Chemo no 4

If you’ve never experienced chemotherapy then you should consider yourself incredibly lucky. It is really, truly, one of the worst things I’ve ever had to go through.

I’m now just over half way through my current course of treatment. What makes it so bad is that it builds up in your system. This cumulative effect makes each evil chemo cocktail more horrific than the last one. This stage is also tough because I’m still a while off from finishing.

It seems like ages ago that I had chemo no 4. It’s taken me more than a week to start to feel sort of normal.

My normal is very different these days. It means I feel okay. I’m not stuck in bed. I’m not throwing up. I’m not feeling too emotional. I can walk without too much pain. That’s my new normal.

Despite this I still quite enjoy the actual chemo day itself. As usual I had lovely friends there to help distract me. They came armed with some very thoughtful presents. So Chemo no 4 went quickly.

But within hours, I could feel that the poison was working. This doesn’t usually happen so fast. Over the next few days it got worse. It seemed like I was tumbling into a deep pit of misery. My body and my head hurt so badly. There was intense tiredness and nausea and all sorts of other horribleness. It took four days to hit rock bottom. It was a very dark, bleak place and it took far too long to leave.

Now, I’m out and suddenly it’s almost Christmas. When you go through cancer treatment you kinda dip in and out of life. You lose track of time.

Luckily I have something to remind me about 25th December. My next session of chemo is on Christmas Eve. It’s not the most festive of things to do. But I’m still here. And this time last year I wasn’t sure that I would be.

24 thoughts on “Chemo no 4

  1. Poor love, hope you’re feeling better soon. Every chemo has it’s own particular nastiness. Mine (capecitabine) attacks feet and fingers horribly so harp playing is very difficult, walking painful, and the higher doses causes ulceration of mouth, stomach and intestines. Horrible. Lower doses only get at the extremities, with slight mouth ulceration. But it seems to be doing some good. I hope you’re off chemo until after Christmas so you can enjoy Christmas. I’m starting my next cycle on Monday, hope my mouth is OK for Christmas Day. But we adapt mentally, knowing that the alternative is worse than the chemo. I wish you all the very best, and that the chemo is making your cancer feel much worse than you are feeling. Love and hugs. ((((XXXX))))

  2. Hello Helen, I know exactly how you feel when the chemo builds up over time and you do not know what time of day it is. I was resting when people were up and about then wide awake when they were in bed. It was like a rollercoaster ride, up and down. Carry on and get on with life the best you can. love and best wishes from Denise x

  3. Hi Helen, you are so inspirational and I have you and yours in my thoughts and prayers. Keep fighting my love. X

  4. Chin up chicken!

    I managed 8 of the scheduled 9 oxaliplatin infusions, before the side effects became too serious, but took the full course of capecitabine. I have still got a bit of numbness in my feet 4 years on, but I’m still here, and that is the main thing, as many feared that I wouldn’t be.

    Hope you are able to enjoy the run-up to Xmas, if not the day itself.

    All the best from Dunedin, New Zealand.


  5. Thank you for posting, although I don’t know you personally, your story has touched me and I am praying for you. When you have not posted for awhile, I wonder how you are doing. You are an inspiration. God bless you.

  6. here if ever u wanna offload. last chemo is thru for me. fingers crossed its stabilised or shrunk so I get a chemo holiday. xxx

  7. Passing on strength to you from Australia Helen. I appreciate your honesty so much having lost my brother after 33 rounds of chemo. I think of you often and am amazed that yout spirit is so strong despite the side effects. I hope Xmas brings friends and family together to help boost your fight. Anne

  8. Just had a week off chemo so I could spend time with my brother what joy! Back on Wednesday and Christmas Eve. God bless all those clever people who look after us even though your descriptions are all too realistic . The nights can be tricky, but waking up to see the little children make it worthwhile. Keep going, everyone !

  9. Probably more enjoyable things to do on Xmas Eve Helen!
    Here’s wishing you the best possible Xmas that you can have.
    Every time I read your posts I reflect and smile.
    Thank you.

  10. I have no idea how hard it must be, Helen. Hope you are able to enjoy Christmas. Big hugs. xxx

  11. “But I’m still here. And this time last year I wasn’t sure that I would be.” I ‘ve been saying this every year since 2005. I was in chemo for two Christmas’ – the holiday might not be the normal one but it will still be Christmas. God Bless!

  12. My memories of chemo are not the most fun, but I am convinced it helped save my life besides the surgery, nutrition, exercise, meditation, and laughter (the best medicine). God bless you and know you are in my prayers and thoughts.

  13. Even though I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, and feel I know you even longer, which of course I don’t, it’s only after reading your latest blog that the realisation of what you are going through has hit me. Don’t be too hard on yourself Helen. You really are a remarkable woman!! You are giving other women a voice to vent their anger at the injustice of it all!!! Take care. Sending lots of love, best wishes and happy thoughts. xo

  14. Oh Helen, it isn’t easy and I’m so sorry you are dealing with any of it. You have been such an inspiration but being an inspiration doesn’t take away from the garbage of having to do the hard stuff, does it? I’m wishing for you to get to the end of this treatment cycle and reclaim that beautiful sense of being able to feel okay. Keep back that cancer, keep it way, way back. ~Catherine

  15. Oh dear. My thoughts wil be with you over Christmas and will raise a glass to you and all the cancer survivors to whome you give a voice. I hope you can celebrate before Christmas Eve and when you are feeling better again after Christmas Eve. I wish you nothing but good for 2014 xx

  16. Helen- saw you on television tonight reporting from Euston Station- congratulations on being willing and able to work after such a rough time with your last Chemotherapy treatment. It shows you have terrific guts and determination. I wish you a peaceful Christmas and a better New Year-best wishes from another Helen

  17. Helen Thinking of you today.
    Wishing you a Christmas surrounded by you wonderful family and friends x

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