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