Living with the New Normal

changes-comingIn the cancer world we’re fond of reminding ourselves about coping with the new normal.

The new normal is what makes our world so different from what it was pre-diagnosis. In my life before cancer, I would never need to rest on a bench on the seawall after walking for only 10 minutes. But now sitting on the bench is the best part of the walk.

I would never think “a good day” would include a visit to the lab for blood-work, a doctor’s appointment and a stop at the fruit store for cherries. That’s a productive day for me. Bookended by several rests and a nap, that makes my day bearable with my current fatigue. It’s my new normal.

This morning I heard the results of last week’s CT scan. Some tumours were bigger, some smaller, some had disappeared. Some new ones. Overall stable. I reminded myself that this is the new normal… last year I was still waiting for remission to reappear but now stable is good enough. It’s the new normal… the ever evolving normal.

It’s been two months now that I’ve been on the clinical trial using rucaparib. I’ve experienced fatigue that sometimes sends me back to bed for a nap after breakfast. Is this my new normal? Tomorrow I receive my next month of pills, a reduced dose in an effort to reduce the fatigue and give me more of my life again. Within a week, I’m told, I will have my energy back. A new normal again.

When I’m languishing in bed mid-afternoon, awakening from daytime dreams, I sometimes wonder where I am on this journey. Have I seen most of it in the nearly five years since I was diagnosed?  Only 30% of  women with ovarian cancer live to see five years or more. Is this enough of a life, these half days immersed in sleep?

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2 Responses to Living with the New Normal

  1. Mary Louise Doherty says:

    Rochelle, I wish I could think of something brilliant to say to address this latest blog. You write so clearly about the experience. It is a waiting-game journey, we wait to see if our current drug will work, if it does work for how long, if not what will the next drug be, and always what will be the new norm. I have not forgotten the following quote in the Winnipeg Free Press January 1992. It was by a 28 year old young woman from Edmonton after she lost a leg (1979) and half a lung (1982) to cancer. “What can you do?” she shrugs. “How many times can you dance with the devil before he starts to lead?” It was poignant then, even more so now.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ahh, that devil is a dynamic dancer… flinging fandango, a joyful leap with the jitterbug, a tango tempo. Shall we enjoy the ride or fear falling?

    Let’s smile and dance to the end.

    All the best,



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