Chemo#14

Hooray hooray it’s the end of my chemo holiday. It was lovely having a week off. What amazing weather for a spring break.

After treatment was cancelled last week due to a bad skin reaction I was given some new medicine to take which was knock-out. Literally. I was so drowsy. But it seemed to have done the trick.

After a week off from the usually toxic drugs I thought that I’d feel great but it was only on the last day or so that I started to feel normal-ish. It was just like a typical vacation where you only start to relax, just as you’re about to go home.

I worked over the weekend and ended up reporting on the London Marathon for the BBC News Channel. I enjoy working as it’s time-out from all the cancery stuff.  Physically it’s hard but mentally it’s brilliant to step back into my old life. To a time before I needed all this treatment again.

As I was still on a chemo holiday I decided to try something that I’d been thinking about for while. I had a CFD – a cancer free day. I didn’t mention the disease and if anyone spoke to me about it, I just told them about the CFD. I didn’t mind talking about the chemo and how I was feeling but not any of the bigger things.

I’m coming to terms with my advanced cancer in my own way. I think about it a lot but when I’m not, I don’t want to talk about the horribleness of my situation. People want there to be a happy ending. I don’t like having to say that, no, I’m not going to beat the disease, it’s going to kill me. Despite all what I’m going though I still enjoy life pretty much most of the time. However these conversations can leave me feeling sad. A CFD is sort of like a mini-break for the mind. In the future I’m going to be having a lot more of these days!

On my way home from the BBC, I saw several runners on the tube. All skimpy lycra and shiny new medals. I too was exhausted. Considering how ill the treatment makes me feel, being able to do a shift at work is a big achievement. I ended the day tired but smiling. It was like I’d just done a marathon myself.

I was so glad when I was told that I was well enough for chemo to resume. The rash on my arm had cleared up nicely although we may never know for sure what caused it.

This week I had my chemo cocktail with Rache, my friend who I’ve known since we did A Levels together. She’s the one who loves a bit of fancy dress. I was delighted that we got an upgrade at hospital. I had my favourite side room without a view, as everywhere else was full.

Rache didn’t want to miss a call so she came prepared. She actually admitted that she’d left mobile number five at home!

My friend has visited me in hospital before but she’d never been to this part of the building so I explained where everything was.

Perhaps most importantly I pointed out that the hot drinks trolley was parked in the corridor, just outside the room. Rache said that she didn’t need to know as she doesn’t drink tea or coffee. I replied that I was showing her in case she fancied making me a drink, you know, the patient that’s lying in bed all hooked up to a drip!

We were having such a good time that it was easy to forget why we were there. It was lucky that we were in a private room on our own as we spent most of the time laughing. It was good way to end my chemo-cation.

9 thoughts on “Chemo#14

  1. Helen,

    Heard you doing the marathon report and it brought a smile to my face as you were back to doing “normal” things and I know how much, as you have said in the above, that means to you.

    Sending you best wishes,

    John

  2. A CFD: brilliant idea. I’m going to use it too!

    Greetings from the Netherlands, Hanneke (stage IV breast cancer)

  3. Amazing as always Helen. Hope you’re enjoying the sunny sun!

    Rosie xxx

  4. I like the CFD idea too – another stage IV breast cancer patient here – thanks Helen! Glad you’ve had a bit of normal-feeling time recently.

  5. please dont loose hope stay focus and god will take care of the rest my prayers as you fight this tribble disease james kenya

  6. The great thing about being a journalist is that you get to see just how hilariously ridiculous the world is, every day. Sometimes you might be too exhausted to laugh, but it rarely fails to at least make you smile, or roll your eyes in bewilderment.

    Helen, you know that only Hollywood does happy endings, but that won’t stop you having a giggle every day when you see the nuttiest things going on around you.

    Thinking of you always in the sandbox.

  7. I just found your blog (obviously, I was meant to), and I appreciate your wit, enthusiasm, honesty, and positivity. I am a 4+ year ovarian cancer survivor and have enjoyed CFD days, but I know that cancer is a big part of life. No matter what type of cancer, we are all in this together.
    God bless you.
    Karen Ingalls

  8. I’ve made every day that I’m not in the hospital a CFD now (I have stage 4 bowel cancer at age 31).

    It’s going to progress eventually, but why not enjoy my time and be “normal” while I still can? Regardless of side effects, I tell anyone that asks that I feel fine.

    Well done on continuing to work Helen. That’s what defines you – not the stupid cancer.

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