It starts out little, pinching, aching, then like someone kicked you. Each pain is different.
Meds make it go away to a certain extent, but it stays in the background.
Most people don't know that medicine has its limits in stopping pain. Yes, it can definitely reduce it, but something usually lingers.
You somehow learn to take care of, live and cope with physical pain. You learn which pain is "normal" due to chemo and which pain is out of place. Of course this system doesn't always work, but my trick is this: if a certain pain persists, disappears, comes back, and wakes you up at night you need to talk to your oncologist.
Waking up in the middle of the night. Crying. Scared.
1st thought: shit, the cancer has spread.
2nd thought: shit, fall asleep you need to get sleep.
3rd thought: I won't go to the hospital, I have chemo next week, this is supposed to be my "free", "feel good" days.
4th thought: shit, I have plans these next couple of days, this WILL NOT ruin them.
5th thought: shit. Shit. Shit. more medical exams; maybe I can just do an ultrasound???
6th thought: stop crying, call mom. No wait; I don't want her to worry. Call your sisters, wait no I don't want them to worry. Call your best friends, wait I don't want them to worry. Call your doctor, wait no I have an appointment next week and it's the middle of the night.
7th thought: try to fall asleep and calm yourself down. You are strong, you can deal with this. Listen to music, watch some TV, and eat a snack.
8th: actually send a message to your friend telling him you can't sleep and are in a bad mood. Get some relief from a few jokes.
Morning: I am tired. Put on a smile and pretend like everything is relatively OK.
Two days pass: you tell your mom, but add that you aren't going to the hospital since you have an appointment next week and no fever and gosh darn it; these few days will be your "good" days before chemo again. She doesn't argue. Almost three years have gone by and she understands your point of view. Sometimes the hospital can just wait for a few more days and there is no fever.
To keep your mind busy at least in the next few days: you work, find cute jeans and shirts, meet friends, go on a date (darn you are hot and smart but sorry, I couldn't care less about you at the moment), watch House of Cards. You wish that these activities would make everything disappear.
Best advice for dealing with fear/waiting: tasks that don’t require much analysis and keep you busy: aka my sock, underwear, and scarf drawers are meticulously organized. Also, don't stay with your fears alone. Talk to your friends and family but a bit with each one; don't drop everything on just one person. It helps them cope with everything too.
As for the pain, please "just be" nothing, or if need be, the beginning of a small infection that can be taken care of easily, and not bad cells playing games in my body.