Breast cancer, Cancer, Chemotherapy, Hair loss, Health, Humor, Humour

The Highs and the Lows

I went to the hospital this morning to test my blood count to see if I’m ready to have round three of chemo tomorrow. Unfortunately, after all it has been through, my blood is now refusing to exit my body, so it was a bit of a painful process as the nurse prodded and poked at me, wondering if it might be easier to get blood out of a stone.

Rather than make the 3-hour round trip to the hospital in Manchester just for one blood test, we then decided to make the most of the journey and go to the nearby Trafford Centre for some shopping and lunch. I purchased this rather fetching trapper hat and a new coat and gloves for the winter weather that is fast descending on us. I’m pretty sure nobody will even dare to call me ‘Chemo’ in this baby!

It was a good job we didn’t drive straight home because the nurse called back just as we were leaving the Trafford Centre and asked me to go back to the hospital. Unfortunately, my blood count was even lower than it was last time, meaning I’m unfit for chemo tomorrow. My immune system is obviously getting a battering but it’s odd because I feel perfectly well. I did have a hunch that my count wasn’t going to measure up though, as last week I started feeling a little shaky and weak in the exact same way I felt after round one.

The oncologist prescribed me some steroids, which I am to take now and in the morning before heading back to the hospital tomorrow for another test. If the steroids work, round three should go ahead. However, if it doesn’t work, I may have to switch to weekly chemo sessions instead of three-weekly ones. I know this will mean a different dosage so perhaps it won’t make me ill for quite as long, but frankly, I’d like to avoid the change of medication. The current three-week cycle plan is convenient because it gives me at least a week of relative normality before I have to go back to chemo hell again. I don’t really fancy non-stop chemo hell for the next few months…

Oh, and one of the nurses told me I won’t get a wink of sleep tonight because of the steroids. Thanks for the optimism!

Otherwise, I’m all set for chemo. I got my fingers and toenails painted on Friday at the salon (by a girl who turned out to be my best friend’s sister’s best friend – small world!). Unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to have a manicure or pedicure because of the infection risk and because both include a little massage, which I also can’t have. But hey ho…

Speaking of nails, I thought I was being original when I painted my nails alternate orange and blue a month ago after the doctor told me to keep them painted to prevent them from going black from the chemo. But I was rummaging through some old photos the other day and it turns out I am two decades behind myself – I had exactly the same nails in 1996 when I was 14!

(You will see from this photo that, not only was i a natural-born trendsetter, i also had a keen interest in boys from a young age. Unfortunately, I am yet to find a suitable one…)

So, nothing else to do but cross my fingers for chemo tomorrow. It has been bucketing it down with rain for two days solid, so I’m rather looking forward to spending a week in bed.