Happy Monday

There was a strange man in my bedroom a few days ago. When I say strange, I mean I’d never seen him before. With a laid back attitude, he was tall, tanned and had bleached blond hair. He looked more like a surfer in a smart shirt than a doctor.

The GP had been called as I felt worse than I had since the last lot of chemo. The leg pain, the sleepless nights and being permanently shattered had all got too much. Just thinking was hurting my head. None of the medicine I was taking seemed to work.

It was a locum doctor who turned up. We’d never met but it emerged that we’d been at university together. It made this random meeting in my bedroom seem even more surreal.

He stood next to a pile of magazines which were on the floor next to my bed, all unread. Dr Surf picked up a copy of Health and Fitness. A sporty looking woman smiled out from the front cover.

“This is you,” the GP said pointing at the magazine he was holding. It seemed more of a statement than a question.

“Hardly,” I replied.

I wasn’t exactly a picture of health. My face was still a bit red and puffy from crying with exhaustion earlier. I didn’t have enough energy to even consider drawing on some eyebrows or putting on a wig. What little hair I had left on my head was sticking up exposing my scalp. As for fitness? Pah.

After six months of cancer treatment it’s hard to see yourself as anything other than someone who’s very ill. Having a potentially killer disease takes over your whole life. But the doctor made me realise that I’m more than just a patient. That’s something I’m going to enjoy getting used to.

Anyway he sorted me out with some different painkillers. Since then they’ve been working wonderfully.

I had five hours of uninterrupted sleep last night. Five whole beautiful hours. When I woke up I felt rested and more like my old self. The pain seems to have eased and taken some of the tiredness with it. Most of those chocolate cravings have disappeared too!

Today I managed a tiny walk in the garden. I haven’t done that for weeks. Sunny with a slight chill in the air, it felt like autumn was on its way. It reminded me of that back to school feeling of exciting possibilities ahead.

I was quickly out of breath but I forced myself to go on. I’m determined to be fit once more.

Dr Surf was right. I was once like that sporty girl. Not a cover star mind you but just someone who liked exercise and being healthy. Now I’m feeling more like me I can imagine being that girl again.

Chocolate, my sweet medicine

There’s one thing you can say about chemo – it’s certainly saved the best ’til last.

My body is now chock-a-block with the cancer killing chemicals and the pain has been an absolute nightmare. Far worse than the exhaustion and sickness.

It was all so different a week ago. I was on such a high, finishing chemo and putting the whole horrible cancer treatment behind me. The adrenalin got me through. Now the party is over and this feels very much like the hangover.

But as with a hangover at least there’s something unhealthy that helps to ease my pain – chocolate.

I’ve been getting massive cravings for great big slabs of the stuff. Well, any kind really, it doesn’t matter…..chocolate ice cream, chocolate fudge pudding, chocolate truffles. It’s all good to me.

Six sessions of the evil chemo cocktail means that my feet are always ice cold and that’s where the pain starts. A nasty tingling in my toes spreads into my ankles; it gets worse as it works its way up my leg bones and into my knees. It finally stops about half way up my thighs.

During the day I’m battling to stay awake so it has to vie for my attention. But when I do want to sleep it just screams at me. Last night it felt like there was a machine at the end of the bed trying to wrench my legs away from my body.

Since when did the side effects of chemo become some kind of medieval torture?

Following the treatment last week, this intense agony has been hitting me in waves. It’s been so bad that at times it’s almost impossible to walk.

With all this going on, chocolate and plenty of it, has made things feel a bit better. It also cuts through the metallic taste in my mouth that chemo leaves behind. But there’s more to it than that. Apparently chocolate does actually helps with pain relief too.

Considering everything I’ve been through over the past six months, I’m amazed that my body is still able to work out what I need and let me know. And that fact that what it needs right now is more chocolate is pretty good.