Chemo no 73


Chemo is such a long hard slog. I’m now more than half way in but there are still far too many weeks to go. The drugs are working and my cancer is now stable which is brilliant. It makes the treatment so much easier to deal with.

Apparently I’m coping well. By this point most other women on the same regime take a break. I was determined to push through and get this finished as soon as I can. Although now I’m not so sure.

Part of coping with chemo is accepting this new reality. You can’t live life like you want to. But it’s so boring. You’re too knackered to do much.

One thing I do occasionally is to draw flowers. Like those above. Focusing on the tiny details of the flowers helps me to forget about the bigger picture.


The worst side effect is the tiredness. It’s just horrific and relentless. Most days I’m just wiped out. Often my body is exhausted but my mind isn’t. It’s frustrating. You want to do stuff, your brain tells you can do things just like you used to but physically it’s impossible.

The trouble is that I now have  a dangerously low level of magnesium. My latest blood test result for it had to be double checked as it was unbelievably bad. As my body can’t retain it and the toxic drugs only make this worse theres not much we can do other than regular mega dose drips of magnesium.

The chemo also has an impact on my already rubbish digestive system. I’m on a low fibre diet anyway. I eat hardly any fruit or vegetables. Due to all the treatment I’ve had my body can’t cope with anything which is too hard to digest but now I have to be even more strict. The other week I ate part of a peeled raw tomato. Bad choice. It made me vomit for a couple of days. I know it sounds ridiculous that something so innocent, something healthy can make me so ill.

Generally most people having the treatment are exhausted and this is made worse by the cancer killing drugs. Chemo is often a long, dull day sat in a room full of ill strangers. So it’s understandable that you do what you can to pass the time.

Phones are great for entertainment but recently everyone on my ward had to put up with a visitor playing lots of video clips out loud. At the time all the patients including me were trying to sleep but with each new clip I woke up. I’ve even sat next to someone who talked to a friend for half an hour with their phone on loud speaker. I mean seriously, do you think any of us wanted to listen to both sides of your boring conversation??

Please, please don’t put your phone on loud speaker on a chemo ward, use headphones instead. Otherwise you’re just being selfish.

Okay, rant over. Did I mention that chemo can also make me quite bad tempered!

16 thoughts on “Chemo no 73

  1. You really are brave Helen. I’m so proud of the way you keep battling. I’m not sure I’d be as good as you. Keep fighting girl, proud of you x

  2. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – you are amazing! I was ready to give up after my second dose of chemo! It was only my partner that pulled me through it. As for those inconsiderate people on the ward – they need to be told by the staff. You shouldn’t have to put up with that. As always, my very best wishes xx

  3. I can relate to your rant. Though the primary treatment for my CML involves oral medication, it does interfere with my immune system, and I require periodic megadose infusions of various sorts. I cannot believe how rude some people are in the chemo area — loud devices, visitors absconding with all the chairs. People seem to have forgotten the basics of etiquette. Now I use my earbuds, even when I’m not listening to music. Cheers!

  4. OMG Helen
    I feel lucky to still have my head on my shoulders after our catch up on Wednesday !!! I’m laughing at all the sounds of my text alerts !!!
    We could of course watch EU videos next time !!
    Oh but I’m so proud of my courageous friend
    You keep going and I’ll keep praying
    Many thoughts

  5. Good to hear from you Helen and I’m so glad that once again the evil chemo is doing its job.
    The flowers are STUNNING – can’t believe you drew them, you’re really talented at drawing as well as writing. Seriously, when I opened the post I thought it was a photo from your garden!
    Sorry about the noisy neighbours maybe they will read your blog and give you some peace.

  6. Hi Helen ………..I think you are fully entitled to ‘rant’, for Gods sake what is the matter with these people. So inconsiderate. Life goes on in Witney, with plenty of b and b guests. Fed up with the bloody weather but off to Spain for a couple of weeks in July, you know you are more than welcome to go out to my little place when you are feeling able. Sending good strong positive thoughts to you and love. Jeannie Marshall xxxxxxx

    ======================================== Message Received: Jun 18 2016, 05:40 PM

  7. Helen hold on in there, when you have a bad day think of Jan 2017 that will bring you through it X

  8. Rant away, good lady. In your shoes, with that person playing noisy clips, I’d be close to homicidal. The effects of eating that little bit of tomato is just gobsmacking, I’m so sorry. Sending you good wishes for getting to the other side of this phase of treatments x

  9. There is no rant, there is consideration, and you have a right to dignity and respect! You make me smile and then I want to help too – don’t be afraid to say what you see… We need to stand up, even when things get us down, it is how to take control -good luck!

  10. Underplayed rant, in my opinion. Not acceptable behaviour…Invidious disease needs TLC not irritants, sorry things are so ghastly at moment and, fingers crossed that toxic stuff breeds some level of better-ness!

  11. Hi Helen so glad that the chemo is working and your cancer is stable but it is tough on you with all the effects of the drugs and the irritants that are amplified when you are not fealing great, thinking of you

  12. Helen… You are not “bad tempered”. It’s just the “nicer end of a selfish you”… well as English is not my mother tongue, I hope this makes sense to you. All I want to say: you have the right to be as you are. Yesterday I tried to write a poem… about my overwhelming feelings. But I didn’t manage. I started with “… let your emotions pass like clouds in the sky. Sometimes they are rainy… sometimes they also let the sun rise behind them and send you a rainbow.” Wow… in English it really sounds better. :-) So I really wish you all the best.. and that your emotions are like clouds in the sky! I’m with you for a very long time and I’d love to read so much more, as you give me the strength to go on every day. All the best,.. get well soon!

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