My second week of chemotherapy

Week 2

13th–20th January

chemotherapy turban

See video at bottom of this post

I am so heartened by the feedback and encouragement for this blog! Thank you. It has been so very challenging to write through the fog and weirdness. So I make sparse notes and then write when the mist clears … so a bit choppy on the flow … but I get so excited about capturing the gems that I think can be a life changer here. See *

In summary – my second week of Chemotherapy

Again. Big highs and lows this week. On the 11th day I’d had enough and I said to Mark that I couldn’t go through with it. We rang the chemotherapy help line at the hospital for support and I was told that the immune system takes the biggest hit 10 days to 2 weeks into the treatment. I had no idea and feeling fine had actually attempted a Hot Yoga class this day, with disastrous results. Next day I had nausea and weird flu like body chills and felt utterly grim. My kidneys were so painful, my electric rug wrapped round my middle was a godsend. I wasn’t expecting my nasal hair to be the first to go … nostrils needed much pampering! I swung from (upright position) nasal drip to (lying down) dry sahara. Neti pot was dusted off from back of cupboard.

Then in contrast by the end of the week I was as happy as Larry and had my best day was the 14th day.

The Green Cleaner

The Green Cleaner, East Sussex

I am cutting out the toxins on all fronts! Thank you Harriet for organising this … it was heaven to have Kamila come in from The Green Cleaner .. And now every week for the duration!

*I discovered we do not need bleach! It’s really simple. Citric acid and vinegar down the loo cleaned better and quicker than bleach. The grottiest job of the shower tray has worked with bicarbonate of soda and citric acid with a spray of neat vinegar. Same for the oven and kitchen sink. It fizzes and gurgles away and is magic. It also means that the whole cleaning equipment is narrowed down to simple basics. A company called Bio D have good products for floors and wood surfaces.
I am looking at buying in bulk on line!!

*Slippery elm was brilliant for my mouth. It was raw and so sore. I made a little paste up with water and stuck it in my cheek and it healed my chewed up cheek perfectly.

*Indigestion is a big problem and generally calming the whole digestive tract. Chicory cup with almond milk and a grating of fresh ginger and a crushed green cardamon pod is heavenly nurturing.

*Neti Pot: this completely sorted my nose out. It only took 3 days. Google for info, well worth it especially for sinus problems. BUT it is hard core and my motivation for saline nostril cleansing was low when not an issue, hence pot at back of cupboard!

*A diet of lots of cooked organic veg feels really important. Hydrating soups and casseroles. I am really tuning into what my body feels like however weird it might be … avocado on gluten free toast with fried eggs for breakfast … cornflakes with chopped banana at night. Never a dull day!! I am being very good about no dairy, but really missing cheese and my Yeo Valley yoghurt.

*Urine therapy – Give this your full attention. It has been a life saver.
I am giving you the full scoop on my experience of pee, I am hugely excited by it, especially after this week! But I am going to have to scroll back so you can see the broad spectrum, so skip if it’s really not your bag!!

In my 30’s I had discoid lupus and my hands and feet were driving me crazy itching – my immune system was literally attacking me – I was given a life time prescription for steroids, which I neatly swerved round and going naturally, the ONLY thing that really helped me in the moment, was soaking my hands and feet in my pee. (Urine contains urea, which as you probably know is in many healing and beauty creams).
The second best for my hands, for polite company, was a coating of yoghurt, covered by rubber gloves … it was that bad.

So now, when my head began to itch and was really annoying I started soaking my head in my pee before my morning bath. Within 2 days it was fine and dandy.

Now comes the bit that I really found extraordinary. My naturopath Lucy Hill introduced me to urine packing for the kidneys. I couldn’t see how it would work and it wasn’t first on my list of ‘must do’s. SO when the clearing side effects got really bad and I was desperate to sleep one very restless night, I soaked a flannel in pee put it in place over my kidneys with cling film, and lay flat on my back … and had the best hours of deep sleep that I could remember in a long time. What was also incredible was that I slept on my back in the same position without moving, very unusual for me. I can report that I have been experimenting at different times and it works best when I am in the 2am–3am sleepless zone, (liver meridian) and it knocks me out till morning (I had my first experience since October of waking up to daylight at 8am). It didn’t work going to bed at 11pm when I couldn’t sleep. So maybe it has to be in the liver meridian time!? My liver certainly needs all the help it can get right now.

Google and discover for yourself, there is so much info out there about the benefits of urine therapy. There is a book – The Golden Fountain: Complete Guide to Urine Therapy by Coen Van Der Kroon. (BTW, in the past as a keen gardner I have experimented with feeding a 25% dilution of pee on a square of grass, alongside a control square of just water. There was no difference for the water control square… and the pee square grew the most lush green grass, better than the lawn feed chemicals at the garden centre that didn’t make much difference.
– Thats just sharing deep level!!!

On reflection

This period of time is bizarrely one of very deliberately choosing life, the best probability for my survival. Chemotherapy was something that Mark very much wanted. Surgery in October with no breast reconstruction was what I wanted. The reality was a shock and we were both reeling from the shift in the dynamics of our sexuality and there being no breasts in our mix! We were both in grief with the harsh and very sudden void. Now there is a distinct shift in this next phase of treatment, one of nurturing and rebuilding, accepting day to day the roller coaster challenges and building our life back together … Literally. We have started the long awaited project of rebuilding our kitchen. It has been a great distraction if not a bit chaotic, but a good opportunity as we are at home, with no clients, and not in India where we were planing to be for the winter, running workshops. The upside to the downside is always there.

Diary entries for the detail!!

Wednesday 14th Jan
Week 2, Cycle 1
Day 9
A bad metallic taste in my mouth for 3 days now! Emma Hiwaizi (also a Inspirational Breathing – Graduate student) came and gave me an amazing breathing session – I came round out of the deepest of relaxed states with no metallic taste!

Thursday 15th Jan
Week 2, Cycle 1
Day 10
Friends, Annabel and Helena came round, and we cooked food together. I went to a Hot Yoga class but felt like I had concrete in my gut. I had to leave the class. Such an uncomfortable night.

Friday 16th Jan
Week 2, Cycle 1
Day 11
Worst evening so far, I had shivers and felt sick, so uncomfortable. Rang nurse and on advice took anti sickness pills. Diarreah in night. Shivers and more concrete in gut. Got up at 2pm and put on Urine packs round belly and back. Slept till morning.

Sat 17 Jan
Week 2, Cycle 1
Day 12
Took anti-sickness before breakfast lunch and dinner – no concrete! Afternoon was really easy and felt fine. We hung out at home for the day. It rained for most of it. Felt slightly cooped up but really didn’t feel like going out it the rain and cold!

Really bad night, This was the first where the urine pack didn’t work. Shivers and sweats and most uncomfortable, with mouth beginning to get sore too. Aloe vera swishing and tea tree oil.

Sun 18th Jan
Week 2, Cycle 1
Day 13
Considering I had SUCH a bad night I couldn’t believe how happy and relaxed I felt today. Not only that, but I started moving furniture around and loved organising the house a bit more. Eleanor and I went into town (singing the muppets). I met a herbalist in Neals Yard and made an appointment to see her next week. It is a missing ingredient in the healing mix. I bought a ‘little round scull cap’ hat in anticipation of no hair. I had an idea of sewing my fringe into the front of my hat. Will my hair fall out so I can gather it up and sew a hair piece!!? Eleanor offered me some of her hair for the sides, but it’s not a good colour match. We had such a laugh today.

My nose started bleeding and the lining inside feels very delicate.

Watched Les Miserables film and had long foot massages with Eleanor :-)) Idyllic.
I took a teaspoonful of tincture for sleep that I bought from Neals Yard. I packed slippery elm into my cheek and the pain went away!!! Great result. SO relieved.

Monday 19th Jan
Week 2, Cycle 1
Day 14
Best I have felt for a long time ALL day
Nose problems still today – Neti pot out

Great exercise day! I walked over the hill to the sea and made it to a Nia dance class. Feeling invincible.


Sharing my new turban tying skills!! Thanks to my sister Sophie for the filming.

Next Week

Next week’s blog has ‘the hair fall out’ and how to make a ‘home made’ fringe hair piece (see video)!

2 Comments

Alison

So lovely to see you in the film and fabulous tips. And so lovely you are feeling better again by day 14. It is a long haul and will be exhausting. So glad you are surrounded by loving family and friends to help. Lots of love xxx and hugs xxx

Reply
Sally Maguire-Sumonds

Hi Nik, on an ongoing basis I suffer from a considerable amount of nausea and sickness. To combat this I tend to wear sea bands which have an acupressure bead which connects to the anti-nausea point on the wrist. They can be bought as travel bands in many chemists. I would hope that they will work for you as they do for me. They can be worn continuously; I once wore them for 3 days on a mini cruise! If you can’t get them, as soon as we return to the UK (mid Feb) I’ll bring you a pair. In the meantime much love, hugs and immense respect to you my sparky friend xx

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