General status update
Hair: Am only allowed to wash it once a week during chemo/cold cap, and today was The Day. This is terrifying, as every week I think it’s going to The Week when my hair starts coming out in clumps. It didn’t. It looks beyond terrible, as I’m not allowed to use a hair dryer, but no more hair than normal came out. Thank you, cold cap, for as long as it lasts – ALL my chemo buddies who haven’t used it have already lost all their hair.
Nausea demon: Was so quiet this morning that I felt almost normal, which was – odd. So odd, in fact, that I began to suspect that he had taken himself off on a weekend mini-break (perhaps to Bilbao: he keeps saying he wants to go and see the Guggenheim - he is a HUGE fan of Frank Gehry - before he returns to the infernal regions) with his mysterious new amour. However he began to make his presence felt towards lunch-time, so it seems not.
We’ve generally designated Saturday as everyone’s day off, and the Chemo Muse and Chemo Brian are playing scrabble together. This is painful to witness: the Chemo Muse is, obviously, a Ninja Scrabble Player and as for Chemo Brian, many of whose brain cells were obliterated with high class pharmaceuticals of a quite astonishing variety during his glory days in the late 60s / 70s – well, it might be better if they switched to Ludo. Current score 423 – 62, and I think she’s about to finish using all 7 letters across 2 triple word scores, and incorporating the ‘Q’ he has already put down. Brutal.
Fatigue/weakness: Not as bad as it was earlier in the week, but in general FEC 2 has been much, much worse in this respect than FEC 1.
Sleep, lack of: n/a
Anxiety level (1-10): It’s still 10 days until FEC3, but its shadow is already looming surprisingly large. You think FEC2 was bad? FEC3 is the really, really bad one. Everyone tells me so.
State of mind: Trying to be mindful, live in the moment, not ruin now by thinking forward about what is going to happen then. Success limited.
I woke up this morning feeling almost normal, which felt distinctly odd after 10 days of fairly consistent extreme awfulness since the administration of FEC2 a week ago on Wednesday. Today there has been a blissful sense of freedom from the sharper jabs inflicted by the pitchforks of the Chemo Demons – just low-level nausea, and feeling very tired, which is now a constant. But it’s perfectly bearable, and not unlike a mild hangover: and that’s as good as it gets on chemo - for me, at least.
There is 10 days ahead, now, all being well – i.e. as long I as remain free from any kind of infection – during which I can go out a bit, and do rather more, and generally regroup before FEC3, which will happen a week on Wednesday, January 23rd. I know already that FEC3 is usually very bad indeed, and considerably more unpleasant than FEC2, which was quite egregiously unpleasant itself – my oncologist told me so, and so have other women who have already experienced it. So I’m going to try to pack as much of a good time into the next 10 days as I can, do things I can remember in 2 weeks’ time when the Nausea Demon is riding his surf-board triumphantly on the vast waves of sickness cresting and breaking over me, again, and again, while the Chemo Nano-Rats swarm furiously in my stomach, biting and scratching viciously as they try to eat their way out from the inside, and I lie on the floor curled up in a foetal position, weeping and muttering that I just want to die, PLEASE let me die, that death really would be preferable to this.
I did that at one point during this chemo cycle, and the one before that, and the odds are I’ll be doing exactly the same thing next time. Being able to predict exactly how bad you are going to be feeling two weeks from now is really a very strange phenomenon.
So, tomorrow, all being well, R and I are going to pop along to the V&A, which is not far away, and see their much-praised ‘Hollywood Costume’ exhibition; I do love a nice frock.
This will be my first proper outing, far too many hospital visits apart, since going to see The Hobbit, during the ‘good week’ of FEC1 just after Christmas – I am beyond excited. Next weekend, just before FEC3, we have even grander plans – the icy weather, the trains and my bodily state permitting - a quick trip up to north Yorkshire to see BigSisFo, the MC and Hank the demented Hungarian Visla (and his humongous balls, obvs). But that seems a very long way away and rather ambitious, in my new, rather limited world: for now, a trip down the Yellow Brick Road to South Kensington tomorrow glitters in front of me like the most precious and desirable of baubles.
They’ve got the Ruby Slippers, you know – the ACTUAL Ruby Slippers from the Wizard of Oz.
p.s To all those who posted comments on the ' Walk On By' post on Wednesday, please have a look at my response in the comments column.