Sunday, 1 May 2011

Number Fourteen: The Therapy

A Card Carrying member

I have fallen into calling it ‘chemo’ even though from the start I really didn’t want to. I have a name that you can’t shorten- this bothered me at school because all the cool kids seemed to get their names shortened. (Or even better- get a nick name!) How do you know for sure if you’re cool or not when your name is already short?
Chemotherapy hasn’t seemed like one of my mates I’d like to give a pet name to. It seems like an evil thing I have to endure. (Not friendly at all!) I suppose when I look more deeply at this theory it does unravel quite quickly- it might seem evil but it is in fact in my life to try and prolong it! (An evil friend with good intentions?)

So I’m focusing in the ‘therapy’ side of the word- there are so many therapies I’d rather be taking advantage of at the moment. The fish foot therapy is one I’d definitely like to give a go. I’ve had differing reviews though from… ‘It’s really relaxing.’ to… ‘Really? I hated it! I kept kicking them away and couldn’t wait for my 15 minutes to be up!!’  Beauty therapy- this would also be preferable. Conjuring up visions of relaxed spa days at Whittlebury Hall. But for now I’m saddled with the chemotherapy!

6 cycles didn’t seem like many before I’d had 1. Now 5 to go sounds more like a million- who said knowledge is power? Ignorance was definitely bliss! Going back there remembering how it made me feel the last time will be harder than it was to go for the very first time. Funny how you can so instantly forget the excruciating pain of childbirth and want to do it all over again- what absolute magic that is! Not just being able to banish the pain of labour from your mind but also the previous nine months of discomfort. I arrived home four hours after my second baby was born crowing about my amazing labour and how I wanted another one already-ha! God, holding that baby in your arms has magical affects! (I’m now wondering just what could be delivered to me post-chemo that could possibly make me want to return…answers on a postcard?)
I do now appreciate why as the ‘newbies’ Rob and I were the only chirpy ones in the waiting room (my how this was illustrated beautifully by Susan in this week’s Desperate Housewives!)
So, this is how it was for me - the side effects- short, medium and long term…
Short- the nausea. Bad enough to have me sat weeping on my toilet floor about never going back again. The fatigue- I’ve never exactly been a late night party animal but this was a tiredness like I’d never known- laying in an uncomfortable position yet not having the will to move a cramped limb. In actual fact I think the fatigue can be used slightly to combat the nausea- sleeping through the sick part is definitely a method I intend to try again!
Medium- the mouth. My teeth are beyond sensitive, my gums ache and my tongue is so sore! So eating is unpleasant (not altogether a bad thing- think I’ve lost a little bit of weight!) and as all my favourite foods are off the menu now anyway (No raw steak or shell fish-boo!) due to my compromised immune system. Ugh! The other medium term side effect is my digestive system (I’m trying really hard here not to talk about the pooing but it’s been such a HUGE part of my life for the past week I just don’t think it’s fair to leave it out- openness and honesty- that what you were promised- remember?) Constipation, nausea and tiredness- sounds like we’re back to pregnancy again! It is very similar- just an extreme version of each of all the side effects! So regaining the delicate balance of my digestive system has been my challenge of the week- not an easy one believe me!
Long term- the hair. It’s definitely thinning but is still hanging on in there- you’d think I’d be pleased about this but I hate my hair so much at the moment it’s actually quite frustrating! I know it’s going to fall out and so I have been preparing myself for the past 3 months for the event- we’ve covered the fact I’m not a patient patient!
The 'evil friend' being administered

I’m feeling better now. So, on the up side I now have 11 days to enjoy (with a perfectly regular digestive system!) before I have to go back for any more ‘therapy’- let’s hope they’re sunny ones! My tan is coming on beautifully!


  1. Wow Erin, this sounds tough. I hope your time between therapy is enjoyable. Good luck with it.

  2. Erin, ur doing brilliant honey, ur sense of humour still shines thru in ur posts; good luck with the rest of the chemo. Love Chez. xx

  3. Thanks guys. Just realised that I missed out the best of all 'therapies' RETAIL THERAPY!!! How could I? Xx

  4. Just found your blog. You're doing amazing. Am officially part of your online cheer squad x

  5. And I found you through Sarah and have also become part of theh squad.

    My daughter and friends did the fishy thing this weekend as part of her Birthday present, apparently it tickles but they loved it. x