14. Please sir, I want some more…

The schedule I’m on with chemo is more intense than most – generally people  have AC chemo once every 3 weeks, where the drugs stay in their system doing their job for 6 days, then they have 15 days’ recovery before going again. I’m having it every 2 weeks, giving me just 8 days’ recovery before going again. So why am I doing it the hard way?

The doctors build your chemo schedule based on the kind of tumour you have (selecting the drugs that will work best at tackling it*), and your age, health and general fitness (to determine how much your body can take vs recovery time). They think I’m strong enough to recover quickly, so have put me on the 2-week schedule, keeping the 3-week schedule as a fallback if I start to flag.

As a Nike girl, I believe that you’re always stronger than you think you are; you’ve always got strength for one more; you can always run the extra 10 seconds, minute or mile; and given the option of hitting this hard vs giving the cancer time to recover too, I’m pleased they put me on the tougher track! This means that every time I go for blood tests and checks to see if my body’s recovered enough to go again, I always have in the back of my mind that most people haven’t recovered yet, so I shouldn’t kick myself if it’s a “no”. But it also makes it AWESOME to hear them say “yes, we’re good to go!” and I come out pumped and ready to kick cancer’s butt for another round!


Cancer crumbles under the pressure – COME ON!

When I saw the doc yesterday, she also agreed with me that the tumour is changing – I thought it was smaller, but she said it was harder to determine its shape and size, as it appears to be breaking apart. I LOVE THIS! it’s like the cancer is crumbling under the pressure! We’re fighting back! And we’re winning!

I’ve no idea if this is clinically correct, and after the 4th chemo session I’ll have another MRI to get a better like-for-like comparison, and at that point they’ll decide if it’s working or not. But in the meantime, I’m sticking to the “cancer crumbles under the pressure” line as this is a more positive outlook and a far better headline!

So on that note, I’m off to the gym to lift some (very little) weights and get myself pumped to go again on Monday!


BoxyOut xx


11. Am I good to go?

It’s cycle 1, day 12 of 14. Before I can go into the next chemo session, I have an appointment with my Oncologist, to check my bloods and make sure my body’s recovered enough to go into the next cycle. So what have I done in preparation for this? A day trip to Germany, a tour round a chocolate factory, dinner at my favourite tapas and a couple of cheeky gins for good measure – my blood should look completely normal, right?!

In all seriousness; during week one when I wasn’t sure how I’d feel, what side effects I’d have, and how my body would react, I was the perfect patient. I drank heaps of water, and chamomile tea, had a nutribullet concoction every morning, and steered clear of alcohol. But as I’ve felt better in week two, I’ve allowed myself to live a little more ‘normally’ and it’s helped me feel, well, normal! Obviously I haven’t gone crazy, but not focusing on cancer for a few days has helped the mental reset, and hopefully today the doc will give me the green light for round two… fingers crossed!


10. Week one…

I’ve intentionally not posted much this week. No-one knew what my side effects would be like, and the doctors all said that everyone reacts differently. So I didn’t want to post about how well (or not) I was, until I’d finished week one.

So how has it been? So far, so good. I had my first chemo session on Monday and went in psyched, ready to come out fighting and show this thing I’m not scared of it. But the reality was more like the Black Knight in Monty Python’s Holy Grail! There I am, waiting to feel shit, armed with extra anti-sickness meds (in case the ones I’m taking aren’t strong enough) and Magnesium at the ready (in case the copious amounts of anti-sickness meds give me constipation – sorry, gory reality!)… but all I got was a headache, fatigue and boredom?

Days 1-4 – holding strong

The chemo drugs attack anything which grows or multiplies quickly (like hair, nails, saliva snd white blood cells…) so my immune system takes a beating while it’s trying to fight the chemo. To counter this, I had an injection 24 hours after chemo, to boost white blood cell production in my bone marrow and give my immune system a boost. When the nurse gave me this on Tuesday, she said I might feel tiredness in my bones a few days later, but paracetamol should sort that out. But I didn’t even have that?

I had a call from the Nurse on Thursday to see how my side effects were, and all I had to report was an annoying headache and slight tiredness. So by Friday I was thinking “I’m doing OK here!” But she did warn me that, because the anti-sickness meds are only for days 1-4 (the days which are meant to be the worst), I might find days 5 and 6 would be worse, as my body starts to fight on its own.

Days 5 and 6 – fighting solo

And she was right. I can safely say that Saturday (yesterday) was my ‘bad day’. To be fair, I think this was partly medical (with the dregs of chemo still in my system and my body having to fight on its own) but for me, I think a lot of it was psychological.

I guess most people reading this will know that I can’t sit still. In the 11 months I’ve lived in Amsterdam, I’ve only had about three or four weekends without something in the diary. I hate having nothing to do, so if I don’t have people to stay, I’m off doing something – racing, traveling, visiting friends, exploring… I can’t sit and watch TV for more than about an hour – even Suits, I watch episodes while on the treadmill or exercise bike! I get bored super easily and am always looking for stuff to do.

So, to be confined to the couch, with an annoying headache, sore throat, sick of drinking Chamomile tea, feeling sorry for myself for not being able to travel and do stuff, and not having the energy to snap my head out of it; yesterday was definitely my low day!

Day 7 – bouncing back

But I woke up this morning and my throat was fine. The headache was still there, but because my throat felt better, I immediately thought “This is better than yesterday! I’m on the up! I’m past the low day! I’m through the first fight!” And that gave me a buzz! The sun was out so I opened my windows, put Oasis on LOUD, cleaned the house from top to bottom (strangely therapeutic!) and sang ‘Supersonic’ at the top of my voice!

Rocky Balboa said “It’s not about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you get hit; how much you can take and keep moving forward, that’s how winning is done!”. Despite the immense temptation to correct his grammar and syntax, I’ll leave it as is for full effect! But this actually sums up how I feel right now. It’s the end of the first Rocky movie, I’m in the ring and the bell has gone for the end of round one. I’ve returned to my corner and am now being patched up ready to go again. I just need to go the distance, I’m not after any knockout punches, I just need to go the distance.

Reboost, refuel, recharge, reset

So it’s Sunday night, I’ve done week one, and the next seven days are about getting back as much strength as I can. The last two days have taught me that this is as much psychological as physical; I need to be mentally strong too, as days 5 and 6 will kill me if I’ve nothing to do.

So this week I’m going back to work for a few days. I’ve booked a session with my trainer. I’m going to travel. And I’m going to sign up to Amazon Prime, ready to watch the new Top Gear series (which starts on day 5 of my second cycle – perfect timing!)

So I’m not going to focus yet on chemo #2, instead I’m going to relish week two and recharge mentally and physically, so when it does come, we’re good to go again!

#reboost #refuel #recharge #reset