Breast cancer, Cancer, Chemotherapy, Health

Half Way Through (But Not Really Feeling Like It)

Next time I start a blog post with “In your face, insomnia,” please stop me. It wasn’t very wise. The steroids made sure I only slept for an hour at a time for the next few days, despite the fact that I felt (and still very much feel) like I’ve been hit around the head with a sledgehammer.

As soon as I got home from hospital on Tuesday, I switched on the electric heater in my room and tucked myself up in bed as the central heating was broken. I wasn’t quite bargaining on the heating being fixed within an hour though, and by that time the two cats had joined me in the warmest room in the house so I spent the first night sweating profusely under the weight of them as I tossed and turned in boiling temperatures.

I have remained in bed since then. Round three has definitely been much worse than round two. I think it’s partly because I had four weeks to recover from round one, partly because they artificially prepared me for this round with steroids when my body wasn’t really ready, and partly because chemo has a cumulative effect and makes you more tired as you go along.

I felt more sick this time, my veins have gone hard and my whole body is aching from the daily injections as if I’ve done three hours of spinning followed by four hours of weights and then a marathon. Still, I am half way through chemo, and that’s something to celebrate!

You may have heard about the flooding in Yorkshire and parts of the northeast of England. Well, it is definitely still raining but I can confirm the floods haven’t affected us. I have been much more concerned about the fact that both my parents have had a bad cold since Wednesday, so we’ve been washing our hands 60 times a day and doing everything to avoid me getting infected. So far I seem to be cold-free, which I can only imagine is due to the sheer amount of drugs they’ve given me to boost my immune system and things like that.

Fortunately, there’s been a healthy flow of post this week to keep me amused and happy as I drift in and out of slumber. Amongst the postal treats, I had lots of exciting books and DVDs and some chocolate-flavoured bath bombs (thank you, Alice!), pictured below with some Reese’s peanut butter cups fresh from South Carolina (I asked my pal Alex to send me some Southern fried chicken but she said the postman’s hands would get too greasy, so I let her off). I also had a couple of lovely cards, and a Graze box full of nuts and seeds and chocolate buttons, which kept me amused for a couple of hours on Thursday.

Hopefully I’ll be feeling better in a few days. The only thing you can do with chemotherapy is sleep and wait for time to make things feel better. I think I’ll go and relax with another bath bomb for a while…


9 thoughts on “Half Way Through (But Not Really Feeling Like It)

  1. Yes, stop me too, when I crow about how the bad chemo taste in the mouth isn’t too bad – I’ve been really cursed with it this time (my 4th session).
    I’m feeling much more tired this time, too. I think it IS cumulative, like you say. I feel like I’m wading through mud, or in one of those awful dreams where you need to run away from something but can’t.
    Regarding the infection thing – I’ve been having a bath every night with a cap full of ‘Dettol’. I try to get the bathroom really steamy, and breathe in the fumes. Perhaps me being silly, but I haven’t had any infections (yet). It’s also made my skin smooth and beautiful all over!

    • Hi, thanks so much for your comments – I just started to read a bit of your blog and you sound like you’re coping amazingly and being so positive. Did you lose your brows and lashes after round 3 then? I still have mine but fear they might go in the next few weeks.
      I have also had the taste in my mouth much worse this time – I was brushing my teeth every couple of hours for the first few days and would get up in the night and brush my teeth! At least it goes away after a week, right? I hope that’s the same for you too. I will bear in mind bathing in dettol – sounds a tiny bit harsh?! I’m just using lots of corsodyl for now… Where are you having your treatment?
      Best wishes to you for the next round! Laura

      • Hi Laura! Lashes and eyebrows are still hanging on, so maybe I’ll get through without losing them completely.
        Thanks for your kind comments. Yes, I do feel quite positive. My attitude is if my life is going to be short I’m not ruining the time I’ve got left beset by misery.
        Dettol! Make sure you just get the standard one for ‘personal hygiene ‘ use. There are some other ones that are for floors and stuff – they would be harsh! You only need a splash (it’s quite interesting -it goes white when it hits the water).
        I’m having my treatment at Torbay hospital in Devon. It’s excellent. If I get well enough I would like to become a ‘friend’ of the hopital and help raise money. The equipment provided by donations is stunning.
        Look after yourself. Eat well! Each chemo session seems to bring different challenges, but we’re getting there!

  2. Bryan Foat says:

    If you actually eat -and keep down- all the candy, snacks and stuff mentioned in your column – either sent for by you, sent to you or just picked up around town or on your journeys, you may become the only person I know to have gained weight while doing their chemo (yuk) therapy 😉

    I just shared the blog-spot with a female friend (una argentina) who went through a very similar experience to yours 3 years ago and seems to still be coming to grips with it. I am hoping that your experience and how you are dealing with it (very well from what the written words and photos you post reveal) may help her to cauterize some old wounds.

    Good luck getting your strength back, keeping the germs at bay and pushing on through the 2nd half. While there is definately a cummulative effect (not by accident…), there is also a ceiling/plateau — it doesnt just keep building up and geting worse — I didn’t feel any worse during the second half of mine and I hope you find the same to be true. While there are many similarities in the treatments and individual’s responses, the exact responses are – well, individual or individualized – as you well know by now.

    And yeah, seeing northern England awash on the news did bring you to mind, so it’s good to know that at least even though you are “under the weather” literally and figuratively, you seem to be weathering it (yeah, two puns for the price of one. I couldn’t help myself) pretty well, all things considered. I hope there was enough humor (humour) in this paragraph and energy in you to crack a smile… take care!

  3. Adriana Tomalino says:

    Hi Laura, nice to met you!
    I am female friend of Bryan. I have passed the same like you 4 years ago. I am feeling really well now and i have a normal life actually.
    Bryan is wrong!: I´ve gained weight while doing my chemo too.
    The effect of the treatment is cummulative but when you arrive to the final round you feel that have reached the goal. And you begin to “recharge” and feeling better everyday.
    I’m sensitive these days because I have my annual control studies. I am an optimist person like you seem to be.
    A kiss from Buenos Aires, Adriana.

    • Hi Adriana, thanks for your message(s)! Your first one reached me successfully yesterday but I had forgotten to press “approve” so that’s why you couldn’t see it on the blog – but don’t doubt your technical abilities!
      I’m so glad to hear you’re fully recovered now. It’s a long process but I know I will look back in a few years and it will all be a distant memory!
      I am definitely not losing weight. Fortunately I have an enormous appetite and am eating everything in sight, which I am sure helps!
      I will write a new blog post tomorrow so keep reading and feel free to comment in Spanish if you prefer.
      Take care and keep well! Best wishes, Laura

  4. Bryan Foat says:

    Hello Laura! I am the female friend of Bryan.
    I tell you: I had a a similar diagnostic than you, 4 years ago, aged 39. I am feeling really well actually and I do my life normally. Bryan is wrong, i have gained weigh with the treatment too!!
    The effect of the chemotherapy is cumulative but when you have the final application you will reach the goal, the path goes up and you will feel better everyday.
    A kiss from Buenos Aires, Adriana.

  5. Bryan Foat says:

    Algo màs para Laura, que finalmente olvidè poner porque de tanto luchar con el blog….se quedò conmigo…snif! (te matè?…ja!)

    “I am an optimist person, I am sensible this days because i am doing my control annual studies and is a stress to me. “

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