My fourth week of chemotherapy

WEEK 4

28th January–4th February

The first week after this clearing treatment is a whole lot better. It is as if my body knows what to expect – a bit like pregnancy after the first time.

In this, my fourth week of chemotherapy, I was ready for the level of dehydration which made a huge difference; a mild headache this time, rather than the head-clanger after the first. More like an occasional table rather than sofa on head. (Compared to Week 2) Perhaps it was also my ability to really take it easy for the first 4 days.

Keeping hydrated – I have lined some interesting fluids up to help keep up with the dehydration. Here are my favourites:
Flaxseed tea – it is really comforting and so good for hydration – it’s worth researching, so Google for more info and recipe’s.
Pukka – Cleanse tea with a few fennel seeds thrown in.
Clipper – Blackberry and acai berry to which I add a couple of sprigs of rosemary and a grate of ginger. It is absolutely delicious and worth the extra effort! The ginger is good for a queasy stomach.
Sage leaves (good for throat and one of the few herbs still in leaf in the garden) with dried lemon verbena leaves.
Milk Thistle Tea with Buchu, the latter for flavour. Milk Thistle is great herbal support for the liver, pretty key at this time!
Elderberry elixir – I made elderberry juice in the autumn and froze it in ice cube trays (no sugar needed!). The best vitamin c and antioxidant hit I know. I have a couple of cubes with warm water … just boosting my immune system for the onslaught.
Chicory drink with almond milk. Add ginger and green cardamon (I grind up one pod) – GREAT for digestion after a meal.
Cucumber water – Fling a few slices of cucumber in a water jug for a constant flow during the day – surprisingly refreshing and tasty.
Apple and cinnamon water – a few slices of apple and a stick of cinnamon – good to go for the day.
Coconut water

Beanie Hat for bald head

Head into gear – it needs to keep warm!

My beanie hat has been brilliant for day use.
I have a special night cap – its called a snood – and it stays on!

A definite upside to my hair loss – hot yoga is much easier with a bald head to let off the heat!

I go shopping in Brighton, with the invaluable aid of my daughter Eleanor and personal shopper for the day! I try to find some clothes that fit me. Eleanor was running to and fro to the changing rooms … I would not have had the energy for this on my own.

Mark’s mother has lent us some money and we are full steam ahead! It is a fabulous distraction and so exciting seeing progress. Perfect while we are in this Chemotherapy limbo and with no clients coming to the house. Mark is flipping from role of nurse/cook/shopper to kitchen builder in a jiffy. I am so thankful he is not working 9–5 in an office! He is major support.

Tuesday 27th Jan
Week 4, Cycle 2
Day 1
I went to a hot yoga class in preparation for my second clearing; a 7am session. In contrast to the last attempt my body was loving every moment and it was absolute bliss to feel the expansion of movement with the heat opening up my joints and stretching head to toe. No adverse side effects. On the contrary, with my new bald head to let off the heat, it was my most enjoyable class yet. AN UPSIDE!!

The clearing was a long day. My lovely sister Lulu came all the way from the Isle of Wight to be with me. She had just come back from India so stories of camel riding in the desert and monkeys sitting in temples were light relief and a world apart from tubes and chemicals.

We had good chats with other people going though similar treatment. We met a woman whose hair grew back one side curly, the other straight. Her eyelashes were just as wonderfully different, the left sticking out straight and the right to an angle. Sally taught me how to tie a turban – which you can view here.

One of the lovely nurses took me though my experience of the last 3 weeks of side effects. I had a score sheet! He was happy that all seemed OK apart from ‘intimate relations’. It has not been on my radar and no energy expended in that direction. He was most concerned for Mark.

Wednesday 28th January
Week 4, Cycle 2
Day 2

This was a REALLY go slow day, I felt like I needed to be very quietly in slow motion. Softly softly, everything. Major nurture, including a visit from cousin Annabel and a foot massage.

Hydration I think helped me swerve the crashing headache which was the previous experience for the first night and day one.

I had a long breathing session by myself. My watch actually stopped during it … a sure sign to take all the time I needed, which was about 1 1/2 hours. It was bliss. No dancing and not much movement apart from squirming on my back to move my whole spine, neck to coccyx, and then on all fours moving my tail bone and head in opposite circles. I am convinced the spine is of key importance in releasing though movement during breathwork.

Reiki to overcome sickness
I have given myself lots of reiki today inspired by the Portuguese nurse at the cancer centre. He said that in Portugal they give reiki to patients in favour of anti sickness drugs. I’m very happy to report I had very little nausea, not enough to reach for the pill packet/slippery elm thank goodness!

Thursday 29th Jan
Week 4, Cycle 2
Day 3

Coffee enema and bathtime. Amazed how much fluid was retained.

Brain fog
I had forgotten about my liver support with milk thistle, (which is really good especially to help with the whole detox alongside the coffee enema) … and in fact my whole brain is on a go slow. It feels like few brain neurones are firing! Will have a reminder list for next time round. I’m in the chemical brain fog.

Bath time – My scalp feels like sand paper and will rip my scarves to shreds in no time, so rather hoping to get the follicles to release what is left of the stubble patches. I used a little scrubby hemp body cloth from Neals Yard, (which also got shredded), Argon oil and a few drops of rosemary oil. It felt a real rush with a vigorous rub all over and looks much better …slightly less alien like somehow. The shrivelled bits have been plumped up!!

Head into gear
What I wasn’t expecting was to have to wear head-gear at home, but even though we have the heating on and my body is toasty, my head is cold! It’s a bit of a distraction and my phone headset gets all wrapped up in the folds if I’m wearing a turban. SO a beanie hat is a really good solution. Eleanor found www.notanotherbunchofflowers.com where they have special gifts for cancer patients. A brilliant idea and so thoughtful. (I have been given their Itchy skin oil too, excellent!). I wear a special night time hat too. What a palava it is!!

Slept in afternoon and woke up to a different body, feeling very odd and vulnerable. I set up a breathing session and it went very deep releasing from my lower back and neck. I am determined to sleep tonight! To help I did a cleanse and chamomile enema late eve and into bed with reiki hands. I slept though till 5am miracle, and then put on a pee pack and slept another 2 hours of really good sleep.

Friday 30th Jan
Week 4, Cycle 2
Day 4
My body feels like it has been inhabited by slightly nervy sludge. I woke up feeling weird, had an epsom salts bath and then could hardly move. I lay down for a breathing session and didn’t think I would ever be able to get up again. My appetite was fluctuating between ravenous and queasy non interest, so in the right gap, went for 2 boiled eggs which amazingly were the most delicious eggs I had ever tasted.
I just made it through my mouth hygiene routine before collapsing in bed.
Sister Sophie came round at 1pm and I rallied. Put on some make up, and she video’d me tying a scarf for my blog, then I was back to bed again. She stroked and massaged my head and neck for a deliciously long time.
Grotty evening, but a lovely potato and leek soup and Ricky Gervais distraction watching Animals. Good to laugh.
Went to bed at 11pm with little hope of sleeping. Had a restless time till I put the pee pack on at 1am – slept till 6am. Great result.

Sat 31st Jan
Week 4, Cycle 2
Day 5
Very up and down. I felt perfectly normal in the morning, the sludge inhabitant had gone along with bad taste in mouth. Friend Sophie came for day and we mooched at home looking at rain and snow while she massaged my feet, and then made a break for it to the Brighton Lanes at 3pm for a stride out. Feeling uncomfortable, I went to bed with Reiki hands on my struggling belly and dozed/slept for an hour. I rallied for dinner and then waned.

Emma Hawaizi came at 8pm and gave me a breathing session. Perfect timing. By the end I felt very new and improved!

Sunday 1st February
Week 4, Cycle 2
Day 6
A great night’s sleep. The breathing session totally nailed it for me!! I didn’t wake up or need to drink water in the night. Usually I drink at least a litre. Had morning cuddles and felt sexy for the first time in a LONG time. Our ‘intimate relations’ is suffering somewhat!! The lovely nurse at the hospital took it very seriously, suggesting that this is very important to address. Poor Mark has withered to zero expectations.
I was told that it was very important to have a stock of KY jelly. Same as nasal/gut linings, the vagina is very important to protect!

I had a breathing session with Mark coming to assist. I had a powerful session where I felt his upper arms and cried recognising his strength and gentleness. I felt very safe to be with him.

Not my normal breakfast, but making the most of my appetite and really listening to what my body is craving for. Salmon on gluten-free toast with avocado and steamed kale and quinoa. (Left over from last night, I couldn’t finish my dinner).
I need to bulk up a bit, I am too thin now.

My lovely daughter Eleanor arrives for a few days to help out.

Monday 2nd February
Week 4, Cycle 2
Day 7

My trousers don’t fit anymore, I have dropped at least one size with my (almost) vegan and wheat-free diet. So we go shopping and I am very relieved to have my shopping assistant, Eleanor, who navigates me though each different shop sizing of clothes and brings me new waves of appropriate trousers to try on in the changing room.

Last but not least

A very big thank you to Mark for creating and setting up the blog. It would not happen without you.

A very big thank you to Eleanor Dodds for editing and making it more readable and understood by people who may not know all my quirky breathing/Nicola words that I think are normal!

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