The Most Boring Person in the World

Wednesday 2nd March

I feel OK today, not great but OK. I can live with OK. My hair is way less and I think if I’d have left it long and unshaved it would look utterly dreadful and patchy. I’m pleased I’ve shaved it but it is very sparse, to say the least, but this gradual process has made it way more palatable for me. More visitors – I’ve no idea what we talked about and if my life depended upon it I’d seriously struggle to repeat anything. I don’t think I make much sense either but everyone’s being so very kind and gentle with me. I really am blessed.

Thursday 3rd March

Well, I didn’t wake up till 10.20 am; virtually unheard of for me. I’m exhausted BUT I don’t feel ill. My mouth’s going through the usual unpleasantness but nothing to complain about. I’m tired but I can live with that. I’m thinking fish and chips for dinner today…

Saturday 5th March

Saturday. I was supposed to be meeting a couple of friends but simply didn’t have the energy. It’s weird. By the afternoon it was like the fog had lifted and I was pretty much back to normal, just lacking in energy. It’s really wiped me out. I can’t believe how much I’ve slept. I feel like THE most boring person in the world. I’ve nothing to say, I’ve not been anywhere, done anything… this bothers me. I’ve never been dull and whilst I accept it’s part of the lesson it’s very boring.

I’ve been more tired this time around simply because of the walk; it must have taken it out me. One of the REALLY hard things to cope with is my inability to think clearly, retain information and process questions. Sarah’s been emailing me asking me questions about decisions that need making for work – I honestly can’t think clearly enough to be able to offer her any help. In fact, I’ve said to her that I’m utterly thick at the moment and I’ll just live with whatever she decides. I simply do not have the capacity to be able to process anything other than what I’m going to eat or watch on the telly. I HATE IT. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so dense in my entire life. I struggle to remember what I’m saying, lose my train of thought and struggle with questions like, “What day is it today?”

Chemo brain is like having fog as a replacement for your mind. It’s so hard to function, to think, to do anything. It’s just awful and scary, I’m worried I’ll never be back to my idea of normal.

Monday 7th March

On Monday I went into work for the morning which was great but I was home by lunchtime knackered. Tuesday I didn’t even manage to get to work. I don’t think I’m eating enough, but I just don’t fancy anything. It’s hard to want to eat when there’s nothing I fancy, but I must.

I’m learning so much from this process and to be honest whilst I’m not thrilled I’ve got cancer I feel like I’m growing so much as a person.

This lethargy is just horrific. I’ve also suffered from some, erm… anal bleeding – sorry, yes I know, who wants to chat about bleeding piles, but it’s part of the journey so if it happens to you don’t panic. It’s just because of the constipation you suffer and then the obvious pressure when ejecting what you’ve saved. Not pretty so be warned. I’ve used the Senna tablets they gave me but they cause me such bad stomach cramps and clearly don’t work as they should. Instead, they have prescribed me with something that I thought they called “Move it all.” Turns out it’s actually called Movicol but hey, it does the same job so fingers crossed it will work better.

Thursday 10th March

Had a fab week at work, I felt great. I did a full day’s training on Thursday which I just loved – I felt back to being me again, personality back, multitasking brain functioning and I know I did a good job. I found the last chemo a bit scary – my personality literally flatlined. I’m usually so bright and happy and upbeat with plenty to say – this one, probably because of the mammoth walk, literally removed my personality and made me exceptionally dull.

Screenshot (46)I’m learning so much from this process and to be honest whilst I’m not thrilled I’ve got cancer I feel like I’m growing so much as a person. I’m not resisting everything that’s changing which trust me, for a control freak is quite hard but I’m just going with it and feel great. This is all part of my journey, part of my learning to get me to where I need to be. Being the sort of person I am, I perhaps wouldn’t have listened or made changes if I’d had a bout of the flu – I’d have just been frustrated and wouldn’t have heard or seen nor accepted the lesson.

It might not be obvious but I’m a VERY impatient person and tend to want and have usually got everything I want on my terms at my timescales. I fill my life with people, going out socialising (drinking copious amounts of wine) and generally overfilling my days, but now I find myself changing and find that:

• I’ve really enjoyed spending time at home and not being out every night or all weekend
• I’m learning about me and what’s important to me
• Looking after myself and pushing myself less gives me better thinking time and time to come up with better ideas (when my brain is functioning, of course)
• Listening to people I respect and admire and doing what they suggest/listen to advice has made me realise I’m not on own in the world
• I’ve learnt that having consistent behaviour/support is really good and enables me to feel safe and that I can rely upon people
• What will be will be
• Everything happens at the right time for the right reasons
• I’m not really able to offer anyone anything at the moment
• I’m really grateful for the support I’ve received from Cath, Clips and Karen… and in fact all my friends; from those that cook tea for the boys to those that sit and listen to me speak garbage for a couple of hours during chemo week
• I’m very grateful to be alive
• The spa treatments are lethal and boring so spending time with people helps me
• My friends are absolutely amazing. I’m completely blessed and extremely lucky and grateful
• Workwise I need to be doing more thinking and less doing – I need to change my strategy and not ‘do’ but work out how to structure my team to get the best outcome.

I’m Grateful for My Eyelashes

Friday 18th March

I’m thankful every day I wake up with my eyelashes. I know that’s vain and arguably the least of my worries but it’s great that I can still put mascara on and I don’t look so hideous. I’ve now got spots on my head which is really attractive, as you can imagine, and I’m thrilled about. Although I’m Mrs Baldy, I have some very short spiky strands of hair which oddly ‘hurt’. It’s quite bizarre, and if I lay on my pillow in the wrong position it’s really sore. How odd is that? Normal apparently but really weird!!

I’m a million miles an hour usually and feel like a snail with a hangover.

It’s Friday and having felt back to me yesterday, I now find myself at the doctors as my backside is bleeding again. Yes, I know it’s gross and really you didn’t need to know, but this is all part and parcel of the joys of chemo, cancer and generally having a broken body! I’m also back at the hospital later on for an MRI scan. They still haven’t quite determined what the “hot spot” is on my pelvis. Naturally, I’m praying that it’s nothing.

As I’ve mentioned I’d decided that for the second spa treatment I was going to see more people. I purposely avoided everyone the first time but it was so mind-numbingly boring that I think I need to get people round. Even if they just talk about themselves for a couple of hours the time will pass quicker AND I’ll have something to talk about… if I can remember any of it. It really is simply THE most boring experience I’ve ever endured. And the lack of energy has been weird for me. I’m a million miles an hour usually and feel like a snail with a hangover. My sense of humour and personality seem to vacate and I just flatline/exist for the time it takes the chemical warfare to get through my system. I can barely even muster up the energy to think about what I want to eat. But I know I must eat because it gives me energy. Which reminds me, I’ve done nothing but crave sugar which is bizarre because I don’t usually have a sweet tooth. I’m more of a savoury girl. I don’t think I’ve ever had so many chocolate bars, biscuits and cakes in my house EVER. Maybe it’s my body saying it needs more energy… well, that’s my excuse.

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Tuesday 22nd March

OK so we’re on day 5 post chemo, it’s March 22nd. I’m WAY too scared to tempt fate BUT I feel fine; bit sick, bit tired, the joys of a metallic mouth but I’m nowhere near as bad as I was the first or second time. I’m wondering if they’ve given me a bloody placebo… I doubt it, I’m not sure that would be something they’d do, but I do I feel fab. I’ve been up, showered, Bob on every day, I even walked the dog for half an hour today. But it’s with trepidation that I view this; I just don’t want to be disappointed or dead on my feet tomorrow.

This is definitely a life-changing experience and without doubt one that I very much needed.

I’ve had visitors galore, though. I know it sounds bad but I’ve booked them in for 2-hour slots. They arrive, I manage to make them tea or coffee, we chat, they leave and I don’t remember a thing they’ve said. I’m beginning to find this rather amusing – I’ve even told them all “I’ve no chance of remembering but please carry on regardless.” I find that I repeat myself constantly and am still forgetting words. Oh, the joy of chemo brain.

What is strange is that I don’t have any negative feelings at all at the moment. I feel like I’m clearing out some much overdue mental debris… but without actually doing anything. This is definitely a life-changing experience and without doubt one that I very much needed.

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This week has been something else. I’ve felt great. I spent Thursday at the seaside with a mate and it was fab. I’m convinced this cancer thing for me is about sorting things out, giving myself some headspace to work out what’s important and what’s not. I feel so calm. I feel so at peace with myself and I’m still grateful every day for my eyelashes. It’s such a weird thing to be grateful for but every morning I look in the mirror and say thank you.

Monday 28th March

Ten days post chemo and its March 28th, a perfect day to complete a 35-mile walk – arguably crazy but I’ve had the best chemo session ever. I’ve not felt particularly ill… nausea isn’t too bad. I’ve experienced the usual clogging up of my internals and I do feel more tired than I normally would do but honestly, it was a breeze in comparison to last time. It was a great day.

I literally had candlesticks at one point when I bent down to stretch my back out. 10/10 on the embarrassment scale.

Even though it chucked it down and we took a few wrong turns, we completed it within nine hours. It was a HUGE challenge with or without having chemo in your system but I did it. I did, however, seem to mislay my personality at about hour six and was virtually mute by the end.

My feet hurt, my brain had flatlined and all I could think about was BED. On the way round though, I can’t tell you how much I’d sniffed and how much my nose kept leaking… never experienced anything like that before. After I’d dribbled my way through 3 packets of tissues, I ended up having to ‘cuff’ it. Not a ladylike thing to do nor something I’ve ever done before but needs must at the end of the day. I literally had candlesticks at one point when I bent down to stretch my back out. 10/10 on the embarrassment scale. This has never happened to me before I just couldn’t quite work it out.

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The funniest moment though was in work on Wednesday. We’d started having a conversation about cancer and chemo, etc., and one of my team asked me whether I’d lost my ear hair because her grandad had. I did explain that females generally speaking don’t suffer from ear hairs. She then started talking about his nose and how that had gone too. I couldn’t stop laughing – not at her grandad but that’s clearly what had happened to me, wasn’t it? My nose hairs have vacated, hence the dribbly nose. The things they don’t tell you!!

Wednesday 30th March

It’s Wednesday 30 March. It’s the treatment halfway point and I’ve been for an ultrasound today after three sessions of chemo. I don’t really know what I expected. In fact, I just rocked up without really thinking about the appointment at all. I seriously cannot tell you just how I struggled to keep the tears back when they told me its shrunk by half. I’m literally delighted. I didn’t think it would be such great news. Halfway, half the size… thoroughly delighted. I feel like celebrating with a cup of tea.

How life has changed.

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Why am I So Pissed Off on My Birthday?

Thursday 14th April

What can I say about today? Nothing other than I feel THE most emotional I’ve ever felt in MY ENTIRE LIFE. What’s this all about? I’m crying for literally no reason. I’ve had some visitors over but I bet I’ve been a complete prick today. People are so lovely though – so understanding. I’m really struggling with this crying shit coupled with the chemo brain I don’t even know my own mind anymore. It’s really scary. As I said it’s a bit like a bad hangover but 50 times worse. At least with a hangover, you get to have some fun first. It makes me feel so thick. I forget things and it makes my brain work slower, not a big deal you might be thinking but for someone like me who rarely makes mistakes, this is horrific.

On the bright side however, I’ve got a friend who’s told me she’s thrilled for the first time in our friendship she can keep up.

I know that I’ve said this before but I really don’t want you to underestimate just how debilitating it is. I forget what I’m saying, I can’t remember basic words and I struggle to follow what’s being said to me. It’s not that I get bored but I just fail to comprehend the simple stuff. It’s like my brain is thinking “Unless it’s happening in the next 5 minutes, I probably don’t need to know” and deletes any brain cells that might have been used for storage. It’s been extremely humbling. I’ve made mistakes regarding work, I’ve had to admit that I can’t remember what I’ve been told, I struggle to make the right decisions and it’s like I can’t get my brain to do what it normally does without much effort. On the bright side, however, I’ve got a friend who’s told me she’s thrilled for the first time in our friendship she can keep up. My usual communication style is a little bit of a scatter gun approach and often leave friends with a number of half-completed stories. It’s funny but I guess a bit irritating.

Friday 15th April

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! It’s 15th April – HURRAH, another year on the planet. I LOVE my birthday always have… so why do I feel so bloody pissed off? I woke up crying and basically spent the rest of the day doing pretty much the same thing. The friend who cancelled me has left a gap in my day which just adds to how pissed off I’m feeling. I got ready to drive over to Northampton to see Karen for lunch but as I couldn’t stop crying I aborted the journey after about 15 minutes.

I’m not overly vain but honestly, can these chemicals take anything else that distinguishes me as a woman?

Thankfully she’s really understanding and gets it, but what an utterly shit birthday. To add insult to injury the boys gave me my card but said that my present hadn’t arrived. Now whilst this might not be a big deal, trust me today it was like the end of the world. Very dramatic and unreasonable behaviour from me but to be honest that’s exactly how I feel – unreasonable and grumpy.

Oh, and as an extra special gift for me, my nails have started to lift. My beautiful natural nails that I look after, nurture, love and which are a bit of trademark are about to fall off. REALLY??? Anything else? I’m not overly vain but honestly, can these chemicals take anything else that distinguishes me as a woman? I don’t feel so bad with the nausea and fatigue this time just finding the emotional side hard to deal with. Early night for me with the attitude that tomorrow will be brighter…fingers crossed.

Thursday 5th May

May 5th and it’s my next spa day. A little out of sync but I had a day out booked for yesterday that, come hell or high water, I was NOT going to miss, nor was I going to turn up feeling special. I wanted my personality in attendance not one of my thick days. I’d won the chance to spend a day with the Red Arrows. It was a superb day and well worth putting off the treatment for. However, now I’m feeling special. FEC can feck off. I had it administered not 3 hours ago and already I can’t stop bloody crying. FFS…how bloody annoying. It’s alright, it’s not for any reason whatsoever. I’m not built for this crying shit. It’s just utterly pointless AND FOR NO REASON WHATSOEVER. I got annoyed with the boys when they got home from school, who were only trying to help me. Honestly, this is a bigger bloody challenge than feeling ill.

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Monday 9th May

It’s funny how you can change. It’s 9th May and I’m sat in bed like I do most chemo week mornings and am watching telly, chatting to the kids, drinking tea and generally doing nothing that works to a timeline, and do you know what? It’s just great and never in my life did I think I’d be saying things like this. I’ve never just done nothing, didn’t really know why you’d want to, but it’s great and I seem to have so much headspace. My thinking, although slower, seems clearer in a really odd way. I also seem to have so much time as well, which is just great. But I have to say this drug really does make me moody. My poor kids have no idea what they’re going to get when they come home, I’m either euphoric or roaring I’m irrational, hormonal and special… #chemojoys

Tuesday 17th May

Tuesday 17 May and I had my usual appointment with Karen the oncologist today. They’ve found a lump under my scar where the lymph sentinel node was taken from. She said it was probably nothing to worry about but was sending me for a scan anyway and that if the radiographer was concerned he would take a biopsy. So I trotted along the following day about 5 pm (private health cover is the best) and had the scan…and a biopsy. I had a meltdown. I was told I’d get the results in about two weeks. I couldn’t pull myself together. How can I get cancer when I’m being treated for it? If it was scar tissue, why did they do a biopsy? I know they can tell the difference. The chap on Xmas Eve was VERY clear. The super lovely lady who is usually in the room for the procedure was trying to chat to me about stuff, but I just couldn’t hear her or reply.

This has seriously tipped me over the edge – I’ve literally got to my MAXIMUM coping capacity.

As I left, I drove the wrong way home and found a layby. I sobbed for about forty minutes, inconsolable, confused and fucking gutted. I just want my hair to grow back and get back to normal. I’ve been so good, I’ve recognised that getting better relies upon my learning my lessons, staying calm, not working like a demon or conducting my life at breakneck speed. I’ve done EVERYTHING. I’ve approached it with my usual positivity. The unfairness of this is just beyond my comprehension. I phoned my friend – I didn’t speak, I wailed and delivered my third ranty, illogical, irrational meltdown since this delightful journey began…and cannot tell you how much it helped.

I had got lost in the emotional spiral which is very unlike me, I’m usually extremely practical and logical. Some 30 minutes later I was back on the right track. I almost felt like I was being punished for coping with this so well and being so positive. This has seriously tipped me over the edge – I’ve literally got to my MAXIMUM coping capacity.

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I do deal with things myself a lot and always find the bright side, the silver lining, I guess I’m just lucky that way. This IS hard, make no mistake but what I choose to share with the outside world whilst I’m going through this is my business and my choice. No one wants to hear you moaning or your sorry stories about your day, it’s not interesting and more importantly, it wouldn’t bloody help, so if you’re in the same situation think twice about it and keep your friends as friends and not carers. You’ll get through this and you don’t want people changing their roles after the event.

So the outcome. I found out two days later – thank god – that it was just scar tissue and nothing really for me to have got in such state about. I feel bad about overreacting. Really bad. It’s just stupid and can’t have been pleasant for my friend being on the receiving end of that little treat!!

Very much the same as last time only the nausea and the tiredness are getting easier to bear. Again the irrational hormonal emotional stuff is a bloody nightmare but I’m becoming more accepting of it, less cross with myself about how much I cry. So what? I seem to be the only one who gets bent out of shape about it – no one else seems to mind. Each morning I’ve woken up and before I open my eyes I’m marvelling at how well I feel in comparison to how I felt previously. Yup, I feel good enough to get a shower and gently get on with my day. My eyelashes are becoming a little sparse and I’m just praying that they stay put till everything starts to grow back, I really do not want to have to wear falsies.

 

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