For the first time in months I woke up without a nose bleed. It’s a sign that my chemo-cation is coming to an end.
It hasn’t been a typical holiday although I’ve mostly just done a whole load of nothing. As I recover from my anti-cancer treatment, the hardest thing to deal with is the tiredness.
It’s been a few weeks since I finished my chemo, since then I’ve mostly slept or sat in a comfy chair but my favourite place to be is outside lying on the grass with the sun on my face. A soft fabric hat protects my thinning hair (more of that later.) Sasha the dog likes to sit next to me. I ask her why when I’ll stop being ridiculously exhausted. She has no answer.
Some of the side effects are easing. So, my moon-face seems to be deflating. But others are actually getting worse. My feet are so swollen that wearing shoes is painful. My toe nails and one finger nail appear like they’ve been dipped in acid.
My eyebrows and eyelashes are growing back but the hair on my head is falling out. And I mean seriously coming out. Towards the end of the chemo cocktail sessions my hair had started to grow. Now that it’s falling out in handfuls it seems so cruel. It’s difficult to stop myself constantly checking but each time I’m rewarded with a load of my hair between my fingers. I reckon that I’m going to need my wigs for longer than I thought.
Compared to what I went through during my treatment, both the hair loss and tiredness seem much harsher. It’s meant that my chemo holiday has been tough however there was one amazing afternoon when I got away from it all.
A couple of weeks ago I went to a Buckingham Palace garden party. As you do! Along with several thousand smartly dressed people, I had afternoon tea with the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.
My fug of fatigue was gone, it felt as if I’d woken up and for a few hours I was back to my old self. I think it was down to being part of something so special.
During my chemo-cation I also had a trip to Accident and Emergency. Not quite so pleasant. Last Wednesday I caught an infection and my temperature started to rise. As this happened before I knew not wait too long before going to hospital. When we arrived my temperature was bad but not critical. We sat and waited to be seen by a doctor.
Over the next hour I felt increasingly ill. During that time we were joined on the hard metal seats by five other patients. Separately they hobbled in and bizarrely everyone seemed to have twisted an ankle.
My temperature wandered into the danger zone. I was eventually given a bed in the emergency ward. By that point my blood pressure had dropped and my heart rate was worrying.
After some treatment and a night at the hospital, my immune system was back in charge. After the battering that it has taken recently, I was so pleased that it was able to fight back. It was only when I’d properly woken up that I realised I was staying in yet another room without a view.
I was able to leave hospital the next day but the infection took its toll and made me even more shattered. Ugggh.
Finally, life is now returning to normal and I worked at the weekend. At the end of my shift I felt like I’d done a massive work-out at the gym. I had no energy left. Not just my legs, but also my arms really ached. This was a different kind of tiredness. It comes from deciding that the chemo holiday can’t go on forever and pushing myself to do more.
Considering my diagnosis – this is a luxury. I’ll never beat the cancer but I can enjoy the time when I feel good and I’m not having treatment. I’m more than happy to have this sort of exhaustion as it shows that after 17 sessions of toxic chemicals I’m slowly starting to feel better.