Two down, four to go.

The good news is when I went to the hospital yesterday, my blood count was back to normal and I was allowed to have the full dose of chemo. The extra few days in bed and Sunday’s barbecue and apple pie obviously helped. Aside from the couple of hours kept waiting (if this is what it’s like at a private hospital, I dread to think how long it takes on the National Health System), the chemo session went surprisingly fast.

The bad news is that because my immune system didn’t recover quickly enough last time, I couldn’t be given the heavy injection of £900-immune-system-boosting drugs the next day. Instead I have to have a different injection of drugs every single day for the next 10 days. Fortunately, the district nurse has just been around to give me the first shot (one down, nine to go) and I can safely say it wasn’t nearly as bad as the one at the hospital yesterday. Well, they do say the way to get over a fear of needles is to turn yourself into a human pin cushion…

I must say, I wasn’t expecting the slew of positive comments on my ‘glamourousness’ after posting this picture of me in my hospital chair on Facebook yesterday. Heloiza was right – I’ve had this dress for many years and it really was ‘something I just threw on’ for comfort. You need something loose around the old waistband when you’re injected with various litres of liquid drugs, but it’s nice to know y’all think I look glam at the same time! (Note, I was still wearing Valerie yesterday – more to come on the wigs in a later blog post).

Upon leaving the hospital, I issued my parents with a verbal list of words that are banned until further notice because they make me feel queasy. These include: blood, bloods (particularly nasty), chemo and chemotherapy. Simples! You’ll be pleased to know I’ve managed to keep from puking, through sheer power of mind, of which I am very proud.

Back at home, Nurse Molly bounded straight to the rescue and has been by my side for 24 hours after a stressful weekend of visitors to the house for Mum’s birthday. I am not convinced by what they say about animals knowing when humans are ill though. I think Molly and her brethren just seize the chance for some extra comfy sleep time when they see there is a warm human in bed at unusual hours of day.

That said, she is very good company and enjoys slotting into any position I make for her on the bed. I felt less sick and less unwell during my first night of chemo, probably because I was more concerned about not kicking Molly and letting her get a good night’s sleep. She does also love any chance to watch TV with me and has enjoyed watching the UK version of The Bachelor, though she is a bit upset that the girl called ‘Tabby’ didn’t win.

I read in an article yesterday that women under 30 make up just 1% of all breast cancer cases in the UK – that’s about 500 women my age diagnosed per year, and a statistic I hadn’t heard before. So, with a population of around 60 million, you could say I was pretty unlucky. That said, I actually don’t feel that unlucky. I feel lucky that they found it, lucky that it came early on in my life and at a time when I had the people and financial support I needed, and lucky that it wasn’t someone else close to me, like my mum.

And, on a positive note, I am pleased to say I’m feeling much, much better so far this chemo round than the last. However, I do seem to remember it getting worse by the day, so I shall go back into hibernation to await further symptoms shortly. Thank you again for all your wonderful messages of support, to which I will eventually reply.

Finally, the coral-and-blue striped nail varnish started to chip off after a few days so I have replaced it with dark grey nail polish to fulfill the need to ward off chemo-induced black fingernails. However, I must say, the Union Jack-inspired nail paint was a hit with the locals.On visiting my very amusing GP in the village last week, I noticed he did a double-take on my nails. Two days later when I returned to him for another check-up, he was quick to remark:

“Did you not have enough of the blue polish left then?”