Apparently my husband thinks that I am the worst patient ever. I think this somewhat annoying trait (for those trying to care for you) I may have inherited from my mother.
You see, my sisters and I seem to have this inbuilt determination to just keep going (probably the best thing my mum has ever given to me) – and so stopping for chemotherapy is not something that sits well with me really…
Having said that, you have to know when you have met your match and I can honestly say that I have met my match with this one – well and truly. I even considered not writing a ‘Chemotherapy part 2’ because I am struggling and that is putting it mildly.
BUT I did say in the beginning that I would write a true and honest account of breast cancer so here it is – warts and all.
Chemo session # 4
On the morning of my fourth chemo dose, my little boy announced that he didn’t want me to go. This unexpectedly jolted me, because up until this point he had not made such an outright statement about the general goings on.
The truth was that I didn’t want to go to hospital either – even less now that he had said that. So I said it to him; I told him the truth – I didn’t want to go, but that daddy would take me and have me home for teatime, I just needed a quick dose of my medicine that’s all. He seemed satisfied with the answer and a cuddle, but I know deep down that he will have worried about this a lot in his little head because that’s just the way he is.
This was also the M.O.T morning with the oncologist where they check that your body is coping with the chemotherapy drugs (well as much as could be expected). It was only a quick review, but I took the opportunity to mention the bruising on my ribs something I had been worrying about. She said straight out that it was probably not the cancer, and just a posture thing. This was upsetting for me because she also (as well as my husband) had said outloud what I was thinking, just like that – the stark reality of secondary cancer.
I realised then, at that point, that it was never going to get any easier when the professionals tell it to you how it is (no sugar coating from here on in).
We also briefly discussed my blackened veins that were now struggling to stay open due to the chemo drugs harming them – she suggested using my other arm as an input (something I was trying to avoid as that is my weaker side following surgery).
The fourth chemo dose was ok – sort of, I mean my veins protested more – they had definitely decided chemo wasn’t their thing, but other than that it was the same drill.
Chemo session # 5
By the next chemo dose my children’s behaviour was starting to go down the pan. They were being kindly looked after by my mum and sister, and treated and placated – and they are doing so well, but they need more time with their mummy. You see, I say no (a lot less frequently nowadays) however I do say no, and mean it when I do.
My daughter made a bold statement that she wanted not just one, but three ‘sleep overs’ at grandma’s house on the morning of my fifth session. I am glad and relieved that she feels this way about being away from home at the young age of 3. However, after the first night she whispered to my mum that she wanted to come home again – and of course she did. She ran straight upstairs to my bedroom and lay her little head next to mine, gave me a smile, snuggled into me and fell asleep on our bed.
Chemo session # 6
I am unsure of what to say about this one, other than it hurt. Not physically but emotionally. Ridiculously I had forgotten a bit about how it really feels during and afterwards.
Again I somehow managed not to actually throw up – and I agreed with my chemo nurse in my pre- assessment that I have had it fairly easy with the side effects of treatment overall (although it doesn’t feel like it).
All I will say is this – I missed my babies. I missed them so much it hurt my heart, and I had only just seen them in the morning when I managed the school/ nursery drop off. They are only away for a day or two over treatment so I have no idea where all the emotion came from? It is a very strong feeling that only another mum would understand.
The only thing that got me through this one were the very kind words of a friend just telling me about something normal (something other than cancer) as the ‘C word’ was all consuming that day.
I am very lucky that my children are being looked after by my mum (who can do the job better than me) because I knew this time – that the last chemotherapy session was going to take more than a day or two to recover from.