Thursday, September 3, 2009
A lot more down (I hope this is the bottom)
Sunday came and went, the old boys on the ward were a good laugh the banter floed freely and my spirits rose although my energy levels were still in my boots.
Wendy and the girls came to visit as did mum and dad, as the person being visited it's lovely to see these people and obviously seeing Wend and the girls is magic but it's also hard. It reminds you of what you're missing and of a place you'd rather be, that's not to say I didn't want visitors it was just where my head was.
I was confident that I'd be going home that evening, how wrong could you be. Three day's later I was leaving, it had taken that long to get my blood well enough for me to fight infections as and when they came along. The neutropenic situation basically means that part of my white blood cells, the neutrofil, were at a critically low level. This meant fighting something as simple as a common cold could have become life threatening! That'd be rubbish wouldn't it, at the funeral, "well he beat cancer but a cold got him!"
I came out of hospital feeling lucky, two of the guy's on the ward had terminal lung cancer, a woman I got chatting to had two tumors removed from her brain but they'd come back and so it went on. As far as I can see I have a damn good chance of beating this and getting back to being as normal as I ever am, so I'm lucky.
I should have been having chemo the next day but they didn't think I'd be up to it so it got put back to Friday. I rested and rested and rested and waited for my next dose of poison. Chemo is one of those things you go through, you exist through it, my existence on that friday was pitiful. I hadn't got much left energy wise or emotionally and it showed. Usually I can chat to the nurses or other patients but this time I chatted a little and buried myself in my magazines and books. A friend, unlucky Steve (long story) who had visited me while in hospital, had leant me the second of Lance Armstrong's books. Both are worth a read even if you don't like cycling they're well written and show humour and humility along with the desire to win at everything be it cycling or cancer he wants to win everything he does. Every now and again a line of the book would provoke the odd tear, it'd be a shared experience. Some famous bloke in Texas with some big bloke in Sheffield, sharing fears, highs lows sentiments, a love of bikes through the pages of a book. The second book talks about being a survivor and how hard it is, how getting the balance of living life like you've been giving a second chance but also being the person you were before cancer. It's fascinating from a people watching point of view but scary from where I was.
I sobbed, behind my hands, in an empty room. Watching the drugs go in and feeling like they were doing me harm not good, got me. It got me so that I couldn't think clearly, I hurt, my head hurt from all the thoughts and my chest hurt from sobbing. Sally was brilliant, there were only two nurses left on as I was the only patient and she just sat and listened and gave me a hug and was just a sympathetic human being. I guess it's part of the job but it's not something you can train for.
My drugs finished and mum and dad arrived to take me home. I think i've looked rubbish after chemo before but not as bad as that, it ended up with my crying, Kaz (the other nurse) crying and Sally wiping her eyes. I gave them both a hug and thanked them, the staff at Weston Park do an amazing job and do it in such a way that you never feel foolish or pitied just cared for.
The only thing I wanted that night was a chip butty with curry sauce and my family. Food first as I had an inkling that my lousy mood was partly fueled by a lack of food and then hopefully I'd feel better when I was with my family.
I don't remember much about that weekend, I can't imagine I was much fun to be around. I wasn't crying as much but I didn't have much to give anyone, the combination of steroids, oral anti biotics and a fresh dose of chemo probably proved to be quite a cocktail for my body to take.