Chocolate, my sweet medicine

There’s one thing you can say about chemo – it’s certainly saved the best ’til last.

My body is now chock-a-block with the cancer killing chemicals and the pain has been an absolute nightmare. Far worse than the exhaustion and sickness.

It was all so different a week ago. I was on such a high, finishing chemo and putting the whole horrible cancer treatment behind me. The adrenalin got me through. Now the party is over and this feels very much like the hangover.

But as with a hangover at least there’s something unhealthy that helps to ease my pain – chocolate.

I’ve been getting massive cravings for great big slabs of the stuff. Well, any kind really, it doesn’t matter…..chocolate ice cream, chocolate fudge pudding, chocolate truffles. It’s all good to me.

Six sessions of the evil chemo cocktail means that my feet are always ice cold and that’s where the pain starts. A nasty tingling in my toes spreads into my ankles; it gets worse as it works its way up my leg bones and into my knees. It finally stops about half way up my thighs.

During the day I’m battling to stay awake so it has to vie for my attention. But when I do want to sleep it just screams at me. Last night it felt like there was a machine at the end of the bed trying to wrench my legs away from my body.

Since when did the side effects of chemo become some kind of medieval torture?

Following the treatment last week, this intense agony has been hitting me in waves. It’s been so bad that at times it’s almost impossible to walk.

With all this going on, chocolate and plenty of it, has made things feel a bit better. It also cuts through the metallic taste in my mouth that chemo leaves behind. But there’s more to it than that. Apparently chocolate does actually helps with pain relief too.

Considering everything I’ve been through over the past six months, I’m amazed that my body is still able to work out what I need and let me know. And that fact that what it needs right now is more chocolate is pretty good.

14 thoughts on “Chocolate, my sweet medicine

  1. Sorry the last one has been the worst. Surely, it’s all going to get better from now on, and that thought’s worth hanging onto. Oh, for a bit of normality… (and chocolate).

  2. Had some great cake last week in honour of your last chemo. Now it seems as a gesture of solidarity I shall have to eat lots of chocolate. I pray you’ll feel better and better as the days pass now. No more chemo. Sending you virtual hugs and love xxx

  3. Helen it’s been hard to write anything that’s not a cliche in response to your experience – and your pain, so I haven’t made a comment in a long time. Your experience has been horribly intense. Your words are very powerful. The strength of your character shines through. X

  4. So sorry for you H, the cure really is competing with the disease to cause you trouble. Wonder why it gets you in the legs? Could it be blood pooling there as it does when you’re not moving around?
    I’m guessing it’s the duration of the pain at least as much as the intensity that’s doing your head in. I get migraines and, up until a few months ago, as well as the actual ‘head-crusher’ episodes, there was a nearly constant ‘headache-about-to-happen’ pain, much less intense. But that was the one I most wanted to be rid of, because it stopped me doing stuff more than the occasional actual migraine (giving up my 8, 9, 10-a-day coffee habit did the trick in the end). I hope, as the cocktail leaves your body, you get relief. In the meantime, drugs!! And chocolate, of course, much better for you than coffee. Glad you have something to help you through this final trough.

    • Ouch that sounds very painful, glad that something so simple as giving up coffee (as hard as that must be!) did the trick.
      Most of the pain is in my legs because the chemo attacks your joints. Then the injection I have to improve my immune system makes my bone marrow work over time and that seems to be happening mostly in my leg bones. So all very horrible but nothing to worry about.

  5. my thoughts are with you Helen,and i know from my own experience with chemo what you are going through, I to had the pain in my legs, i also slept during the day as i was so tired,and could not sleep at night because of pain in my legs, i wish you well, and a speedy recovery, :-)

    • Thanks so much Jane, it’s very helpful to know that I’m not the only one. It’s so strange that it’s easy to sleep during the day yet as soon as you go to bed in the evening the pain gets sooo much worse. How does it know the difference between day and night?!?

  6. Helen, didn’t I tell you? After Eights :) Double combination of chocolate and mint – excellent solution to nausea!!

    Have been in hospital myself this past week & been reading your blog, working my way back through your archives. I started a blog in 2009 when I was in hospital for months and it was the best thing I could ever have done. To be able to share the hell and the survival as it happens is a great blessing –

    Hope this coming week brings your body some much needed peaceful respite from chemical cocktails xxxx

    • Yes I got a big box of After Eights – an excellent suggestion! They really really helped :) Hope your recent hospital trip went well. You’re right about doing a blog. I never realised that it would help so much. What’s your blog called? I’d love to read it. xxx

  7. Oy. I just finished your ‘last chemo’ post, so am very sorry to now read you’re in so much pain. Hang in there, you are making it through this no matter how much it sucks in the meanwhile. You’re getting there. And enjoy all that chocolate. Dark Chocolate is great for anti-cancer, I’ve heard. The body is choosing well!


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