The past few weeks have been eventful to say the least. One minute packing your weekends to full capacity with fun, going for a scan, and suddenly finding yourself back on chemo less than two weeks later. What the holy shit has just happened there? I’m not sure if I’m still in denial, if I am so used to the concept, now I am an expert and can take it in my stride, but my first chemo day, in fact my second chemo day has come and gone, and in all honestly, it has had zero impact on my life (yeahy).
As I stated before the new drug I am on is incredibly less toxic to my organs, nausea is minimum and side effects are different and less cruel than the previous monster I was subjected to. Plus the time I am in contact with this drug is dramatically shorter too. So it’s a quick in and out, job done, see ya’s next week ‘I’m off to have a life’ situation, which to be honest suits me perfect because I got shit to be doing. I got no time to be cooped up in a hospital, I got fun to be having, more plans to be making and getting on with life. The fact that it is such a different regime to last time it is not near as daunting or harrowing. Truthfully if I had to go in again with a treatment plan like the last (5 days in hospital every 3 weeks, 48hrs on chemo), I most definitely would be struggling to maintain my composure, but I suppose at the end of the day you don’t know how you will react until you are in that given situation. I feel that this lighter treatment is another step towards the front door. I am sure they are so sick of me in the hospital they want to give me the boot and tell me never to come back. I second that motion, so just another couple of months until that happens for real now.
In fact it’s not so bad. You get to sit in a comfy leather recliner chair, bring a wholly blankie to wrap yourself up in, get fussed over by the nurses, a tea lady comes around often with tea, bikkies and sambos and that’s not even mentioning whatever sister/ friend you have brought along with you to be the slave. My sister brought me up a feed of fries, two of us munching away as if it was food after a night out on the town, taking ridiculous snapchats, cracking ourselves up. The other patients either loved or hated us, we weren’t too sure. My first session, I was of course a little anxious. I didn’t know what to expect. My only memories of chemo is not being physically able to lift my head of the pillow so no matter how much the medical staff told me I’d handle this well documented drug fine, I didn’t believe them. Feeling a little queasy beginning, purely psychological of course in anticipation of the looming nausea, I feared the worse. I am getting the cold cap this time, to try maintain the hair, so the majority of my time spent in the hospital is letting that do its job. So once it was time to hook up the treatment I was purely dreading what was to come, not only now but in the following days. What seemed like only a couple of minutes, it was all done? OMG what? So good, no nausea, slight vague feeling of dizziness just when you stand up. That’s all! The second treatment I arrived ready with books, knitting, films so it would go even quicker but I barely got to open my bag because one of my best friends came in to say hi. Two hours later, I was getting kicked out the door (nicely of course by the amazing nurses). Home time again, no side effects, and I didn’t feel the time fly by. We noted that during the first initial treatment last year there would have been very little point in anyone coming to visit because I wouldn’t have not been able to communicate. So Thursdays, if anyone is free to give me the weekly gossip pop up to St. James.
The cold cap just makes it!
I love looking at people’s reactions when they here ‘it’s back’. Some look at me all gloomy, some say ‘f**k it nare a bother on ya’ and some don’t know where to look. Right now I treat this disease as if it is a chronic illness. You don’t look on with worry about the neighbour with the diabetes, heart problems or Crohn’s disease even though they are as sick and probably more symptomatic as cancer patients. They need regular treatment, hospital stays but the stigma is not present. I am taking that stigma and giving it a right aul boot up the arse. I don’t consider myself sick. I get up, I write, I went to a match last Tuesday (after one treatment completed) and ran the warm up probably better than ever, I was at both Kodaline and Beyonce at the weekend, stood and danced my tree trunks off both nights, I just went and discovered a new cool wool shop close- by, I did the shopping, I made an amazing curry, I am going for a walk now to get fresh air; I am still me.
Okay so I have had 2/18 sessions completed. I ain’t silly of course it’s going to get tougher as I go on. I also got to be a lot more careful, neutropenia AKA low white cell counts and risk of infection are still a massive risk, as with all chemotherapy. It will probably be easy to forget that because I feel well. Last time I was extremely vigilant, ask the family, if I heard whispers of a bug I’d ban the culprit from the house for a week. I still need to wrap up, keep washing the hands, and just use my common sense, what little I have anyways. At the moment it is good, the doc saying I probably have a better blood results than her (just a shout out there for all the anti- plant based dieters there. What’s that about becoming a nutritional decrepit?) My biggest set back would be the exercise. I love my Zumba and not to mention Camogie? What to do… what to do… One part is saying, ‘go wan ya mad yok do it until you can’, and rational scared Sarah is saying ‘oh but you don’t want to burn out too quickly and end up back in hospital etc etc’. One of my best mates frequently tells me that I am so hard on myself and I push myself too much. Being honest the idea of sitting on that couch all evening makes me puke in my mouth a little, so going to training, even watching, taking part in what I feel I am capable of doing, that’s me being good to myself, that’s me going easy on myself and treating myself. It’ll be a week by week basis, see what I can do, if I’m up for something, well fantastic, but if not I’ll still be screaming on the sideline. My biggest worry at the moment is what clothes I’ll bring to Kerry for the weekend so I may scurry on and sort that out. Peace!