Rather than go quiet for the next couple of weeks, and as this is my last chemo session, I though I’d do a day-by-day account in a single post.
How I feel can change so much in a day, let alone a week. And if I feel like shit, writing isn’t always what I want to do (a four-word update reading “I feel like crap” or “sick of this shit” is hardly great reading). So this way I can share how a full cycle feels, without the pressure of having to write too much.
I’ll update it each night and publish every few days. Here’s the first five…
Felt knackered before I even got out of bed – not the greatest start! But went to the hospital and didn’t feel too bad after the IV (sometimes I’ve just wanted to sleep, but today I sat there for about 20 minutes then went for a super healthy lunch with my Trainer. Came home via Coffee & Such, grabbed a slice of Orange & Almond cake and spent a productive afternoon on the couch… made three cups of tea (managed to drink half of one, slept through the others); caught a glimpse of some delightful Welsh houses on UK daytime TV (dozing through Escape To The Country and The Best House In Town); and woke up to the BBC News… and on that note, decided it was time for bed.
13 days to go!
Jesus I hurt. My whole body is stiff, rigid, like I ran a marathon with no training, warm up or cool down. I’m walking in pigeon steps, my shoulders feel like I slept on them wonky, my ribs ache when I sneeze, even the joints in my fingers are stiff and I have the mother of all headaches.
My alarm went off at 10 for me to have my meds and I’d JUST got back to sleep – typical! I hobbled into the kitchen and made a juice (I have to take the meds with food, as they’re too harsh on my tummy otherwise) and made it to the couch. That took all my energy! How I feel can change so much so quickly, it’s nuts… At the weekend I felt awesome – the phrase that kept popping into my head was ‘nearly normal’ and Sunday night’s blog update reflected that. But the return sailing was rough, and although I don’t get seasick (and actually find sleeping in rough seas quite therapeutic), the noise of the waves crashing on the deck outside my window was so loud I hardly slept. I had to be up early for bloods on Tuesday and chemo on Wednesday, so my body is probably just telling me to slow down. The aching in my fingers is actually worse in my right hand than my left, so I know it’s nothing brain-related. I’m also doing two chemos back to back (so less recovery in between), it’s my last one (always the hardest as your body is tired) and, after how it affected my body last time, I’m not taking the dexamethasone (usually prescribed to boost energy during chemo).
So whilst I feel like shit and it’s only day 2, I’m not surprised or concerned. My cannula hole appears to have healed and the bruising from Tuesday’s bloods isn’t too bad. I’ve got enough paracetamol to sink a battleship and plenty of groceries to make some healthy food, and my boss has just sent me some beautiful flowers! Today just went from rough to reality 🙂 Despite feeling lousy, these just put a big smile on my face, made me look outside at the sunshine, and hear the birds singing 🙂 Happy Thursday people!
12 days to go!
I woke up much like yesterday, as the Bonzos would say, I just rolled back the sheets and there I was… Still aching like hell from top to toe. But if I have to spend the whole of this chemo cycle on the couch, I’m ok with that as I know it’s my last. Having said that, I got up, had a shower and actually felt a bit better. But knowing my tendency to want to do more than I can/should, I stayed at home again and took it easy. Less paracetamol today, I cooked a ‘proper dinner’ (I tend to lose my appetite at the start of chemo, so prep and freeze meals to make dinner easy) and took the rubbish out – doesn’t sound like much, but a heavy bag and six flights of stairs was enough for me today! Just pottering around the house without each step hurting was an improvement on yesterday, so the stairs were a bonus! Tomorrow I’m going out – if only to grab some groceries and some fresh air. The Carboplatine should be out of my system by tomorrow night, but I also finished the anti-nausea meds today, so the next few days are (usually) the hardest. But I’m hoping that, having felt rubbish the past few days, I might be over the worst? We’ll see…
11 days to go!
Well I woke up feeling knackered, again. Wouldn’t say it’s worse but nor is it any better. That said, I promised myself I’d get out of the house today – don’t really feel like it, but there’s s fine line between rest and fatigue.
Since having cancer, I’ve learnt to listen to my body, and when I feel tired, I sleep. But fatigue can be a vicious circle – you feel tired so you rest, but it doesn’t help. Whereas if you get up and about, it helps fight fatigue. So it’s tough to know when my body genuinely needs rest, and when I should say ‘no, I need to get up and about’.
I’ve given my body rest for the past two days, and there’s an afternoon of rugby on tv, but I’m out of almonds, Greek yoghurt, berries and spread, so I’m going to venture to Albert Heijn. Based on how my knees ached going downstairs with the rubbish last night, this could be a slow plod! But no-one watches rugby on an empty stomach, I need supplies!
10 days to go!
I woke up at 08:15 – what’s that all about?! Still felt achey, not as much as yesterday, but after dozing in bed for an hour, I started to feel more achey, so figured that was a sign to get up and about.
My cousin was running a half marathon today to raise over £2000 for MacMillan Cancer Support. So as soon as I was up, that took over my mind, texting messages of support and receiving photos and videos from my parents and his, who were with his girlfriend in London watching the race. Once they got in position ready to snap him around the three-mile mark, they sent me a selfie… and I burst into tears.
At first, for a split second, I felt sorry for myself as I just wanted to be there with them. I love family get-togethers at the best of times, but when it’s cheering someone on at a sporting event, I love it even more, as there’s always such an awesome atmosphere – that’s one of the reasons I love sport so much. But I missed our family Christmas lunch in December, and I wasn’t there for Tom’s run today. So it made my cry. I then had a word with myself and said “don’t be stupid Rebecca; it’s not as though it’s your fault, it’s not possible for you to be there today, and Tom knows you’re supporting him.”
But when I thought about it again, I realised it’s been months since I got upset or had a meltdown. I’m not normally a tearful person, but one thing I’ve learnt in the past few months is that, even if what you’re crying about isn’t a big thing, it can still make you feel better to let that emotion out. And crying isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a release – just like screaming (only quieter) or hitting a wall (only less painful) or throwing a laptop out of the window (only less expensive).
And with that, I realised I didn’t actually have any tears to come out. The momentary ‘leakage’ did its purpose made me feel better, and the smile that appeared on my face was one of happiness; for Tom, having the family there to scream at him; for me, having my family there to send me pictures and videos; and for the people who will benefit from the money raised by Tom and every other competitor in today’s race.
As for my chemo; I decided the gales and rain were perhaps not the best weather for me to go out in, but nor did I want to spend the day on the couch again. So I’ve been on my feet a bit, sitting at the dining table on my laptop a bit, and in the kitchen with my iPad watching Ireland win the rugby. I’ve felt a bit nauseous today and at around 3pm reached for the ‘optional extra anti-nausea meds’ but then got sidetracked by the Rob Kearney on my iPad and by the time I remembered the meds, I didn’t really feel nauseous any more, so I haven’t taken them. I’ve had dinner (a proper dinner, rather than cheese on toast, which is all I’ve fancied for the past few days) and am about to sit on the couch for a bit before hitting the sack.
9 days to go – we’re into single figures!