I quite like Mondays. It’s the start of my super short week. I’m now so incredibly tired that my week only lasts for two days. Basically I feel sort of normal on Mondays and Tuesdays, and then the treatment begins again. Weekly chemo feels relentless. I’m spending most of my time in bed. I just want it to end. Last week it nearly did.

A couple of days before I was due to have chemo#13 I thought something I hadn’t thought before. For a few brief moments I decided that I didn’t want to continue.

I felt so ill and frustrated by the horribleness of it all. It’s not just the toxic drugs that are so awful but all the other stuff too. Last week I spent around 12 hours over three days at hospital with scheduled appointments, procedures and tests.

When I woke up the next day after the wobble, my symptoms seemed to have faded a little. I wasn’t so exhausted and I knew that really didn’t want to end it early. Even so I came up with a list of pros and cons. I realised that there is only one thing that matters, it’s first on the list and outweighs everything else.


*It’s hopefully helping me to live longer

*Chemo makes me feel that I’m doing something to fight the cancer

*Somehow it makes my skin glow. I know this is totally ridiculous but everyone tells me that I look really well when I actually feel so ill…


*Extreme fatigue, most days I’m close to collapsing

*Lots of random pain all over my body, especially in areas that I’ve had surgery

*Fingernails and toe nails hurt and feel like they’re going to fall off

*Fingertips are a bit numb, meaning I’m clumsier than normal

*Painful pins and needles in my feet and hands

*Breathlessness, I can’t really walk and talk

*Painful to walk and I can’t exercise like I used to

*It’s making my hair fall out

*My eyes are watery and sticky as I only have a few eyelashes are left

*Constant bleeding nose

*Comprised immune system and I could end up dangerously ill if I get an infection

*Steroid induced mood swings


*Disgusting taste in my mouth

*Dizzy spells


*Always starving thanks to steroids

*Chemo weight gain

*Mouth ulcers and sensitive teeth

Now that’s some list. The treatment is truly horrific. You need to be totally convinced this is what you want. I am but it doesn’t stop me from sometimes pretending that it’s not happening.

Before chemo#13 started there were lots of things I had to do at hospital. They required me and mum to navigate the confusing corridors which link the mass of buildings together. On our way back to the ward we made a break for freedom!

Instead of following the signs we left the hospital for an outdoor detour. The morning sun warmed my skin and I felt amazing. For a moment I wasn’t a patient. I was someone out for a walk with their mum, trying to convince us both that we weren’t lost.

As we weren’t that lost, it was soon back to reality. It was the first time I’d faced the toxic drugs after questioning whether I wanted to carry on. As I was hooked up to the drip I knew I wanted to continue.

Some people have been in touch with me on the blog to say that their elderly relatives are refusing to have anymore chemo and they don’t know what to do. I can only really talk from my own experience.

For me the most important thing is being able to have a good quality of life. Aside from the cancer, I’m a fit and healthy 41 year old. I feel very resilient. Despite the long list of chemo cons, I’m lucky that my body is capable of withstanding the treatment and I’m coping well. However, I know that I’ll probably need more and more evil chemo cocktails after this course finishes and in the future I may feel differently. There may come a point when I decide that I’ve really had enough.

This is such a personal decision. I’m convinced that I’m doing the right thing. I feel that I have so much to live for. Whatever it takes, I’m going to make it through the remaining five sessions of chemo.

Huffing and puffing

I have a hot date later today!

Hmmm sound familiar? Well that’s because my wig-man turned up wig-less yesterday. Mind you it’s not the first time I’ve had a disappointing date.

He’s promised that today at hospital he really will come up with the goods. So I should get to choose my new fabulous wig. He knows that I want to be much more Kate than Princess Di. Plus he’s going to let me try on some WAG wigs.

I could end up with some seriously big hair. Hopefully.

As I prepare for the next evil chemo cocktail I perhaps should warn you that I’m writing under the influence of steroids. I’ve just taken a handful of the tiny drugs. They normally make me feel wired; right now they make me feel weird. In a good way, it’s like my face is drunk and I keep laughing. I think I’m going to need a disco nap before getting ready.

Anyway after I choose my fake hair, I’ll start chemo session number four. Yayyyy once I’m hooked up to the drip I’ll be two thirds of the way through!

And there’s some more great news.

This bad boy doesn’t let any air in

My breathless tests are now all done. I needed this pair of nose clips for the last one.

Yesterday I had to sit in what looked like an old phone booth, wear these and blow into a blue rubber tube. It was quite surreal. The woman putting my lungs through their paces stood on the other side of the glass door telling me when to inhale, exhale and pant. Yes pant.

The results from all the scans, the x-ray and the panting shows that everything is healthy. Both my heart and my lungs are normal.

It’s such a massive relief. I didn’t realise how worried I’d been. I’d feared that my breathing problems could have be caused by a dangerous blood clot, a killer disease or even more cancer. Instead it seems that it’s probably down to the fact that I’m still not recovered from the huge operation and the chemo could be making this worse. Once this is over then I should just get better.

It’s brilliant that I’m not seriously ill with something else and I only have the orginal cancer to deal with. I can now breathe easy.

Can’t breathe easy yet

Hospital gown and tights – a fetching combination


Reluctantly I’ve been back in a hospital gown again. I sat in a cold examination room with its blue blinds firmly closed and waited for yet more tests.

As if it’s not bad enough dealing with cancer, there’s now something else which could be extremely serious.

I’ve mentioned my breathlessness before. I end up gasping after just a tiny amount of activity. Doing something like walking and talking is almost impossible.

After my operation I had a bit of a problem with this. I thought it was because a lump of cancer had to be removed from my diaphragm and that I was short of breath as it healed.

Since starting chemo it’s got a whole lot worse. I find it hard to breathe after just walking a few metres. According to The Professor this probably isn’t connected with the chemo. So I’m having a series of tests.

I was wired up in the examination room. As several electrodes were stuck on my skin I looked away and focused on the walls which were painted baby blue. The last time this happened I’d stopped breathing altogether. Luckily I woke up before they had to be used.

A young doctor in a sky blue medical gown prodded me with something that resembled a small plastic bottle of deodorant. The end was covered in cold clear gel. She pushed it hard into my chest. With her other hand she tapped a key board to take images of my heart.

The computer beeped as pictures of my very vital organ were captured from all possible angles. On the monitor my heart pumped away in black and white glory.

After being so focused on having something deadly in my body, it’s a fantastic feeling to watch something that looks so healthy inside me.

The doctor turned on a loud speaker and recorded the sound of my heart beating. To my ears it was loud and strong, almost like a parade of marching soldiers. It made me think about my James Bond army. They’ve certainly been doing a brilliant job. I wonder what mission I’ll send them on next if there’s a problem with my heart. Or lungs. Or something else.

Hopefully it won’t come to that.

I could be breathless all the time as I’m now so unfit. That’s a really scary thought. But at least the cure will just involve plenty of exercise rather than anything which involves me wearing another of these hospital gowns.

A more senior doctor came into the blue room to check the images. Wow he looked like someone out of ER. Think George Clooney but younger and Australian.

Anyway back to the small screen. George was very happy. It was just his initial impression but it seems that everything appears very healthy. After my cancer nightmare it’s lovely to hear positive results. I got him to repeat the news. He reassured me that I had a good heart.

Chemo hangover

Imagine running a marathon without any training. Afterwards you go out and drink a load of cheap red wine, the nastier the better. You have a couple of hours sleep when something makes you jump out of bed. As you quickly wake-up, your whole body is in agony.

Well that’s kinda what chemotherapy has been like.

It was more than a week ago that I had the anti-cancer drugs. It’s only now that I’m feeling almost human again.

The hangover from this special toxic cocktail didn’t kick in straight away. The next day it crept up on me slowly, so slowly that I’d thought I’d been lucky. Then wham, it got me.

I’ve been chronically tired. Just sitting in a chair was a massive achievement. Moving around made me breathless and dizzy. It also felt like I was going down with the flu.

Worst of all has been the horrendous pain in my legs and joints. Some of time I could barely stand up or walk. It felt like my legs were going to break but if I didn’t get up occasionally the pain would become more intense.

No matter how much I concentrated on James Bond, it didn’t stop the evil effects of the chemo. Maybe too much time thinking about Daniel Craig had something to do with being breathless and dizzy??

Anyway, along with strong pain killers, I found that plenty of hot water bottles and daytime TV helped the most.

As usual I’m staying with my parents in the countryside. I know this might seem strange but Mum has been microwaving a small bag made out of material and stuffed full of wheat and oats.

When you put this thing where you have the pain, it does actually work. As long as you don’t mind an overpowering smell of warm flapjacks.

In this roll call of horrible reactions something is missing. Amazingly I haven’t felt sick unlike last time. If that changes I’ll have to ditch the hot bag, I’m not sure I could deal with the sickly sweet smell.

Thankfully most of the side effects from my chemo hangover are easing although I’m still tired and breathless.

And yay – I still have hair. It wasn’t supposed to have fallen out by now anyway. Or perhaps that red hospital hat is working its frozen magic.

But there’s something else that’s worrying me. My immune system has been compromised by the chemo. Apparently right now it’s going into free fall and won’t start to recover until the end of the week.

It means that I’m easy prey to germs. If I get an infection it could lead to my chemo being postponed. If there was an Olympic medal for hand washing I’d win it.

The start of my chemo marathon has been bad but I’d feared it would be much worse. So until the next round I’m going to be really enjoying every minute that I feel well.