A turn for the worse?

Something has changed. Following each session of chemo you’re really ill for a while and then the symptoms start to ease. I had thought this was happening. I’ve had a good day or two but now instead of getting better, it seems like I’m getting worse.

I suppose I should’ve expected this. My body is taking a pounding from the poison that I get every few weeks.

I think that I may have an infection or a virus. In normal life it wouldn’t be a big deal but my immune system is compromised. Once again I’ve called on the services of James Bond. But to be honest it’s the painkillers which are helping more than a fictional hero with a six pack.

My digital thermometer has become a close friend. Constantly checking my temperature has got a whole lot more obsessive. If it gets much higher then I have to go to hospital. I suppose that I’ve been luckily as my chemo has been relatively uneventful so far.

When I first started having this evil treatment I was given a couple of medical cards to carry at all times. If I need to go to A and E these tell the staff that as I’m having chemo I have a high risk of something called neutropenic sepsis which is a MEDICAL EMERGENCY. You know it’s serious when the NHS spells it out in capitals.

As well as feeling rubbish, I don’t look too well either. My eyebrows are disappearing. You never realise quite how important they are in framing your face until they begin to go. One of them is fading faster than the other. It’s almost as if I’ve been on a dodgy stag do and it’s been shaved off, right in the middle of the brow.

I’ve tried using make up to disguise this but it doesn’t look right. So I’ll have to get myself an eyebrow stencil kit off the internet. And I need some fake eyelashes too. Right now I barely have the energy to buy them let alone use them but one day I will.

That’s what is keeping me going. Not the fake lashes and brows although they’ll go very nicely with my new big blond wig. No, it’s the knowledge that I just have a couple more months of this to go.

It could be so different.

If I hadn’t had that random pain just after Christmas and if mum hadn’t insisted that I got a second opinion when I was told it was nothing serious then my cancer may not have been caught in time.

I wouldn’t have this luxury of moaning about how awful the chemo is instead I’d be fighting for my life. I know this nightmare will be over soon enough and then I should start to feel better. Hopefully by this Christmas my life will be back to normal and the chemo a horrible but hazy memory.

13 thoughts on “A turn for the worse?

  1. Sorry to read that there has been a hiccup in your progress! Of course, I am in danger of trivialising how awful things are, but that’s because I am really hoping that it’s just a small temporary setback. We may never have met, but I care a lot about how you recover! Lots of love, Simon.

  2. I’m glad to hear you’re keeping an eye on your temperature. Your body might be fighting off something if it’s not yet recovered. Just keep an eye on that temperature and get yourself to the hospital if it hits the magic number.

    So sorry you’re not bouncing back yet. As for the eyebrows – they’ll start growing back toward the end of the treatment most likely. When mine grew back in, the middle grew back first and I looked like an evil cartoon villain. But you just gotta laugh.

    You’re getting there! Keep going :)

    (P.S. My chemo finished just before Christmas – best gift EVER!!!)


  3. Keep going Helen, rooting for you. So many nasty summer colds about and I just hope your temp doesn’t reach the magic number but you know what to do if it does.
    Amazing that you have the resilience to count your blessings, including your lovely mum. Well done you for listening to her :)
    Take care,
    C x

  4. I’m so pleased your mum nagged you to get a second opinion.

    Get well soon. Continue looking forward to those healthy days which are just around the corner :)

  5. Helen, I honestly would never have noticed your eye brows if you hadn’t mentioned them. Looked completely normal to me. So sorry to hear you’re not feeling good. Know that we are right beside you, cheering you on. With much love. Gxx

    • Hey Gill thanks :) That’s good make-up for you! It’s just like joining up the dots although there are less and less of the dots now xxx

  6. Dear Helen, I don’t underestimate the scale of the challenge you are being put through. My big burly father in law (also a beef farmer) did not have his last chemo for bowel cancer as his body simply couldn’t handle it. You are doing brilliantly so far and you obviously know what to do if you need a bit of extra help. Christmas will be here before you know it and no one deserves a better Christmas than you. Sending love xxoxx

  7. First of all – hooray for moms who do know the best! :)
    Thank you for writing this blog, even though you are very exhausted. Your optimism and will power are unbelievable! And the mental strength… I have always believed you are one of the strongest people I know and this just proves it. Sending you lots of love, happy thoughts and some positive/funny mental images: cuddly, little white lions, certain writer who lulled us to sleep at the office, a drive on a pavement in a silly little Yugo cabrio with a certain Government person… :)))

  8. Keep on going, Helen! You can do it! It will soon be behind you.
    Lots of love and luck.

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