Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Days like this

One week on from chemotherapy and it's been a strange week to be honest.  I've been up and down, both mentally and physically.

Day one

I slept badly the first night of chemo, but I suspect that was very much due to the steroids.  During the day, I was listless and a bit down.  I binge watched episodes of Better Call Saul (getting better every season) and then fell asleep on the couch for about an hour and a half.  

The next night I was quite tearful when I went to bed.  My head was telling me that my body was literally being poisoned.  It simply didn't feel psychologically right for me to have these toxins pumped into me which were aggressively invading my whole system from inside out.  I knew my treatment was going to nuke any stray cells and act as a sort of insurance policy but my head just couldn't accept it.  Even visualising sitting in the chemo bay and the massive syringes being inserted into the cannula for my next treatment made me feel quite distressed.  

I kept touching my hair too to see if it was starting to fall out but it wasn't. I became really upset at the thought of losing my hair, despite my earlier bravado.  My mouth also felt like the bottom of a budgie cage but the wonderful Oncology helpline recommended a specialist mouthwash for me, which helped.  Luckily, I had no sickness so at least the tablets were working.

I kept telling myself that I was glad that it was me that had the cancer and not my husband or son.  That would have been devastating and I honestly don't think I would have been able to cope if it was either of them.

I felt like I was descending into quite a dark place. 

Day two 

The second day was quite a bit better.  A couple of bandanas that I ordered online turned up, one in 'teal', the colour of the Belfast Giants ice hockey team.  I fully intend to wear that when I eventually get along to the new season.  

I also went to the Move More class and everyone was delighted to see me.  I had bags of energy, courtesy of the steroids, and reckoned I could have tackled the class ten times over.  

When I got home I did two lots of washing, hung it on the line, potted a load of garden plants and cooked dinner.  My goodness, these steroids are GREAT!*

Day three

I slept 10 hours and then fell asleep on the couch for another three hours.  Blimey, 13 hours in total.  I was starting to feel quite spaced out but I didn't feel ill or have a temperature.   I think I simply had had too much sleep.  

My sense of smell also seemed to have become very acute and the thought of drinking coffee made my stomach churn.  Crikey, life without coffee.  Is there such a thing?

Day five

I got tearful again and said to my husband, 'I want my life back.'  'Take it back then,'  he replied.  And you know what?  He was bloody right.  I don't want to be sitting around feeling sorry for myself, scared stiff of what the drugs will do to me, scared stiff of whether the bastard cancer will return.  

I got off my backside and went for a walk, had tea and a scone, bought a floaty, sequinned top and two new gorgeous fish for my pond at a bargain price.

Some beautiful flowers had turned up whilst I was out, but there was no message from whoever had sent them.  I later found out via Facebook that it was from some of my former colleagues.  Love you loads, guys.

Day six

I walked down to my local shops for some exercise.  The heat was getting to me.  I wore my new floaty top, a bandana to keep the sun off my scalp and some dangly crystal earrings.  It was only when I saw my reflection in a shop window did I realise I looked like I was going to tell someone's fortune at a funfair.  Ah, well.  I've always wanted to be an eccentric, middle-aged, English woman.

I mooched around a bit and ended up in the Marie Curie charity shop where I found a giant Louis Vuitton leopard print scarf for £6.00.   Hmm, nice for when I get my bald head, I thought.  Little did I know that the full price of such a scarf would usually be in the hundreds of pounds.  What a bargain.   

I have a feeling that charity shops are going to be my new favourite place.  I'm going to need to go back to work eventually to pay for all the stuff I'm buying.

My Louis Vuitton £6.00 bargain
In the evening, my husband and I went for a walk on Bangor seafront.  I had three scoops of Morelli's delicious ice cream.  A girl's gotta have a wee treat now and again.  Well, OK, all the time in my case.

Costa del Bangor
Day seven

The weather today has been very muggy.  I dithered about whether to do the Wednesday Walk as I thought it might be too much for me, especially as the Helpline had advised me to take it easy and not overdo things.  Sod it.  I reckoned I could always come home if I felt it was too much.

I stuck on my three inches of make-up, my sunblock, my NASA baseball cap and my bottle of water and arrived at the meeting point.  The group were so pleased to see me and my new Canadian friend (the one who I still cannot believe had read a book whilst Wayne Gretzky played - see 'Getting out and about') gave me a massive hug.  The leader of the walk also made sure that I was well looked after.

As we started to walk, we spotted a woman pulling a covered cart.  Now, people in Northern Ireland are incredibly friendly and can't resist a bit of a chat with visitors, and so we all had to ask what she was doing.  It turned out her name was Anna, she came from Idaho and she was literally walking the world to raise awareness of the need for clean drinking water.  She had done the USA where she said she had run out of land and so was now doing Europe, Ireland in particular.  Anna had only got off the ferry in Belfast a couple of hours earlier.

We all thought what Anna was doing was absolutely marvellous so we crowded around her to have our photos taken.  We then dragged her to see Van Morrison's house and Cyprus Avenue, made famous in Van's song of the same name.  She really seemed genuinely delighted by this diversion and we were too.  

Van Morrison's house

Good luck, Anna.


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*blah, blah, blah, usual common sense rules apply etc

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