Another round of chemotherapy done, six down two to go! Tom and I drove down on Thursday afternoon, completely forgetting that I was supposed to go in that day to get my bloods done to check that I’m healthy enough to continue treatment. I blame chemo-brain, I’m not sure what excuse Tom wants to use! Fortunately I was able to go in first thing Friday and the results were back in time for my 11am appointment.
I spoke to another different oncologist on Thursday, Jennifer. I am unable to comment on her glam levels as the consultation was over the phone, however judging by the last two, I have a good feeling about her. She seemed pleasant, asked me how everything had been going and how I had been dealing with the side effects. I told her that overall, things have been ok, but there were two things that were bothering me. The first was that since starting chemotherapy no matter if I am hot or cold, I sweat from the tip of my nose – a small annoyance. Jennifer didn’t have any suggestions for how to combat this, so I will keep using antiperspirant and hope that it stops by the time I am allowed to start socialising again. The second issue was that I am feeling more and more anxious about going in for treatment with every round. A day or two before having to go in, I can feel fear building up inside me, I become snappy and bad tempered (can you imagine?!) and by the time I get to the hospital I am a mess. I know that everyone has had to make adjustments to living with the pandemic, and many have suffered so much more than I have, but I really find it tough going in to the hospital on my own each time. So Jennifer prescribed me an anxiolytic. Well, I must have a good tolerance because I didn’t feel a thing after taking it and still ended up a mess on the ward. A higher dose next time I think!
I can really feel the side effects building up now. I’m not sure if it’s due to the new drugs or the accumulation of the previous rounds, but I was fully wiped out by the last round of chemo. I think the key now is to adjust my expectations. Instead of expecting to be out walking Frank every day and then disappointed when I can’t, I need to expect not to get out of bed for the first week following treatment, and then be happy when I do!
With the cold weather here for good now, I have had to move away from wearing caps. The back of my neck and ears just get too cold. I have some head scarves that I like to tie at the front in a bow and pair with big gold earrings. I was recently given a beautiful new scarf that I was trying out some different styles with, one style I wore for a full day before deciding that it made me look more like Professor Quirrell than a glam cancer patient. One positive of losing my hair is that this year for Halloween I can choose between dressing up as a pretty solid Professor Quirrell or ditch the headware altogether and go as a convincing Uncle Fester from the Addams Family.
Tom and I have enrolled in a postgraduate certificate in Clinical Education with Queens, Belfast. It’s a part-time distance learning course, something that many doctors and dentists do in order to show a commitment to further studies/career progression. As if six years at university isn’t enough? Anyway it is perfect timing to complete the course, it gives us focus one evening a week and is a good project for the year. Hopefully it also means we won’t have too much of a gap on our CV’s when we do return to work!
Margot & Lucy came to visit a few weeks ago and we walked over to the Devonshire Arms in Beeley. The only outside table with umbrella and heaters was taken when we arrived. The Prince girls promptly told me to “take my hat off” so the people occupying that table would see and let us sit down. It’s good to know that my friends are fully on-board with using my diagnosis for all they can get.
The plan now for Tom, Frank and me is to spend the next three weeks in Bakewell, then after round 7 we will go to stay at Tom’s parents in Leicestershire. We have been in Bakewell for nearly 6 months now. Mum and dad have been fantastic in welcoming us home with Frank, I think they haven’t minded Tom cooking for them most nights either! It will be nice to have a change of scene for a couple of weeks before going back to London for my last round of treatment. The next time I go down for chemotherapy I will also meet with my surgeon, Laura, and hopefully she will be able to give me a date for surgery.