Chemo no 6

It’s all over now. My last chemo, thankfully, was a couple of weeks ago. It’s probably not the final one ever but it’s the last one for a while. Maybe for months. Hopefully for years. I’m so happy to be at the end of this current course of treatment. I’ve now had 35 chemo cocktails in total, I think, most of them over the last two years. To not have to face the prospect of that evil stuff, like that above, dripping into my veins is wonderful.

I hope the break is long enough to get some hair. It’s still a shock to see my bald head. I really miss not being able to tie it back. Yes I could do that with some of my wigs but it’s not the same. Anyway I’m not really into wigs at the moment. Wearing a wig takes up precious energy. Instead most days I wear a soft hat. It’s much more comfortable and doesn’t seem out of place at this time of year.

But to celebrate chemo no 6 I wore my favourite wig to hospital. It’s the one you see me wear when I’m occasionally on television. I now have an impressive collection of them however my work wig is the one that I love wearing the most. Despite this it still has no name!

I always like to try and look smart when I go for treatment or consultations. It gives me back a tiny portion of control, knowing that I’m not too ill to wear make-up and a dress. If I look well, I feel better. I feel worse when I don’t make an effort. Cancer forces you to give up so much of your identity that you have to cling onto what you can.

Chemo 6 was totally unremarkable. I saw my consultant, The Professor. It was the best kind of appointment as there were no test results to be told about. We ran through all the side effects of the past few weeks but there was nothing alarmingly awful. Just standard awful.

For this treatment, mum and my aunt Rose came along. To keep them entertained I sent them out on missions. First to the pharmacy, now thats always it’s an adventure which tends to take ages – finding the place and then waiting in the inevitably long queue. After picking up my prescription I asked them to go in search of a jacket potato with melted cheese. They were successful on both counts.

I then slept for a few hours. Probably the most interesting thing was eating a baked potato in bed in the afternoon. It was the first time I’d had eaten something hot while having chemo. The day really was that dull.

The nurses stayed late to ensure that my treatment got finished. I ended up being the last patient to leave the ward. Parts of it were already in darkness and the cleaner had started his evenings work. As I walked out my spirits lifted. I had a dizzy, drunk, fuzzy feeling. The potent cocktail of super strength drugs and steroids was acting like the rocket fuel, giving me the boost I needed to get home.

I felt so wired and that we started our journey by bus. It took us through streets that have become so familiar to me. Past the school where I used to play netball matches for the BBC team and then along a road to the sports centre where we used to train. The outdoor court we used was next to a row of football pitches. It had a concrete canopy as it was just below a busy fly-over. With such a stark, urban setting, it always felt like the set for a trainer advert.

The bus stopped near the training ground and a sporty looking woman got on. She was dressed in the kind of kit that I used to wear for netball. As we travelled further away from the hospital I smiled to myself. I realised that this was a tantalising glimpse of what my life after chemo could be like.

15 thoughts on “Chemo no 6

  1. Brilliant to read your update Helen – keep well! Have just blogged about my first round of chemo, knowing I have five more to go. Don’t know how I would cope if I had 35 in prospect!

  2. A really evocative piece, Helen. I sensed your relief, exhaustion and reflection on how things once were, but your strength and courage shines through and I really hope you are now on your journey to a full recovery and a bright future. All best wishes xx

  3. Congratulations on your accomplishment – every day is a victory. Here’s for a better 2014.

  4. I hope and pray it’s your last for a long, long, long time Helen. Good on you for getting through this and smiling at what could come next, away from the cancer.

  5. Good to have a positive story today and hear that this episode of Chemo is over. I was in particular need of good news as I am in Kyiv and need as much positive vibes as possible. Fingers crossed for a good report card. I am sure you will looking rather lovely in your netball skirt when you return to playing !

  6. A great day! You have walked away from the hospital, out the door, don’t look back, no turning back. The only way is forward now. Every step forward is a step away from the pain and misery and the noxious cocktails.

    It’s looking like a beautiful day. Proud of you and thanks for making my day.

  7. A positive day!! Let this be a long long break from Chemo. Look to the future now and the only way is forward. Sending you my best wishes xxx

  8. Wonderful news. I really hope its not too long until you are playing netball again and your hair is in your face!!!! Best wishes for a healthy, happy future.

  9. Hope this is the last one for a very very long time and that you recover from the effects of it really quickly to allow you to enjoy life after Chemo soon

  10. Well done Helen, we do take things for granted, thank you for putting things in perspective. Your journey has been a long and tough one, you are one strong woman, well done and thank you so much for sharing so much.

  11. I remember that feeling after chemo, especially in the latter days of treatment, when you start to buzz with the flood of chemicals in your brain. In the evening of the day of my penultimate chemo, I had arranged to see a very famous author (whom I know personally, but had not seen for over 20 years,) at a local event. I was so hyper and spaced-out on the chemicals that I was like a super-charged lunatic talking to him. Of course, the sensation was very temporary and I quickly fell to earth…. Well done on getting through! I believe it takes more than chemicals to do the job. Bloodymindedness is a factor too! Here’s to some hair!

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