Chemo day and cycle number 3
Thursday 16th July – I had 4 beers that night before chemo because I could! (opened with my new penis shaped bottle opener, a present from Mary Poppins) and I slept in until 7.30. Awake and animals fed I’m on my usual ½ biscuit, coffee and a fag. I always check my website stats when I wake up and 802 people viewed my day out in London post. Wow, I always check the countries too. We are in Japan, Ireland, Maldives (Ruth) Indonesia, India, USA and various other countries across Europe. This is due to the sharing you all do for me online. Thank you.
Friday, chemo day – I have to have toast as my main breakfast ahead of chemo. No yoghurts (my normal breakfast) until Steve does the shopping today, before starting work at midday. How can I possibly explain how crap you feel going into a hospital to have drugs that make you feel so ill. I will share a true story with you which I hope explains it, maybe not physically but certainly emotionally.
My mom’s friend reads my blog (thank you) and her friend’s brother had cancer and went in for his first round of chemo. After completing his 1st cycle of treatment he killed himself and the family never understood why. After reading my blog my mom’s friend said that it helped her understand the anguish of the treatment and that she was going to pass the website details onto the widow of this man. I’m comforted that my blog may in some way may help her find peace and understanding. It’s not that he didn’t love you, it’s just so hard to find the strength emotionally to take the drugs.
So I smoke as many as I can before we set off for the hospital. I pay for the reduced parking and today’s password is ‘Dairy Milk’ now after treatment I can imagine me telling my mom to shout “Cadbury’s” at the barrier man!
In the Sunrise suite on the 5th floor nurse Daisy is there as well as other now familiar faces. They always want to talk poo, bless them. I say that I’m fine but that I have found out by default that I’m Stage 4. I tell the nurses about my back pain as it’s been 5 days now and I know it’s not right. Rita and Karen will stop nagging me now I hope! Bless you. I ask about my blood results and they say that my blood counts are fine, “it’s like we aren’t giving you anything!” Excellent. I ask about the CEA markers. This is a way they track cancer in your blood. My levels have increased from 4.1 to 6.6 now I don’t know how bad that is but the nurse I spoke to said it was okay and not to worry. They send a message to Doctor Weaver to say that I’m in and have back pain, but he hasn’t been to see me yet and never does that day. Looking CEA up online later levels of 10 or 20 would be high so gotta take the positives when you get them hey.
I’m weighed and as before I have put on weight, either that or my shoes and hoody are heavier than the clothes I was wearing on cycle 2. Or do tumours weigh more? The nurses assure me it’s just the steroids I’m taking, great!
I met Archie who was there on a days work experience to see what oncology is like. He wants to change and save that world, bless him. Maybe one day someone like Archie will find a cure for cancer. I talk him to death and give him my website address, as I hope it will help him understand how hard the process of going through cancer and it’s treatment is.
Frankie is back for cycle two. I met her last time. She is at stage 4 and she attended the Sunrise ward with her hubby 8 years ago. He sadly lost his battle with cancer. She knows what chemo is like via her husbands experience but she had an adverse reaction on cycle 1 and spent 5 days in hospital. Chemo had to be stopped and she has to find the courage to come and try to take it again. Like Karen, how much strength of character does that take? Can you just imagine the fear?.
My mom has arrived to keep me company and she says she doesn’t understand the Greek economy. I am not going to go into that, so don’t worry but I do have to talk about the people with cancer over there. They don’t have an NHS as we do, they have been through years of austerity measures and it will only get worse for them all. How do you raise the money for medicine if you are not working and you have to put food on the table for all your family how do you chose? The drug companies that supply chemo drugs to Greece to be fair to them have not stopped supplying the drugs in the hope that one day the Greek government will pay them.
The last hour of chemo going in is just awful, the pain, the symptoms start and the knowledge of the misery to come for days. I’m asking the nurses how much longer as it nears the end, hassling them that the last few drops won’t matter. You just want it done, over with. I pretend to make the beeping noise of the pump finishing to attract the nurses attention. Mom tells me to behave myself and not to be a nuisance. I just want it over with and I start to get angry. Behave! really? – You have no idea what this is like to go through. I have decided that for the rest of my treatments in hospital I will go alone, apart from if Karen wants to come. Unless you have been through chemo you have no concept of what it’s like, so I don’t need to be told to behave!
Last flush finally through we head home. I make it through the door. I go to rest in my chemo gazebo. Steve comes out to see me “not good then hey”. I’m sorry but I’m really not in the mood for feeling strong, so I snap “no I’m not fucking good” and Steve’s reply just makes me even angrier “I’ll come back when you can be civil then” and I just scream to myself in my head FUCK OFF. Everyone just fuck off cos you know I’d love to see any of you go through this shit and be pleasant! I’m angry. I’ve gone 5 hours without a fag, this shit fed into my system. I can’t even hold my lighter properly as my hands won’t work. The flick on the lighter is made of metal so I struggle to light it, the tumour in my neck hurts and I’m in constant pain in my back and you want me to be civil! FUCK OFF.
I rest for an hour and then my saliva makes my throat go into a mini spasm. I try to sit up but the pain in my right eye is awful. I hold onto my eye as it feels like your eye ball is going to drop out. My eyes water with the pain which is also unbearable as tears are water and I can’t touch water. After 5 minutes I’m ok and decide that I want a drink. As I get level with the sink in my kitchen I shit myself. I can’t believe it. No warning, no feelings of wanting to go at all, I make it in to the downstairs loo and I’m covered in shit and I can’t touch water! Now you have to laugh sometimes but, as Rita would say “for the sweet love of Jesus, what the feck is this all about?”.
There is only me and Steve in the house as Rebecca is on her way home from work and Mom has taken Molly for a walk. So I do the bottomless naked walk of shame upstairs to get clean and changed. I bring my shitty clothes downstairs and put them in the washer. I go back to the chemo gazebo, ashamed and feeling so low. Steve comes to sit with me and asks if it’s now safe. I rant back about how I feel and that I have just shit myself. Steve goes and gets me Imodium and tells me of his stress at the supermarket as they left the tag on the joint of Lamb planned for Sunday, the beeper goes off and that he missed the lift to take him to the car park whilst he sorted it out. FFS really, those are your troubles. But I stay quiet.
I knew Rebecca had written her post and it was going up instead of one from me. When I read it for the first time I got to the 3rd paragraph and that was it I cried throughout the whole piece. So proud of her but so sad too as no mother wants to hurt their children. So when Steve puts it online for you all I read it again. Stupid or what as crying is not good on the first day of chemo and my eyes are in agony again.
Thank you all for sharing today’s post and for your comments. They mean so much to her and to my family. Some new people leave comments so thank you for the power rush as I have to approve new comments, for a brief moment ‘I have power’ love it LOL.
After tea, which I dread eating as what goes in must come out! Steve has a headache and is unusually quiet. I try to talk to him but he still tries to stay strong and not worry me, but we all know our men hey girls and I knew mine needed TLC. His day as I describe it in terms of worries wasn’t fair at all. He had to drop me for chemo and do the weekly food shopping, mom had agreed to be at home to put the shopping away and he had to start work at midday. She wasn’t there but with me so now he started to worry that I was okay, he logged onto work at 11.45 whilst trying to put the shopping away. Then he was asked to start work straight away as there was a big job on. The door bell goes and a neighbour has popped round to thank us for the gift we gave her as she had a baby girl this week. She has the baby with her but knew nothing of Steve’s pressing world of work, worry and food to be put away. Steve didn’t want to be unkind but couldn’t stay and chat. He has to worry about me and try to focus on work too, and keep running between tasks to get the chilled food away at least. He finished work at 8 pm and he has had enough of holding it together. Being strong for everyone and sometimes we all just need to vent. He hates what we are going through, seeing me suffer everyday, he dreads chemo day and the growing cancer inside of me. All this makes him snappy as it does me, so we take it out either on the ones we love the most or others around us that just piss us off. I don’t live in a prefect world with a perfect family but they are my perfect and arguing or being pissed off at each other is part of life. If I didn’t include it my blog, the blog to help you wouldn’t be real. So it goes in ‘warts and all’ which sadly hurts everyone too. I sat on Steve’s lap and gave him a love, fetched him a cup of tea and held him the best I could due to pain in my arms. Steve cried, not a full on breakdown but just tears of ‘this is so shit.’ My poor loved ones suffer so much and I can’t fix it for them.
I sit and check my work prior to it going online and I feel guilty. If I was about to start chemo and I read this post I’d be scared silly, but ‘warts and all’ it has to go in. When people ask what’s chemo like I say ‘it’s not fun’ but that’s all I say really unless I’m asked about the side effects. Then I go into more detail and now I can add ‘I shit myself to the list’ oh the joy of life, the indignity of it all. Living the dream Mrs HRH, living the dream!