Diamond advice

I was all prepared for the pain that follows chemotherapy. I’d been hypnotised. I’d been given a white paper bag full of pain killers at hospital.

I’d even bought boots stuffed with wheat that you heat in the microwave.

But did any of this do me much good? Not really.

In the days after my last cancer treatment, the pain steadily increased. Chemo makes your joints hurt. Plus I had to inject myself in the thigh to boost my immune system. It helps the bone marrow to produce the all-important white blood cells apparently. It meant that the bones in my legs ached so badly, especially at night.

But when it came to it, I was too scared to swallow the super strong painkillers.

I know they probably would have done the trick but I think that I’m still traumatised by what happened in hospital. How close I came to dying. When I stopped breathing after having an allergic reaction to a drug to relieve the pain after surgery.

Now I was faced with taking something similar. So I chose pain.

Constantly being in agony changes your personality. A few days on from the chemo, and I was finding it hard to even talk about the pain without crying.

Then thanks to the Diamond Jubilee things changed. A bank holiday visitor came bearing a cake topped with red, white and blue icing and some simple advice. I shouldn’t just accept it. I needed to sort out the pain.

It made me realise how I’d become a shadow of myself. Willing to accept a situation that in ordinary life I would have considered unacceptable. So I made a phonecall and with the help of a chemo doctor, I changed my medicine once more.

Within an hour my body relaxed. That night I fell into a long, soft sleep. The best one since the last evil chemo cocktail.

Trying to get some rest at night has been hard. It seems like sleep fights you. Eventually, exhausted, you doze for a matter of minutes. Then the pain screams at you again and you’re awake.

Now all I have to contend with is a whole load of tiredness. And that is lovely. It’s a side effect that’s easy to deal with.