It’s my birthday today, and it was a lovely morning of cards and presents and flowers with R, who didn’t go in to work until later on (R and I managed to buy each other the same book for our birthdays, which are on consecutive days, just as we did at Christmas – we’ve really got to stop doing this). I was feeling much better in general – nausea and internal toxicity back down to bearable levels - and intending to walk down to Holland Park after lunch, to get some much-needed fresh air and exercise, before returning to write my blog post.
Then, completely out of the blue, it was as if my batteries had been removed; I was barely able to stand, and just had to lie down immediately. It’s the strangest sensation, when your body is simply unable to respond to the commands of your brain, although given that it happened in exactly the same way during FEC2, I don’t know why I wasn’t expecting it.
It’s day 8 of the chemo cycle, which means we’re into the ‘no immune system’ period: the last dose of chemo has now had time to knock out all the platelets in my blood and I’m very, very weak, and completely overwhelmed by fatigue. The blog post I was planning for today remains unwritten, and I spent the afternoon on the sofa in the arms of Chemo Brian, whilst Chemo Rat Brian reclined alongside in oriental splendour on his new golden velvet cushion (a present from the lovely Andrea Gillies) like a small woolly satrap:
It’s getting quite crowded on that sofa now, but in a good way.
There’ll be a proper blog post again tomorrow, all being well. I’m learning to accept now that on certain days of the cycle it’s just not possible to do very much at all, and there’s no point in getting upset about it.
It will pass.
By my reckoning, if my last dose of chemo is administered as planned on March 27th, then the side effects should have done their worst by the 10th of April, and that is the day I will be free from this chemical prison.
And the first thing I will do when I get my 'get out of jail free' card is to walk straight back down the Fulham Palace Road to the hospital, not to be injected with toxic chemicals, or have a scan, or get my PICC line flushed, or talk to an oncologist, but to get back into the swimming pool (I joined the sports club there 9 months before my cancer was diagnosed) and swim and swim and swim.
Only 69 days, and three more doses of chemo, from now.
We're halfway through, just about: I've stopped counting up, and started to count down.