en route, and often without even feeling the need to rest afterwards. In fact I often feel better at that point than when I began. I still crash for naps at odd times of the day, but not as often as before. On the other hand, anything involving lifting and carrying any weight, or just crouching to reach something low, seems to take an inordinate amount of energy. It's not as bad as it used to be, but it still seems to be the single most prominent factor standing between me and a feeling of normalcy (or as close to normalcy as I'm likely to get). I'm considering returning to physical therapy to work this problem.

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