This is the first blog post dictated to and transcribed by my mother because I simply feel too ill to switch on an electrical appliance right now. I think adding photos to this post may prove too technologically challenging for my Mum, but at least I can trust her spelling to be immaculate.
They told me chemo would be like a bad hangover. This was a fairly accurate description. I would say more precisely it’s a cross between a shocking hangover, a bad migraine and food poisoning in India. (I have direct experience with all of the above).
The nurse at the Christie told me I probably wouldn’t get sick because of the sheer quantity of the strongest anti-sickness drugs I had taken intravenously and by mouth, plus the sea-bands I’m wearing around my wrists, but boy did I feel sick yesterday and even had to take the back-up sickness pills they told me I probably wouldn’t have to take for another few days.
It took every ounce of strength in my body and mind not to puke, but I was determined not to because I figure keeping all the drugs inside and keeping the nutrients from my lovely lunch would make me stronger. So, I took up a number of activities during the last 24 hours in order to take my mind of vomming:
1) I began humming. Unfortunately the main song in my head yesterday was an Example single, so nothing too exciting, but it kept me from puking on a number of occasions. I am known for my penchant for whistling, but this has proved too energetic with the onset of the effects of chemo. A Brazilian man named Adão told me 12 years ago that the woman who whistles’s husband will die (‘Mulher que assobia, marido morre’), but I discarded that proverb a long time ago since there does not appear to be any evidence of it yet and I remain unmarried, so might as well continue whistling for the time being.
2) I employed my mother as an audio-book. I asked her what book she was reading and what it was about. She then gave me a full explanation of the first 60 pages of Up in the Villa by Somerset Maugham, which kept me occupied for a good 15 minutes or so. It was also an easier and less embarrassing exercise than if I had had to explain to her the first half of the last book I read, which in this case was Fifty Shades of Grey.
The good thing is, if I do vomit, my new pixie crop will mean I don’t have to hold my hair out of my face, which is always a bonus. Y’see, if there’s ever a silver lining to be had, I’ll find it!
One of the cats has been renamed Nurse Molly by my father because she decided to sleep on my bed to keep me company last night. Her presence was actually quite beneficial because I was determined not to disturb her and therefore even more determined not to be sick. But I didn’t find her very nurse-like when she stood outside my door this morning for 10 minutes noisily trying to cough up a fur-ball.
The other cat, Tilly, has also been hailed for her human-like qualities after she managed to switch on the TV all by herself using the remote the other night. We went downstairs to find her watching the Olympics on the sofa by herself at midnight. Tilly is obviously a big Team Yorkshire fan too.
24 hours later, I am feeling less sick and less head-achey and have managed to consume three ginger biscuits, four steroid tablets, a big anti-sickness capsule, two Paracetamols, a bowl of strawberries, half a cup of tea and two slices of toast. And lots of water. I did lose my appetite for the whole of the rest of yesterday and had to sacrifice two lamb chops fresh from the butcher, but apparently the steroids make me hungry and I’m definitely feeling my appetite returning.
We have to take my temperature at regular intervals (actually, at least once a day, but with the Price family paranoia, we’ve been doing it at least 8 times a day). We had to purchase an expensive tympanic (ear) thermometer yesterday as the standard under-the-tongue one was giving me readings that practically could have had me for a corpse. After 24 hours in bed, I am doing pretty well on the temperature-front so there have been no A & E trips thus far.
A district nurse has just been round to the house to inject my stomach with something to stimulate the recovery of my cells. I am told this will make my whole body ache pretty badly so I’m sure I’ll be feeling like I’ve done a few Olympic triathlons within an hour or so.
Thank you for all your wonderful messages of support from all around the world. I’m sorry I haven’t had chance to reply to most of you yet but I am reading every email and letter and card and it really means the world to me, so keep it up! I’ve had a few inquiries about sharing the blog and of course the answer is yes, I’d be delighted for any of you to share my experiences with anyone you think may want to read about it all.