Chemo#6

Despite a busted thumb, Chantal, my friend the flower girl, offered to drive me to hospital in her van. Although she looked like she was the one who needed treatment and not me. Chantal apparently dislocated her thumb while doing some extreme gardening. Who knew that potting a plant could be so dangerous!

Before chemo we met for lunch at a local pub. There we spotted something unusual on the menu – homemade tonic water infusions. They were kept behind the bar in giant coloured glass bottles with labels written in biro. Designed to be served with gin, the tonic had been infused with things like celery and lemon, cucumber and mint, green tea and pickled ginger.

Tempting as a G and homemade T sounded; I knew that my body would soon be awash with poison so thought it best not to try one. What I didn’t realise is that it wouldn’t be long before I’d get my very own infusion.

It’s been another tough week with plenty of side effects. An almost constant nose bleed, mouth ulcers and a sore throat. Oh and of course, tiredness. A few days ago I felt so shattered that I wasn’t sure if I could make it out of the living room to bed. I desperately wanted to lie down but I feared that if I stood up I’d collapse. Thankfully I did make it to bed without any drama.

An afternoon of deep sleep later and I was feeling better. I didn’t think much more of it. I try not to dwell on the awful stuff. I’m glad that I still have options even if that means a bit of pain and getting through lots of bloody tissues.

There are some side effects that are easier to hide. My hair is just about starting to fall out, again but because the chemo is weekly I shouldn’t lose it all at once. While I still have some left I’m enjoying not wearing a wig every day. My hair is super short hair and when it’s cold outside I cover up with a hat. Even when there’s a beautiful blue sky.

As the chemo cocktail bar is well heated and then some, I left my hat in Chantal’s flower van. Before the treatment can start your blood is tested to check how your body is coping. I was told that I was well enough to continue but I’m low on magnesium. Ahh, that makes sense. It explains all the fatigue.

As always I was hooked up to a drip and promptly went straight to sleep. I woke up just as the chemo finished and was given another bag of clear liquid. This was a magnesium infusion. It wasn’t in a fancy coloured bottle or quite as nice as a proper drink but hopefully the effect of this hospital tonic should give me a boost that lasts for days.

Now that chemo#6 is over it means that I’m one third of the way through my treatment which is brilliant. I now know that I’m pretty much able to deal with the cancer-killing drugs. It feels like the right time to start focusing on the future. However long that may be.

So I’m finally finishing my List for Living. I reckon that I’ll do a post on my new list towards the end of next week. In the meantime I’m looking for some examples of inspiring bucket lists. If you’ve seen any great ones I’d love you to leave a comment for me. Thanks x

17 thoughts on “Chemo#6

  1. Bless you, Helen. Just received an uncharacteristic ‘I’m feeling sorry for myself’ email from my friend who has just had chemo 5. It’s only the third time in a year that she’s let it all get her down. I shall phone her now and read your post to her. She enjoyed your last one. Hope you’ve got your hat back!

  2. Hi Helen, its always good to hear from you although I am sorry to hear about the side effects you are suffering from. You have not mentioned your pre chemo steroids and I just wondered if you are still on a reduced dose or have you returned to a full dose again?
    It is always a pleasure to read your latest blog, thus I am eagerly looking forward to next weeks instalment.
    Take care Helen, Russ xx

    • Thanks so much Russ. This week I reduced the steriods to a quarter of the standard dose. So far so good but I’m not sure I’ll go any lower! xx

  3. You look fabulous! Not at all low on magnesium. :D The hat is beautiful. Somehow it gives a French feeling to the photo.

    Kisses and hugs and happy thoughts!

  4. You are definitely a good advert for those people of what Cancer treatment might make them look like Helen….you look fab and I would imagine people wouldn’t have a clue walking down the street! Your definition of a bad day rings so many bells though….really hope you don’t have too many of them! Keep going and I can’t wait to read your list (and pinch your ideas ;-) )

  5. I posted back in January after being diagnosed. I am 6 weeks into chemo with another 12 weeks and an operation to follow. I am trying to live my life as normally as I am able and you continue to inspire me. Lets keep fighting.

    Hugs

    Julie

    • Julie, lovely to hear from you again. Our chemos are almost in step with each other. Thanks for your kind comments, they inspire me! Yes let’s keep fighting hard.
      Helen x

  6. Hi Helen I would put visit Durham on your bucket list and if you do decide to visit Durham let me know and i will try to arange a small tour around the city on my cousins Trike, keep positive Helen and love that hat.

  7. Dear Helen,
    My bucket list is on-going and entails travelling to:
    Nazare, Portugal – January for enormous waves
    Grindelwald – to see the Eiger
    Santorini
    Annapurna trail and views of Everest
    The Northern Lights
    Burma – everywhere
    Keep on believing positive thoughts. Jacs xx

  8. Hello Helen,
    I recently found your blog. I love how you write about your experience and find myself shaking my head in agreement. (I was diagnosed Stage 3B in 2005 and had a recurrence in 2008. ) I live in the US and my list includes visiting all 50 states ( 16 more to go). In 2011 I crossed another thing off my list when I attended the Westminster Kennel Club Dog show. I hope you don’t mind that I put a link for your blog on mine( womenofteal.blogspot.com).

    Your Teal Sister,
    Dee

    • Dee,

      Of course I don’t mind I’m honoured. It’s always good to hear from a teal sister :) Good luck with your fight and the list.

      Helen x

  9. Hello Helen, Being very proud of coming from Northern Ireland, despite its bad publicity, I think you should put visiting Northern Ireland on your list for living. A walk across the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is a must. The scenery is breathtaking along the Co.Antrim coast. Also a visit to the seaweed baths in Newcastle Co.Down is a must. The sheer feel good factor is just incredible. Get a twin bathroom, bring a friend and open a bottle of bucks fizz – “soooooo good!! Dine in the Vanilla Restaurant, Newcastle and you will be hard pushed to find nicer food or friendlier staff. If you have decided on a long weekend a visit to Belfast City Centre where you will be able to enjoy traditional irish music or jazz is well worth the time. A more friendlier place with plenty of fun will be hard to equal. Best wishes and positive vibes for whatever your list includes.

  10. Just love that you call it your “List for Living”!!! I have the dearest friend who is fighting a battle of her own with Peritineal Cancer. I have accompanied her on several of her “dates” with magnesium and chemo drips. She is just as awesome as you are! I am sending you my love today ~ long distance it may be! ~~karen~~

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