Thursday, October 1, 2009
Who am I? What do I do now? Should I be happy, sad, emotional?
I know who I am, obviously, but for the last six months or so I've been a bloke on chemo. A regular visit for a day in the comfy electric (reclining not USA gaol style) chairs having drugs and tea and biscuits. The steroids start in the morning, four foul tasting little tablets which mess with my distance perception (no driving), up my appetite (food, need food now, no not the healthy stuff, the salty snacky fatty type stuff, high in flavour low in goodness), and boost my energy just as the chemo starts to drag it down. The blood boosting injections start the day after the steroids finish, a regular visit from the district nurse (black coffee no sugar). My mood would drop on the tuesday after the steroids finish, try to keep level for the girls and Wendy, not fair on them to be too grumpy for no apparent reason.
But that routine has suddenly been taken out from under me. I'd got used to it, as much as I hated it and love the fact that I won't be having all those drugs coursing through my failing veins. I won't be peeing Irn Bru for a day after the chemo. I won't be quite so completely knackered. I won't have to find a conversation to have with complete strangers who are going through something similar or worse than me. I won't have to watch as women have cold caps fitted to try and prevent hair loss. These caps look like the things jockey's wear and come straight from the freezer, they change the blood flow around the hair follicles hopefully stopping them falling out. I'm amazed at the pain that people will go through to maintain their hair. But I fully understand how much more important hair is to women than it is to men, loads of people say I look younger with no hair! Have chemo look younger......... But for women hair is much more than a way or keeping warm, it can be an identity in itself and I admire the determination and the suffering that the women went through to keep some normality in their life. I won't be having mum and dad coming to pick me up, mum seeing the pain and dad seeing it but trying not to acknowledge it.
All those things are familiar to me now, they have been my life, the normal bits which I write about on here have been the special times. They have been the minority, they've meant more and they have been all the more special for the simple reason that I crave them, I crave normal.
Now I have to change, I have four weeks in which to start getting back to being me. The hospital reckon it'll take six maybe ten weeks before my body recovers fully from the chemo. Then I can start getting fit again and working on being normal, so long as I don't need radio-therapy. The four weeks will take me to the results of the next PET scan, four weeks in which I can worry about the result or get on with getting on.
Monday I start getting on with getting on. I'm going to savour tomorrow. Savour the fact that I can be outside, I may go and take a picnic and just sit outside somewhere. When you're hooked up to a drip and you take it every where, toilet included, you yearn for the feel of the sun on your face or the wind in your.....oops......on your head and even the rain, the sweet rain. That sounds like a plan, cheese and pickle salad sandwich, a bag of crisps and a bottle of water and a windswept hillside somewhere. Sounds like the start of something good.
As for my emotions, well they're close to my chest. I had a cry last night, I know it was Wend's birthday and I shouldn't be sad but I was. I felt like I was luckier than I deserved to be, to have got through stage one relatively unscathed. I've had very few side effects and I know how lucky I've been, seeing people who can't eat and drink, who have sores in their mouths, who can't breath properly without tubes up their nose. If I was religious I'd thank my god, whichever I believed in, but I'm not so I'll just be grateful to who ever will listen! I'm sure I'll start crying at some piece of music or something on tv and I won't have a reason just the time will be right. Until then I'll get on with life..........and whatever that brings.