The Funk Zone: Sinister Sinusitis with a Side of Prunes

A few months after my breast cancer diagnosis and double mastectomy and reconstruction, I started on the brutal road known as Chemotherapy. Though I had been finding Silver Linings at each step of my breast cancer journey thus far, it certainly became harder at this point.

After my 4th round of chemotherapy, I went into what I now refer to as The Funk Zone. It was at this point that I entered Isolation Island with Chemo Sobby as my constant companion. There was something about that 4th round of chemo that made me feel as though I had finally hit the bottomless pit of chemo despair.

A Deep, Deep Barrel

The scope and intensity of the these feelings of isolation and subsequent emotional pain fluctuated from day to day. What worried (frightened?) me was that I felt sadder and more distraught than I had ever felt in my life. I was majorly grumpy, easily irritated, and moody. I couldn’t concentrate. I couldn’t sleep, despite feeling more exhausted than I had ever felt in my life.

I began to wonder whether the treatment(s) were worse than the disease itself. I literally couldn’t bear the thought of another chemo. I was sick and tired of being bald. And I didn’t want to leave the house because I was so worried about my persistent nausea and vomiting.

And Another Thing…

I also had a wicked case of Sinusitis and, I’m sorry to say, constipation (ah, some of the many joys of chemo!). My nights were long- sleepless sore-throat-filled nights of coughing and flipping back and forth (to get the mucus to move from one side of my sinus to the other – Ewwwwwww. Trust me, I know).
Combine that with the fact that I hadn’t “done my business” (as our young daughter says) in about a week. I looked like I was seven months pregnant (and that, I was definitely NOT).

What helped me the most was my ability to put on my virtual nurses uniform (being a nurse was definitely a Silver Lining during my treatment) and assign myself some healthy coping mechanisms, including:

  1. Normalize feelings. The normalization of feelings goes a long, long way. Truly. Just the acknowledgment that feeling moody, irritable, unfocused and exhausted was normal (and to be expected during treatment) helped relieve my anxiety immensely.
  2. Articulate feelings. Even though I felt hesitant to share my Funk Zone feelings, the reality was that talking (with both friends and professionals) about what was going on inside made me feel a little less looney tunes.
  3. Exercise. Even the teeniest walk perked my body, mind and spirit.
  4. Guided meditation and restorative yoga. These were two of the complementary therapies that I used to help me rest, relax and rejuvenate.

An unexpected and more-than-welcome Silver Lining was the realization that being in the Funk Zone enabled me to recognize and engage inner resources that I never knew that I had. I hope that it can do the same for you.

What do you do when your are having an extremely challenging day?

Published on: March 18, 2014
About the Author
Photo of Hollye Jacobs
Hollye Jacobs is a speaker, nurse, social worker, child development specialist, and author of The Silver Lining: A Supportive and Insightful Guide to Breast Cancer. Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, she speaks publicly and writes about her experience on the award-winning blog
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