As I mentioned in my last post, despite everything going on, I was looking forward to having some time where I didn’t have to focus on academia and could finally focus on reading for pleasure. This post veers a bit away from my actual foray back to reading leisurely and a bit into what was going on in the rest of my life at the time of my diagnosis.
No longer a student
Prior to my diagnosis, I was a student. Within months of receiving my Bachelors degree, I was back in school to pursue a Masters.
The day of my diagnosis was actually the first day of school. I remember emailing my teachers to let them know that I would be unable to attend the first class. The only things I really knew how to do and focus on was student life: reading academic articles, studying, writing academic papers. It’s really all I had known since I started my Bachelors degree in 2009.
I had always loved reading for pleasure but spending so much time with my nose in academic texts, I preferred to spend my free time watching films or series.
Packing for an extended hospital stay
I made a few promises to myself when I was packing for my first hospital stay: that I would spend some time reading, and that I would make sure to get out of my pyjamas and dressed on days where I had the energy to.
To satisfy the former, I made sure to pack a book. If I’m not mistaken, it was The Girl Who Saved The King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson (spoiler alert: I didn’t actually get around to reading it until about 6 months later).
Too many emotions, not enough reading
The first month turned out to be too emotionally taxing to even think about reading. My mom arrived just two days after my diagnosis and stayed for three weeks.
Between learning about my illness, cherishing time spent with my mom and fiancé, and anticipating my sister’s arrival just two weeks later, there really was not any time to read.
I spent the majority of my alone time watching series and movies that made my heart smile, or listening to music that made me want to sing and dance around the hospital.
A sprinkle of fatigue
Before my cancer diagnosis, I was dealing with chronic fatigue (linked to a lupus diagnosis in 2013, but that’s a whole other story). Living with chronic fatigue really taught me how to listen to my body and to rest when needed.
But the fatigue that came with chemotherapy was unlike anything I had ever experienced.
I would sleep for 9 hours but it felt like I’d only slept for 9 minutes. Every muscle and bone felt tired. I could even argue that my hair follicles and nail beds were tired.
These feelings of exhaustion made it very difficult to hold up a book, let alone follow along with text in silence. Needless to say, many of my attempts to read turned into much needed and very well deserved naps.
This is the second of a series of posts about my adventures in rekindling my love for reading. You can find Part I here.