My eighth week of Chemotherapy

WEEK 8

24th February–1st March

This is a roller coaster week! Starting with the invincible happy Nicola and ending it one very sick bunny!

Week 8 in summary

Spending so much time on the sofa with a camber on it has taken its toll on my back, and at the beginning of the week I visit the osteopath to straighten me out.

Food has been a bit easier this week, although the concrete gut feeling has been hovering about. I’ve really been craving strong vinegary flavours this week so more tomato ketchup!

I managed a few trips out, which were wonderful, particularly the escapes down to the sea! But I’ve had a few real dips (unfortunately not in the sea!) and it feels as if the mid-cycle chemo dip is here earlier this week. It seemed like a brief respite of feeling well before the shivers and a streaming cold. It came on quickly and hit really hard, turning into a tightening of my chest and a cough appearing by the end of the week.

Tuesday 24th February
Week 8, Cycle 3
Day 8
It was sunny all morning, so the bus queue (see previous post) was quite safe I have the energy for a glorious walk over the hill to the sea., my feet were itching to go barefoot, but it’s still cold and I have never seen so much mud on our limestone hill! I lie on a rock by the sea for a deliciously long time, then go shopping. In the village the grocer delivers all my shopping so I don’t have to carry it back.

I spend an afternoon pottering in the garden with gloves and secateurs. I am so happy and I feel almost normal.

My taste buds are still off at a tangent. I bought sea sickness bands today for my wrists to deal with the low level ‘bleugh’ feeling. I think they helped. My appetite and desire for food was better by evening, although a craving for tomato ketchup had me squeezing it on my vegan burgers, broccoli and mashed potato! Taste buds see previous week’s post in a frenzy again!

Wednesday 25th February
Week 8, Cycle 3
Day 9
The familiar nasal drip is back. It is my first signal for the cold type symptoms mid-cycle.
I drove into Brighton and had a couple of hours shopping and a good walk through the Lanes in the sunshine. I felt invincible, so happy just to be walking, sun shining, and confident that I can deal with anything!

I am really missing something in my diet and with my tastebuds in disarray and the low grade nausea I decide to have a BIG lunch and choose exactly what my stomach wanted. It chose … goats cheese and tuna toastie melt with lashings of chutney (that vinegar/ketchup flavour craving again!), accompanied by a big bowl of salad, with lots of avocado/ lettuce with trimmings. It was absolutely delicious and, despite the ‘concrete gut’ feeling over the last few days (seemingly typical for this stage in the cycle), there were no adverse effects!

In the evening Angie comes over and we put on the tribal music dance for an hour. My body is feeling in need of movement and shaking about a bit.

Later I go and pick up Mark from the station. When I get back I feel shivers and cold. I went from a warm happy dancing body to a cold car and freezing night air. The mid cycle dip is in evidence! The slide down was swift – dancing and laughing one moment to shivering flu symptoms wrapped in a blanket the next.

Thursday 26th February
Week 8, Cycle 3
Day 10
I have an appointment to see my friend and osteopath Ann Coxhead. My body is throwing up a raft of unhappy structural complaints.

She is genius and works out what is happening!

It’s due to prolonged time lying on the sofa (looking at the rain). The camber on the sofa – it dips down to the back – is creating a spinal twist and, spine out out of alignment, causes pain down the phrenic nerve along the inner thigh.

It is a hard curve ball as this cycle is proving to have not much good space in-between the dips. The upside – Instead of having an afternoon doze on the sofa I go to bed and have a proper sleep with a happy spine.

It is a tough day. I am streaming cold with shivers and heavy achy bones. This dip is 4 days earlier than the last cycle.

Emotionally low and so little energy to think of what to eat / prepare /how to look after myself. Everything is draining and a big effort. I have run out of steam.

Friday 27th February
Week 8, Cycle 3
Day 10
I feel like a yoyo. This morning the sun is shining and I have the energy to go for a walk over the hill to the sea. At least a 3 mile round trip. Sister Soph and I take tea and sipping, sun ourselves on the beach. It it gloriously warm and my head is bare to the sun for the first time!

In the afternoon, I have a great breathing session with Emma and really sink deep into a healing state. She is masterful and I feel so utterly relaxed and peaceful.

However within no time I am streaming cold again and fluey. I cannot even anticipate from one moment to the next whether I will have the energy to make a cup of tea.

I am propped up on sofa and take my temperature to make sure I am not too high. If I reach 38 degrees centigrade I have to ring the hospital. I am 37.4 degrees with my fingers crossed, drinking my cucumber water.

Saturday 28th February
Week 8, Cycle 3
Day 11
I stream from my nose all day. It is tempting to wedge a tampon up each nostril, but they would expand too fast for my nose to cope!

By evening my temp is up to 38.1 so I ring the hospital and A&E are ready if I feel that I need to go in. I really don’t want to go out in the cold night air! But if I feel worse I will. My white blood cells need counting! If too low, I get antibiotics which I really don’t want to resort to.

An ulcer on my tongue arrived today making it uncomfortable to chew, so I have slippery elm glooped on it. It immediately feels better. All food is to be blended until better.

Mark makes chicken broth soup with carrot and beetroot to build me up. We have a pile of DVD’s. I arrange my castor oil liver pack for my front right side and urine pack for my kidneys, a pile of cotton handkerchieves (even balsam tissues are too uncomfortable for my red raw nose now), so I am good to go for a great Saturday night in!

Head to toe, dripping sweat in the night. Second night running. It feels like my body is hell bent on elimination!

Sunday 1st March
Week 8, Cycle 3
Day 12
By a miracle, Acupuncturist David Bennet gave me an appointment at 12 noon today. (Always worth asking for what you want, even against all odds!) Using moxibustion he treated 50 points on my back which helps with building the energy of the blood up. Just what I need for my white blood cells! The needles were used too and I felt very relieved to have my pulse improve.

Our friend Sophie came for the afternoon. She cooked us a delicious lunch, ironed to the bottom of the ironing basket while I had a rest, and then we all curled up under the blankets for a viewing of the genius film – Mr. Turner, my second time in 2 days. I very rarely repeat films, it was EVEN better second time round.

My cold is turning into a tight chest and cough. My streaming nose is better, but it feels like an unfolding of different symptoms as roving infectious elements are at large trying to pick off different parts of me while I am becoming more and more defenceless!

Next Week

Next week I am in hospital, neutropenic, and have the full A and E experience.

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