Lesson #8, the 2 to 1 thumb rule
One month of chemo treatment requires two months of recovery.
I am pleased that readers have found value in the series of articles we’ve posted regarding the cancer journey. Because of that positive feedback, I’m sharing a new experience with post-chemotherapy.
In lesson #7 – 5 weeks after my final chemo infusion – we discussed realistic expectations. We’ll amplify that here because even then I didn’t know exactly what I was dealing with. Last week, we reported that I’ve achieved remission and for that, I am eternally grateful.
The fact is, however, that I have not felt well for several months after that final chemo infusion. Two weeks ago, things began to move in a positive direction, most notably, I’ve had more energy. I’ve lost a lot of water and am approaching my pre-chemo weight. As important as this is to me, here’s why it should be important to you if you are engaged with chemotherapy or know someone who is…
It has taken me three full months to begin to feel a sense of recovery. I expected to begin feeling good a few weeks after my final treatment. When that didn’t happen, I experienced some depression and even doubt. Always on top of the situation, Mrs. tVM began her research and found an article by Dr. Shelby Terstriep at the Sanford Health Center in Fargo, North Dakota that put things in far better perspective. In her article, Dr. Terstriep writes,
“The rule of thumb I usually tell my patients is that it takes about two months of recovery time for every one month of treatment before energy will return to a baseline. Everyone is different but at least this gives you a ballpark. This is a lot longer than most people assume.”Dr. Shelby Terstriep specializes in oncology with a special interest in breast cancer, cancer survivorship and supportive care. She practices at Sanford Roger Maris Cancer Center in Fargo, North Dakota
It is much longer than I assumed. But I’m okay with that. Now I have a reasonable expectation, and that expectation – a year for the six months I was treated – is validated by the fact that I am gaining energy and hair and losing weight. I am returning to ‘baseline.’ Prayer and patience are as important now as ever.
If you are dealing with cancer, caring for a cancer patient, or supporting a friend or family member who is, keep the two-for-one rule in mind.
One month of treatment can equate to two months of recovery.