Constant chemo

It’s now 5 down and 13 to go. Or in chemo talk, I’m now into cycle 2. (Each cycle lasts 3 weeks.)

Thankfully the sickness has got much easier to deal with than when I last updated my blog. The vomiting has stopped – yay! I now take more tablets, some pre-emptively and it seems to work.

The exhaustion is still pretty bad. At times it’s bearable but it can be unpredictable and overwhelming. Occasionally when I’m doing everyday stuff I feel like I’m going to faint. This tiredness is so frustrating but I’ll take it over the sickness any day.

When you don’t know how shattered you’re going to be it’s hard to plan what you can do. There are the things that you’ve organised up to do ages ago, before the treatment started. You want to be able to carry on as normal but your body often has other ideas. I try to do what I can. I don’t want to miss out on life. I want to enjoy as much as I can and the chemo won’t stop that.

Mostly though my world has shrunk and I spend a lot of time on the sofa. As I’ve done during previous chemos I try to get up around breakfast time. I feels good to be dressed and have make-up on these days. Mentally I feel like this is very important. It’s much better to be out of bed during the day and I know this will also help my recovery.

IMG_1547One of the other nasty side effects is that I’m now getting a really bad taste in my mouth. It’s worst around the days when I’ve just had chemo. Fizzy sweets seem to help as does chewing gum and drinking tea. It’s hard to describe but it’s kind of metallic which makes sense as some of the drugs are based on platinum.

The steroids have again affected what I want to eat. They demand I eat crisps every single day. I crave fatty tastes and crunchy food. The steroids make me so very hungry. I wake up ravenous in the middle of the night. It’s like a painful ache and it’s like I haven’t eaten for days when it’s only been a few hours. However as I’m too tired to get up I just put up with the pain.

I’m getting more used to carrying around my chemo bottle. I hardly notice the bumbag. Now the sickness is under control I don’t look at it and feel nauseous. But it’s awkward and the thought that this is a continuous chemo cocktail which basically lasts for 5 months is quite freaky.

This course of chemo is hard but the main thing is that I now know I can cope with it.

14 thoughts on “Constant chemo

  1. Helen I admire you so much, the pain I am experiencing is nothing to yours.

  2. Sounds awful….but no choice is there. ? Keep going….and spoil yourself rotten , You deserve it. 👍🏼

  3. Helen, my thoughts are with you, i’ve been following your journey for over two years and find you so inspiring, keep strong and know you are in so many people’s thoughts and prayers

  4. Helen, you are such an awesome woman and a true fighter. Lesser mortals would have thrown in the towel a long time ago. Keep the faith sweetie. Lorrayne, Mitie Client Services, Frimley xxxx

  5. Well chick
    At least you have a new sofa to flump on !!!!
    Sending love and strength to you beautiful

  6. Helen, so crap that “Stupid” is making you go through this. Much love and a hope to see catch up soon. There’s always where I am… Xxx

  7. Morning Helen, keep up with it girl and looking forward to seeing you this Summer. Much love and good wishes. Jeannie Marshall

  8. If you like chocolate, I used to deal with the metallic taste by putting one large ( not the little ones) on the roof of my mouth and just let it slowly melt.nit was soothing in a funny way too. Good luck with this episode. Thank God the sun may appear soon and some warmth may help. Xx Sophie Keir

  9. After reading your latest blog post it was great to hear you are still working – heard you on R4 news today.

  10. Have you tried Starburst sweets (Opal Fruits in ‘old money’)? They really helped me with taste changes

  11. Helen – what a strong woman u r & I am sorry that u r suffering. So far I have only had the “hot chemo” poured in my abdomen (HIPEC), so I don’t know about this chemo bottle you mentioned (I will look that up). I hate the fatigue, it drives me nuts! I am sending you positive energy from Toronto. Take Care.

  12. Hi Helen!

    Ever since I started exploring your List for the Living with my university students in Bavaria and Poland, I have read your blog with interest and empathy, humbled by your perseverance in the light of the fleeting ease of my own life. I am sure you are aware of Oblomov’s blog, a jewel in (what she called) the ‘genre’ of literature by cancer patients. A diverse genre as ever there was one, but invariably penned with an urgency and honesty few other genres can deliver. Oblomov read ferociously herself, and her quotes are inspiring for everyone, like “Life is bearable even when it’s unbearable: that is what’s so terrible, that is the unbearable thing about it” (Geoff Dyer, Out of Sheer Rage). Oblomov also discusses Steve Sutton with a sharp set of insights. It does seem that something as blatantly unfair as what you are going through, despite colliding so relentlessly with standard, naive human notions of life never ending, also brings out the best in people. I hope you fully realise, Helen how valuable it is that you commit your perspective on life to writing. I wish you all the strength you’ll ever need. Thank you for sharing.

  13. I’m not sure if was the word brave or the word stoic, among many others, that were meant for you. x

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