I got my sub-4…

OK, it wasn’t for running a marathon, just completing 6 sessions of chemo in under 4 months, but there were distinct similarities. The enthusiasm to Get This Done, along with a few moments of panic just before the start….”Oh shiiiiiit, can I? Should I? Am I really doing this?”. I could, I should and I did.

The first half (looking back, not in real time) was ok but keep in mind that looking back at events often gets rid of the shit bits and gets a bit rose-tinted if you got through it in one bit. Sessions 4 & 5 (miles 13-21 in my marathon speak) were hard. Come so far, so very far to go and that initial enthusiasm has worn off. It’s a bit of a no-man’s land. Grumpy seems to be my go-to emotion. No, I don’t want any more sodding sugary sweets, I want a bucket of red and a family size bag of crisps which are definitely not for sharing. Session 6 is mile 21-26, still grumpy but you know you’re going to finish. Crawling if needs be, but that finish line is yours. the .2 is getting hooked up for that last bag of clever chemicals to go in. When I got to the ward yesterday they were running 2 hours late! No chairs, and a queue. I pointed out a chair and the nurse said “Oh, but that’s one of the hard visitor chairs, all the treatment chairs are full. Do you really want to sit in that?”. “Hell, I’ll sit on your lap if it means we get this done faster, bring me the drugs”, at that point I’d have done laps of the hospital dragging my drip with me.

After weighing me the nurse seemed to think the hard chair was a better idea than her lap. Not daft those nurses.

I was maybe a bit bolshy but I’d already spent an hour arguing with Hotpoint that the new dishwasher they have failed to fix 4 times has clearly decided it doesn’t want to be a dishwasher, and could they just replace the fucking thing. I promise I kept the sweary words in my head, but I think they heard them anyway. “Model no.?”…REALLY? It’s not flagging up under ‘shit machine that belongs to the fat and bald emotional lady’? New machine is on the way, I hope it wants to wash dishes.  Teenage boys are willing enough to help, <snort, I can’t back that up>, but when you’re trying to avoid infections and bugs more than usual I’m just not that confident in their attention to detail. And…we have a sodding dishwasher for that very reason. Breathe Fi, breathe. It’s sorted now. Sparkle can return to my wine glass.

The delay in chemo meant school run was a close thing, Pat was tracking me the wonderful stalking app on our phones. That’s not scary, we’re so middle aged it’s a life-saver. We know which one of us is most likely to make it to school on time, or who is nearest a shop when there’s no wine left. Milk, when there’s no milk left. Or poppadoms. I made it to school, dashed home so the dogs could pee outside and not on the wetroom floor. It’s only one of them that does that to be fair, the other two glare at her in disgust, they have control. Merry spent a horrible first 5 years stuck in a puppy farm barn, I’m happy to excuse her accidents, she had a very late start to house training, and cuddles, and love, and every other thing a dog deserves. I detest puppy farms. No puddles though, well done Merry.

We then had to dash to the radiology appt. The essential machines aren’t in every hospital. My possessed sat nav kept circling the general area but refused to be pinned down on which way to finally go. Fuck it…late again. Flip flops are the most ridiculous footwear to try and run in. Slap slap slap along echoey corridors. The security camera footage better not end up on YouTube. The radio stuff is really easy, so fast. I know there might be side effects, but I’ll worry about those if they happen, no point borrowing trouble before it comes.  Just a base line this time, to pinpoint and tattoo the point they aim at. Tiny blue tattooed dots, like Phoebe’s Earth tattoo in friends. I’ve named mine Pat, PJ & Conal, I like to give things names.

Straight out of that appt and a sprint back home to get PJ to rowing. Made it, just. He got to try short oars, his disability means he rows with his trunk and arms, his legs don’t straighten or have much strength. This did mean that he struggled to clear his knees with regular oars as his legs don’t straighten enough..hang on, they might be called blades, I’m not 100% sure on that. Anyway, short oars mean he doesn’t have that problem. He wants his own short oars/blades. They’re not cheap so I said he can have one for his birthday and one for his Christmas, apparently I’m not funny. I just hope rowing kit is kept in the boat house. With 3 sports wheelchairs, one day chair, the basket ball hoop, the gym equipment, we’re out of space. Any more ‘kit’ and we’ll be getting rid of the sofas and watching tv from wheelchairs and weight benches. A para version of The Simpsons.

Cogs doesn’t start rowing until the holidays, he just wanted a Subway. I was happy to go along with that. His legs work so I won’t have to worry about para kit, just his love of stinky Subway sandwiches, they really do smell rank.

It feels so good to have completed another part of treatment, and that normal life is coming to the fore again. The journey isn’t over yet, but we’re keeping going. Just like everyone cheering at a marathon tells you to do, and from mile 13-21 I’m just thinking “what the fuck do you think I’m doing”. Grumpy cow.

Maybe one day I will run a sub-4 marathon. If I can do this, maybe I’m tougher than I thought.

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You miss them when they’re gone

I’m 48. Hairs had started to appear where they should not, my chin seemed to be a favourite spot. Well, it was, chemo helped there. If they grow back red and curly whilst my head hair does not, I want to know who I write a strongly worded letter to.

I wasn’t fussed one way or the other about nose hair, who gives nose hair a second thought? We should give nose hair more credit, it’s a vital part in the fight against pollen. I’ve only ever suffered from hayfever when running, usually past those great big, white, flowery, weed things. Those and carpet shops, I can’t breathe in carpet shops. We have wood floors, I can breathe in Wickes. Anyway, I have hayfever, “by dose dubbn’t work . I bought a nasal spray which promised to repel the nasty pollen and allow the oxygen to flow. DO NOT EVER SQUIRT ANYTHING UP YOUR NOSE IF YOU HAVE NO NOSE HAIR. You’ve all experienced a brain freeze? This was a brain sting. Don’t do it, just be a mouth breather and make your peace with that.

I saw the Dr about the next step of treatment today. He was either a radiographer or a radiologist, I can’t remember which. He was very patient, he wanted me to start treatment 4 weeks after my last chemo session (It’s on Wednesday for anyone who hasn’t been paying attention – do try to keep up). I had to explain that whilst I’m totally on board with any treatment which will let me hang onto this mortal coil…August is a bit busy. I could see his eyebrows rising (damned insensitive given my lack of those tools of communication). He was very kind and moved forward as far as I could make him. The only slight problem is I’m going to pitch up for one session dressed for a wedding, and turn up the following day probably looking a bit green and possibly carrying a bucket. It’ll give them something to talk about.

I do want to clear up something I’ve been asked many times. Scans. The tool by which treatment is deemed a success, or not. Have you had a scan? What do the scans show? Is it working? I’ve never had a scan, or been offered one. I didn’t think much of it, the cancer was removed when they did the mastectomy, chemo and radio is the ‘mopping up’. Maybe it’s because I’m nearing the end of chemo (did I mention that?) but lately the lack of a scan has kept popping into my mind. Had they forgotten to scan me? That could happen, couldn’t it? I called my oncologist, she and every other person involved in my care, surgeon, MacMillan nurses, chemo nurses, have always called me back on the day I’ve called them. I asked why I hadn’t had a scan, it seems to be an expected part of treatment from many  I’ve spoken to, granted not many of those have had breast cancer but most of us know someone who has. She explained that it’s not something they do when a patient is being treated for early stage breast cancer (in our NHS Trust, it may vary across the country). They would be quick to scan if I reported any symptoms, such as persistent pain or discomfort, but not until then. I almost called her back an hour later as I’d developed persistent pain AND discomfort in at least 15 areas. This is why I don’t ask for too much info and have a terrible habit of singing LA-LA-LA in my head whilst possible side effects are given to me. If I know about them, I’ll convince myself I have them.

Diagnosis, treatment, diagnostic tools…they are individual to each patient. There will be similarities but each case is dealt with on it’s own merits. If you find yourself on this journey, and I hope you don’t, ask questions as much as it suits you and don’t worry about what anyone else is doing. If you have a team you are confident in, trust their judgement on what will work best for you. In my experience every Dr and nurse I have spoken to has been more than happy to discuss what is happening at length. I’ve never felt rushed, or dismissed, the time spent has been driven by me.  Ask what you want to know, stop them before they freak the hell out of you.

Other than all that it’s been a busy week. Pat has been on a stag do to Cork, he and his stinky bag of washing are back. He had a most excellent time and enjoyed a well earned break. Apparently they all ended up just watching sport on the telly last night, albeit in a bar. Middle age has caught them all. The hen do is a couple of weeks away, I have to recover fast after chemo on weds, there is wine to be drunk and laughing to be done. I can’t wait.

Pat being away meant I was on basketball taxi duty. I swear my satnav is possessed. There were 3 exits on that bloody roundabout, not 4. I checked on the way home, there was no 4th exit, lying bastard thing. We got to the venue on time, just. But, here’s the real gem of wisdom for this post. If you have a sporty child, and that child doesn’t like if they lose, don’t play as well as they could have…if you’ve got one you know what I’m talking about. The ones you can’t jolly out of it. Stop at Dominoes on the way home and put the pizza box on the seat next to them, don’t suggest they eat it (that won’t go well as they are in a funk and will argue with anything you say) just leave the pizza to work it’s warm bread and melty cheese aroma. They will cave, eat the cheesey carbs, and all will be well again.

 

 

 

 

Sprinting in slow motion

One more to go. One more session of chemo and that’s this bit done with. Just one…so why is it not here already? Why am I still waiting? It’ll make me feel like I’ve been partying too hard for too long (these days that only means until about 1am) so can’t we just stick it in already? Apparently not. I have to wait 3 weeks…remember I said I was growing to hate 3 weeks? I’m past the ‘growing to’ bit. I’m there, glaring at it and throwing every 4 letter word I know at it. Just fucking get here already. I am DONE. I have things to do, to plan, to get on with. There’s a whole life waiting to be lived, a hen weekend (not mine, my schedule isn’t quite that busy). Wheelchair basketball championships to yell myself hoarse at, while Son 1 tells all his friends he is an orphan and he’s never seen that loud Scottish woman before. A wedding. Our holiday. All hanging on me hitting that last session absolutely on time. No delays. Time is moving so fast and so very slow. It is frustrating beyond belief. I downloaded a meditation app to try and chill myself out a bit. I told it to Fuck Off after mere minutes. I’ll give it another blast after #6, now is not the time to find my inner calm. It’s bolted for cover and is refusing to come out from behind the sofa.

Poor Pat. He knows that being still and taking it easy has never been good for me, and therefore him. The office is very busy just now….apparently. Wise man.

I don’t know what’s changed. I think because it’s taking me longer to recover after each session. I don’t like that, I was quite used to the 5 day hangover and then getting on with stuff. The hangover has stretched to around 7 days and even after that I am prone to needing an old-lady-nap during the day. That feels like admitting defeat, which makes me cross. Naps are for under 5’s and over 70’s. I am 48. I am not in nap territory yet, not unless we’re on holiday. Holiday naps are acceptable and enjoyable. Pat thinks I am insane, I don’t think he ever gave up his toddler naps though. At least he’s napping quietly now we have found A CURE for his snoring. Plastic plugs up his nose. You’d think that’d stop all breathing (and after 15 years of trying to sleep with my fingers in my ears that didn’t worry me as much as it should) but it doesn’t. A gentle rasp is all we hear now. The dogs are worried, they check on him often , but I think they’re happy too.

Chemo hangovers come with cravings, that was a bit of a shocker. Mini poppadoms. That’s all I wanted to eat. It was like the Hula Hoop and Haribo pregnancy cravings, one for each pregnancy not both at the same time. That would have been weird. Someone needs to make all spouses, partners, significant others, friends, family and everyone connected with a person going through chemo that their cravings are every bit as important as those of a pregnant lady. Coming home and saying “They didn’t have any” or worse, “I forgot”, is not acceptable. There will be consequences and they will be going back out again, to as many shops as it takes. They will not be coming home again without poppadoms.  If a person on chemo tells you they fancy something, don’t turn up at their door without that thing in your hand. They’ll cry, or they’ll make you cry. Either way it won’t go well.

Other weirdness this time included sore toenails. All ten of them were in more discomfort than they were after I made them run a marathon with me. What chemical weirdness makes your toenails hurt? Any why only this time? Is each lot of chemo directed at a different part of your body? We’ve done head, shoulders and knees so this time it was toes? What the hell is #6 going to do?

The good news is my hair appears to be peeking above the parapet and braving a return. It’s very fine and fluffy, so much so I didn’t realise it was there until I looked in the mirror and squawked at my head…I have a 3 o’clock shadow. It’s not coming in red which is a bit sad, but I am very glad to see it in any colour. It’s looking a bit white… I look like the oldest Rugrat in town.

You need friends

 

You might think you don’t, but that is just plain crazy thinking. Independence is commendable to a point, and in certain situations, but nothing can pick you up or calm you down like good friends.

It’s not even one friend, I have different friends who are invaluable for different things. Some are amazing cooks, a skill I’ve never really got to grips with. I can’t even plan a weekly shop. If I shop hungry then I buy what I want to eat that minute, something I can scarf down in the car, then realise I’ve been pushing a shopping trolley. No germs there for my battered immune system to worry about….much. Happily crisps and chocolate would seem to be excellent immune boosters. If I shop when I’m not hungry I get too bored to carry on after 10 minutes and leave with 4 tins of beans, a multi pack of Frazzles and an enormous box of cornflakes. I look at properly loaded trolleys, ingredients from which wholesome and nutritious meals are made, and wonder WhereTF people learn to do that. Son 2 has even decided he now likes chicken, since the kind my friend cooks isn’t dry. Thank you C, make your bloody own dinner. There are friends who drag you out when you’re in a funk, ones who let you ramble on in self pity when I’m quite sure they’re hoping you just shut up sometime soon, but they never say that. Friends who know just what to send to make you smile. Friends who are family too, who are looking after you even though they’re going through the shite with you. Those are the ones who usually get the worst of it, when your stress levels are up and your guard is down and you just explode before you actually, well…explode.  But, small disclaimer, sometimes I’m yelling at you Pat because you need yelling at, don’t go discounting every rant as chemo related. It’s not. Years ago you had some sort of mad moment where you thought asking me if I’d forgotten to take my tablet (I was on anti-depressants then), whilst I was in full flight was reasonable. If you’ve forgotten how that went our neighbours probably haven’t. I can’t remember what it was you’d done, but it was definitely something.

I’ve got brilliant friends. We don’t all see each other that often but they’re always there on social media when I need them, or escape weekends when we manage to pin down a time when none of us are taxi-ing children to very important things they must go to or their lives will be ruined forever. Working our lives round children’s social lives is not easy. When did that happen? I don’t remember mum and dad having to plan 14 weeks in advance to find a weekend I wasn’t doing something. I’m going to regret writing that that when mum reminds me of the gazillion things I expected to be taken to and picked up from.  Still, they chose to live on a farm 5 miles from anybloodything.

However, yesterday was one of those rare days when it all came together. Remember the regatta I was freaking out about? It was brilliant. The sun shone, people in boats did all sorts of clever and amazing boaty things. I’m still baffled how anyone can manoeuvre those long, skinny, boats. Turn them round with great huge oars, in a river full of other long pointy boats, and line up in a holding pattern like planes circling Heathrow on a busy day. Slowly moving towards the start line and not causing a massive crash. Then they row backwards as fast as they can and don’t smash into things, or each other, it’s all very impressive. Son 1’s race did not go how he wanted, we all thought he was amazing but he didn’t win so he was furious with himself. It’s what he does, he’ll keep trying, and being furious, until he wins. Life is easier when you accept that that’s just how he is. Telling him you’re impressed at anyone who doesn’t fall off such a narrow boat goes down like a cup of cold sick, just so you know…..

#2 son is a little younger, and not so competitive yet. That’ll probably change, and then I’ll need twice as much wine. If they’re ever racing each other I might have to torpedo both boats.

Even then other friends popped up to help, to take children on fast and scary rides that I am too much of a woos to go on. Pat did take them on The Cage, whilst impressed I was also worried. Pat doesn’t do spinning, the teacups leave him green and heaving. He can do rollercoasters with ease (Ugh!), but not spinning.  He remembered the dogs needed letting out as soon as the ride finished, so he could go home and avoid any further spinning. It was the first public outing of my wig too. I thought that maybe it deserved a day out, and a regatta seemed a fitting launch (see what I did there?). Pat had been telling me not to worry, he’d seen something where a test with a leaf-blower had shown how securely a wig stays in place. He watches some odd stuff. Thing is a leaf blower does not spin a person round, bounce them up and down and jolt them from side to side like the Waltzers does. You can’t jam your head back either, because The Wig starts to move, and the more you scream (in terror that your hair is about to fly across the park and traumatise whoever it lands on) the faster the Waltzer boys spin you. There was no putting my hands in the air, my hands were firmly clamped to my head.

I haven’t laughed so hard in ages. Proper belly laughing until you are in fear of pelvic floor failure, which somehow makes you laugh even more. The boys were laughing just as hard, it’s been too long since I’ve seen them do that. £3 per ride seemed bloody expensive, it was actually very good vfm.

Afterwards hunger set in and the old people’s ears had had enough of the fairground music, we all came back home to check on Pat and the dogs.

My wig looks like one of those long haired guinea-pigs with the tufty hair. We’re keeping it away from the dogs until I work out how to groom it.

At least the washing up wasn’t too much this morning…Capture

Session #5 this Wednesday. We’re almost there folks.

Thank you my wonderful friends.

Pass me the Sharpie

I spent a long time looking in the mirror this morning. Pat’s been doing the morning school run since I started chemo, which is very nice of him. Before any of you imagine me lying in bed of a morning, enjoying a lightly boiled egg, fresh coffee and a pain au chocolat whilst the children quietly leave for school. Dream on. It just means I can shower after they’ve been thrown out the door, moaning about children’s rights and how bloody UNFAIR everything is. When they are Prime Minister (that campaign will be a fight to the death), things will change. They won’t make school last so long. Weekends will be 4 days long. No homework. PE every day. Given that their policies are very similar I did suggest they could work together, they weren’t keen.

Anyway, this means that I have Time To Shower. In peace and quiet, if I remember to close the bathroom door to stop our weird spaniel sneaking in and licking my ankles. Fair warning to anyone who might stay with us, close the door.
So, I was staring in the mirror thinking something looked odd. Apart from the bald head and chubby steroid cheeks. I look…lopsided.

My right eyebrow has thinned out more than my left, and in true Sod’s Law style, it’s not just thinning, it’s shortening from the end nearest my nose. I’m about 1.5cm out of synch. Symmetry really is a big factor in how you look, those magazines aren’t lying. I need to find a beautician who can draw my brows in, but gently. I’m not keen on the fuzzy felt look so popular right now, especially when my fringe is no longer here to soften the look. Any of you any good with a light brown Sharpie? Sharpie seems good, nothing washes that off, I have 2647586 white school shirts proving that point.

I don’t need this right now. Son 1 is rowing on Saturday. In a regatta. The regatta rules sent me into a flat spin. There are dress codes (no specific mention that women must have hair and eyebrows, but they might think that’s a given), picnic pitches to buy (just a bit of grass, the picnic is not included) and men must be in suits. Pat is IT, he doesn’t wear a suit unless he’s going to an interview or a funeral. His idea of smart is a t-shirt less than 10 years old. I seriously considered loading the boat with bricks for the time trial, or making him take the weird spaniel as cox. That dog weighs a ton when wet.

We got a reprieve, since #1 is a para-rower he gets to get in his boat (there’s a term for that but I’ve forgotten what it is) from the other side of the river, where it’s not all muddy and stuff. That means we can stay in the non-dress code area. Thank you son with wobbly legs. This rowing thing is a learning curve, and I’m grateful for the chance to watch and see before having to dive in. Not actually dive in, I’m fairly sure that would be frowned upon (especially if I wear The Wig, and it floats off down The Thames). Stay away from the Prosecco, stay away from the edge, grow hair and eyebrows, is my to-do list for the next one. If he doesn’t sink in this one. Oh, “Don’t shout at me mum”. No shouting. The potential to fuck this up and really annoy Son 1 is immense, I might need some Prosecco just to take the edge off.

No, I don’t like this one.

You know when you expect to find something really tough, but then it’s not as tough as you thought it might be, so you get a bit cocky? Then the not-so-tough-thing flexes it’s muscles and smacks you round the back of your head and shouts “Gotcha!” That.

I wondered if sick was worse than flu, side effects of last chemo were pukiness and this one is flueyness. I thought it probably was. I can only assume I have never had the flu. Fuck Me. If that was the equivalent man-flu then I need to re-think my sympathy levels.

You have to watch your temp on chemo. If it hits 37.5 you’re calling the oncology people, and they’re sending you to hospital for blood tests. At 3am on Sunday morning I really REALLY didn’t want to got to A&E, but it didn’t matter how many times I stuck that bloody thermometer in my ears (I tried both, multiple times) I was going to have to call. Bastard bloody bollocks. I did feel a bit shit, like when you’re coming down with a cold. Shivery, achy, but these were known side effects of chemo, so it must be that. They’d probably tell me to have a drink and go back to sleep. I called, the nurse was amazingly chirpy for 3:30am on a Bank Holiday Sunday (I spent a while checking my temp). She ran though a host of symptoms, I had a few but thankfully not some of the more gruesome ones. I’m more convinced than ever that I’d be a really shit nurse, cough something up in front of me and I’ll be sharing the sick bucket with you. Gross. She checked with the Dr and they thought is was probably my chemo hangover, I should go back to bed and check again in the (proper) morning. Hurrah, no A&E for me. I positively skipped back to bed and settled down. All sweaty and smiley. No A&E do-do-do-do, clever me. The phone rang, I opened one eye and glared at it, 4am phone calls are never a good thing. “Mrs O, the Dr has been thinking about you and would like you to go to A&E. She’ll call ahead so they’ll be waiting for you. It’s safer to check you don’t have an infection”. Fuck it.

I know, I know. It’s for my own good and I should go, I know. I went, ok? I just wasn’t thrilled about it.

Got everyone up. Getting a 13yo out of bed at 4am is quite something, especially if it’s not to go on holiday. That’s the only acceptable reason for getting up at 4am.

Our local A&E closed years ago, so it’s a bit of a trek. We decided that they’d drop me off, and I’d call once I knew what was happening. Fast track or not, no-one gets out in under 3 hours once you’ve booked in. Dragging 2 sleepy kids in to wait was not an option, and you don’t call people at that time. Well, I don’t. I just can’t. Sorry.

I don’t think I’ve ever been in an A&E at 5am on a Sunday morning. If I have I’ve wiped the experience from my mind. I sometimes watched Jeremy Kyle when on a treadmill in the gym (because the dreadmill alone just isn’t miserable enough), and I wondered where on earth they found the people on the show. Now I know! Apparently there is kudos and bragging rights to getting punched in the face and needing to have your nose scaffolded back into shape, or your head glued back together because someone stuck a knife in it. A few beers, bit of a fight, then pile down to A&E to carry on the party. Top night out. The holding area before you get through to the treatment area was scary as fuck. I was fast-tracked, and the nurse apologised that I’d had to wait at all but they’d had a stab victim to deal with. That statement makes you check the cleanliness of the bed before you sit on it. I was fairly sure by this point that I definitely would have been safer staying at home. I sat on the edge of the bed and clutched my bag, feeling at least 93.

Blood tests done and they’re trying to find me a bed,  I’m getting IV antibiotics for sepsis. I slid off my perch in panic “I have sepsis???” “No. no. We do this for every chemo patient just in case”. “Oh, ok. Thank you”.

A staff nurse came in looking triumphant “I. Have. Found. You. A. Bed”, the poor woman looked exhausted, she was most definitely in more need of the bed than I was, and I was feeling really shit by now. This is never going to be a political blog but anyone questioning the work ethic of the frontline NHS staff needs to be pulling weekends and nights in an A&E unit. No experience, no opinion. Those people are heroes. If I’d been on the reception desk I’d have yelled that there was free beer outside, then locked the doors behind them, anyone left clearly needs treatment. So, a career in the NHS probably isn’t for me.

I was shown the bed and given a gown and asked to change. At that point nose-boy and his glue-headed mate and friends piled through too. “Yeah, do you mind if I keep most of my clothes on under this. Just for now?” “No, not at all. lots of people say that”. Seriously, A&E is the best party venue they can find? They thundered off to another part of the hospital fairly soon though, maybe someone did put beer outside.

Here’s where it gets slick though. Our harassed, under-staffed, knackered at 5am, totally amazeballs NHS. I had, in the space of 40 minutes, a drip flinging anti-biotics into me, an ecg done, a porter arrived to trundle me 50m to x-ray to check my chest was clear (I offered to walk, they said no) and I was delivered back to my bay to be given tea, toast and marmalade. I almost burst into tears at the sight of that tea and toast. They left me to doze whilst the ab’s finished going in.  My nurse, Nora, checked on me multiple times, the junior doctor visited me 3 times, and the consultant arrived at 8:15 on a Bank Holiday Sunday to tell me my bloods were fine, ecg fine and x-ray clear.  I could go. I had a prescription in my hand within another 15 minutes and had called Patcabs to come and get me. I was home just after 9am. Way before any of those people looking after me were, I’m sure.

So. I don’t like the side effects of this chemo. I know I’ve got 2 more rounds of second guessing my temperature. I might sleep outside. I proper yelled at Pat later that day because he hadn’t hoovered, clearly some of the drugs had messed with my mind and I was expecting voluntary hoovering to happen.

Except it had nothing to do with hoovering. I’m just being a petulant brat because I am fed up of being ill. I am grateful for the NHS, so SO grateful, and for the science that will keep me well. But, there is no getting away from it. I AM FED UP BEING ILL.

Pat will tell anyone I am not only a shit nurse, and receptionist. I am an even worse patient. Unless you bring me tea toast and marmalade.

Ice and lemon in your snake oil?

After diagnosis time seems to slow. Oh, the waiting! Some bits happen quite fast, but even a week can seem like an absolute eternity when you KNOW. Well, it did for me. I wanted to do something, help make it all get better faster. But..what can you do?

Disclaimer: I’m not saying ANY of the following things help. I’m not getting paid by anyone,  or getting any freebies. Damn it.

My first ‘thing’ was to buy cannabis oil. I heard about it from a friend, because it had cured her friend’s dogs cancer when the vets had tried everything ‘normal’. She spent a long time explaining that she wasn’t comparing me to a Staffy. Not even a very cute Staffy who is now healthy again. Where to get it though? I didn’t keep in touch with that bloke from school, and he doesn’t seem to be on Facebook. It turns out you can buy  it online, it’s legal if the whizzy stuff has been taken out. Who knew? It tastes disgusting. My gums haven’t bled since I started taking it though, so my dentist is happy. Which makes me happy as he’s stopped trying to sell me mouthwash that’s more expensive than a bottle of artisan gin.

Then the cans of deodorant went, because they’ve got bad stuff in them (so I’m told), but none of us want to stink. Another revelation, the alternatives work. Like with the regular stuff in cans, you just have to experiment until you find one you like.

Queasy drops. These arrived daily from friends everywhere. I was sceptical. Something that looks like Spangles (can you still buy Spangles?) will stop the stomach churn? Yeah, right. Well they did, and I’ve barely touched the proper anti-sickness meds I was given. I don’t like the green tea and lemon ones though, I hate green tea. If you like them let me know, I’ll send you them all.

Juices. And the powerful juicer required to mash the crap out of kale. You have to have kale, it’s the new wonder green. I strongly suspect it has no magical powers, but there’s a big kale swamp somewhere which a clever marketer has shares in. Fling kale, beetroot juice and a heap of other stuff in the juicer and feel smug that you’ve got the day off to a healthy start. Again, this generally tastes gross. My wonderful local running shop saved the day by giving me a bottle of Cherryactive to kill the kale taste. If it works for people who can run 26.2 miles in a stupidly fast time, I’m in.

Charcoal toothpaste, you all need to try this. For no other reason than you’ll be horrified at how much further than your sink the spit goes. That white toothpaste hides the splatter.

Olive leaf, used by a triathlete I know to keep her bug free as she spends so much time swallowing river water.

And a whole heap of other things. No idea if any of them will help, but they won’t hurt and didn’t break the bank. So, if it keeps my head in a better place, that’s a good thing. It’s something to do whilst you wait.

I stopped short of onions placed all over the house. The dogs would eat them and then puke, and that’s not helping anyone. Also, I’m not sure I want to live in a house that smells of onions. I prefer a nice diffuser with something flowery in it.

I’m sticking with my regular snake oil too. Red wine is full of those anti-oxidant things. Guinness is good for you, not sure why but I’m taking them at their word, and gin and tonic, well the tonic has…quinine in it doesn’t it? I have no idea what quinine does but they got quite excited about it in an episode of Tenko. If you find that you’ve run out of ice I can recommend frozen blueberries instead, not peas. Frozen peas are for when you pull a muscle, and you slap the bag on the sore bit, not put them in your gin.

Try the charcoal toothpaste though, and recoil in horror.

Right, eldest son needs supplies for school tomorrow so I have to go shopping. I need a protractor, black pens, and bottles of gin and tonic. The last two are not for him. You knew that, right?IMG_5676