Dealing with Cancer, #8 Post-Chemo

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.

Lesson #8

One month of treatment can equate to two months of recovery.

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  1. Gene…We’re SO happy, that in concert with others, our prayers for You have been heard, and are being answered !! WE will continue to pray for You, and all the Loved Ones whose lives touch yours…especially Marie, and your Beloved Family !! Tucking in LOTS of Extra HUGS to share with them All !! Keep up the good work, Gene !!
    LOVE YOU So Much, Bette and Ernie

  2. Morning Vitruvian Man. I meant to comment after your remission announcement. Unfortunately distracted. Yours, a very significant announcement indeed! I’m very happy to hear and thankful all your effort and suffering has resulted in such a positive result. Which I hope and pray continues to progress in that direction for some time to come! Some divine save my friend!

  3. Gene
    I continue to hold you in my heart in my prayers for your whole and complete recovery. I am back now in Arizona at the Desert House Of Prayer living area….. They threw me out of California, and I am roasting back in the desert with you.
    Be of love
    Paul Coury

  4. Gene,
    Thanks for sharing the details and information of your experiences, it is very helpful.
    Glad you are in remission and on the road to recovery. Will continue to keep you lifted up in prayer. All my best.