Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Me, myself and I
Who am I? It a question that I've asked myself many times over last couple of weeks. I've given myself many a stern talking to, trying to figure out why I'm such a miserable git. I should be happy, I'm alive and we had good news from the last ct scan. The lumps have responded to the radiotherapy and have reduced in size a little, they were never going to disappear but they've responded.
So why the sad face?
I feel like I have been a split personality over the last couple of weeks. I have been the public me, smiling and being positive. I have been the private me with Wendy and the girls, moody and unsure and I have been I, alone, driving, thinking, sitting, crying, wondering, surviving just my moods and my black days.
My body seems to be having the side effects from the radio therapy, 2 months after the treatment finished. For the last two weeks my rib cage has felt like it was in a big car crash and the skin on my chest and back has felt hyper sensitive. Putting clothes on hurts like bloody hell and having a shower is like rubbing my skin with nettles. Not that I've done that on purpose you have to understand, I'm not running for parliament. So sleep has been a precious commodity, once I'm off that's fine but it's when I move or the quilt moves it all starts again.
I went for acupuncture at the Cavendish Centre and it was interesting, I didn't feel anything (not even a little prick boom boom!), while I had the treatment. I felt a little better the next day and was meant to go back yesterday for the next session.
I didn't. I couldn't. I took George climbing on Saturday and decided to have a go myself, the first time since starting chemo all those months ago. I did four routes and felt that that was enough. I was pleased that I'd got to the top and hadn't fallen off. Last time I climbed I was about 15 stone, now I'm the best part of 17.5 stone and boy does it make a difference. I started to go down hill about two hours later, I'd had lunch and a snooze as my energy level just fell out of my backside. I never really recovered, I just became tetchy and emotional at the slightest thing. Even watching England beat Wales at Twickenham didn't raise a smile, I just felt like my head was getting darker and darker and my skull was becoming tighter as the game went on.
Sunday was no better, Wendy left me to lie in which should have helped but didn't. We went for a walk which usually helps but ended up causing more discomfort, particularly for Carys who fell in the river after slipping off a stepping stone which I should have been watching her across but I was taking a photo of George. Arse.
After an unproductive afternoon and yet another misunderstanding I started crying. Not like a baby, a baby knows why it's crying it's either hungry or cold or it's poo'd and it doesn't have the words to say what is wrong so it' cries and the parents figure it out. I was crying because I have a reasonable head which has a reasonable number of non swear words which I can usually string together in some sensible order, unless Guiness is involved, but I still didn't know what was wrong.
Monday morning and I went for a drive, over the Strines and down to Ladybower. Stunning countryside when you can see it, as it happened it was snowing and visibility was pants. But I didn't care, I didn't care about much, staying on the road or going off the road, getting to where I was going or not getting there. The cloud in my head was as black as night. I'm not sure when it happened but I started to think what a pathetic attitude. You have a wonderful wife and two amazing kids who would be upset and annoyed if you didn't live through this. Also the government have spent thousands trying to get me to live a bit longer.
I got to mum and dad's with the sole purpose of seeing how dad was, he's had a religion changing operation if you know what I mean. It was good to see him being so chipper and pain free after such a sensitive operation. I couldn't express how I felt to him though, I had gone there to see how he was, not for it to be about me.
As I was leaving I let my mouth go into overtime and upset mum, it was a childish thing to do, take out frustration on someone who has such an unconditional love for you. As I sat in the car sobbing I texted her and apologised. As I started to drive away she came out, I couldn't drive off and leave it the way it was that just wouldn't be right. So we sat and we talked, well she talked and I sobbed.
Finally it came out, the words got themselves in the right order and they fell out of my mouth as they fall out of my fingers onto this blog.
I'm not happy being ill but I'm not happy getting well what the f*ck is wrong with me? I just take my frustration out on the people I love, I hurt the people I love the most by being such an arse.
Once the problem had formed in my head I can start taking control of it. Mum isn't a massively religious person but she's got a deep spirituality about her and she suggested that if I was God fearing then I would believe that the challenges on this earth will test us but God would only give us challenges that he know's we are capable of fulfilling, whether we know that or not is another question. As that sank into my head she said that she hoped she was capable of living up to the challenge of the black card her son has been given.
I'm not a god fearing person there's only one person I'm scared of and that's Wend. I'm scared of losing her, of not living my life with her, of not growing old and more cantankerous with her.
So I came home and sobbed some more. I'd made my peace with mum, I cancelled the acupuncture session and I went to bed.
After waking and having a cup of tea Debbie Newby, the Lymphoma nurse specialist, rang me. I had wanted to ask her to go through my results again as there was terminology that didn't sit well in my simple brain and I wanted some clarification. As the conversation progressed I mentioned that while the care I received at the start of the journey was excellent this time now, the recovery time was very lonely. I also asked if there could be a physical rehabilitation system that would help cancer patients recover some level of fitness and whether that fitness would or could help their long term recovery. Whether anything comes from that or not I have no idea but I need to get my balance right again. My head is going a hundred miles an hour but my body is doing about five, I need to get going.
Whether I go back to the Cavendish centre I don't know, I guess I wanted a quick fix which was always going to be unlikely. But I also want to do things my way, if it fails then it's my fault not anyone else's. This makes it easier for me to live with and I do things to my standards be they better or worse than someone else I don't care, but they are my standards.
Phew it feels better to have that off my chest, perhaps I shouldn't leave it so long with out posting as it helps my head so much. Right going to chop wood in my man cave. Ug.