MarySmith’sPlace – Cancer Diary #05

Sunday, October 04

The countdown to the second chemo cycle has begun. On Wednesday they’ll check my bloods, on Thursday I’ll start on steroids again, on Friday I’ll have toxic drugs dripped into me and on Saturday I’ll take anti-nausea pills and, as they are what caused the constipation last time, I’ll have my liquorice at the ready. I promise I won’t eat too much of it!

I’m hoping it won’t be very much worse than the first dose but those in the know say the side effects become progressively more severe so I’m kind of expecting next weekend not to be great. But who knows?

I certainly didn’t expect to feel as well as I have this last week. The weather has, mostly, been pretty good, which always helps my mood. Yesterday it rained all day and I wasn’t out at all but on other days I’ve been out walking with my son, gradually increasing the length of the walks so I can manage two and a half to three miles comfortably on the flat. At the end of June when I had blood clots dancing in my lungs I could hardly walk a hundred yards without being out of puff. Today, I even walked round Doach Woods, which involves what feels to me at the moment, quite a steep incline.

Walking in Dalbeattie Forest

In between walks I’ve been busy in the garden: cutting back, tidying up, a bit of digging and planting bulbs (though I’ve forgotten what I put where, so if I’m still here in spring there may be surprises). I’m well aware this state of affairs will probably not last and I am truly grateful for this week, in which it has been easy to forget I have cancer.

A golden hedgehog in Dalbeattie Forest

This clearly surprises some people. When they ask how I am and I say, ‘Fine, thanks’ they say, ‘Oh, but how are you really feeling?’ The unspoken meaning behind the question is, ‘you have cancer, are on chemo and must surely be feeling dreadful and exhausted, not to mention be emotionally distraught and weepy and afraid.’

I’ve only had one dose of chemo, and, although I felt pretty tired and out of sorts for a few days, it was easier than expected (apart from the constipation!). And, yes, in the beginning when I first learned about the tumour, my emotions were all over the place, mainly at the thought of the DH, my son and the cat, oh, the poor cat, having to manage without me. When I first knew I had cancer I went from zero to 100 mph in seconds – telling my son we should put stickers on any of the paintings and art work he would like in case if his father remarried and his new wife turned out to be a grasping so-and-so and wouldn’t let my son have what was rightfully his. Fortunately, it’s not possible to live in such a state of heightened emotion for any length of time. That would be really exhausting and emotionally draining.

Would anyone remember to feed the cat?

I had a weep when my friend Sue received her, not good, biopsy result and I had another teary episode today when my son left to return to Glasgow. He’s only been gone a few hours and I’m missing him already but that’s all right, it’s normal – what’s not all right is not knowing when we can see each other again because of bloody Covid-19 restrictions and my need to be extra-vigilant about infection – any infection.

Let’s hope I won’t be feeling too yucky when I write up next week’s diary entry.

134 thoughts on “MarySmith’sPlace – Cancer Diary #05

  1. Glad you had some good weather to enjoy. I stole some dry moments on Thursday to plant bulbs too – but mine were fritillary to go in my seasonal wet patch. It should be ideal for fritillaries, but then again, there’s too much grass, so I sowed Yellow Rattle too in the hope of parisitising it down a bit.
    In the deepest hours – just think of the garden.
    We’ll be thinking of you. xxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • We have been lucky with the weather recently – not often Scotland does better than further south! I have fritillaries in a damp patch – never sure whether I should split them at some point? Thanks for thinking of me – I do appreciate it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve always left mine to self-seed. If they get very crowded you could move them ‘in the green’. I brought some from my old house and they seemed to move well, but the test is whether they come up in the new year!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. As always I’m grateful for the update, Mary. It is so lovely you had a nice week in the garden and outside. I don’t know why, but your thoughts of DH marrying a monster made me laugh. I do hope your side effects are not worse but will pry for that outcome just in case hoping doesn’t work. All the best to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy to hear you’ve been able to get out and about, Mary, and in such a beautiful place, too. As for how you are doing, all I add is that what helps me get through unhappy times is this old saying, “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Just in case.” I often do that, though it doesn’t mean I EXPECT the worst. Only that if it happens, I’ve got my Game Plan figured out and won’t be caught off guard.

    With that being said, I’m sending you well wishes for an easier time than you are braced for. Hope it’s pretty smooth sailing, all things considered. And I firmly believe you will be here to see your all your bulbs and other plants in the spring! Keep those kickass boots shined up and ready to go, my friend. You’ve got hundreds of us pulling for you! 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Marcia. It’s a good saying and worth remembering. It would be nice if it was less awful than I’m expecting – and yes, the boots are ready. I do appreciate the support you – and others – have shown. It really does help.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You sent us your Scottish weather. It has rained here for 11 days, and it’s still raining. The outbuilding (brick shed) has a flooded floor, and the garden is like a swamp. But if it means you got to have a pleasant walk with your son, I will take that.
    Good luck for next week, you know we are all thinking of you.
    Best wishes, Pete. x

    Liked by 1 person

    • It rained all day yesterday but the sun was shining again today. It’s not often we get the best of the weather so I made the most of it. It sounds like it’s about to change. Hope it stops raining on you, though. Thanks for wishing me good luck and it’s good to know people are thinking of me.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Steph. I’m hoping the Friday won’t be too bad, especially as I’ll be on steroids for a couple of days. I’ve decided I’ll simply take to my bed if the following days are rough. Fingers crossed they won’t be as bad as I fear.

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  5. Pingback: One night only | Barb Taub

  6. Mary, stick your son’s name on every bloody thing you can!! Write a letter to the solicitor saying everything’s his when you go in 2045 ( about the same time I’ll be joining you!) Chin up, as my nanna would say.Still sending those positive vibes ( though they are a bit slower this week – my knees are playing up!)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Mary, thanks for these blogs, which keep us in touch with you. I pray that everything goes better than expected with your next treatment. Sure hope you can find a neighbor or someone to take care of your sweet kitty in your absence. If not, maybe you could board the cat. I wish I were there to help you! Much love and best wishes, my friend. Also, please let Sue know I’m praying for her, too.

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  8. So pleased you’ve been enjoying your walks and getting out in the garden, Mary. Wishing you all the very best for the next round of treatment. Sending healing thoughts your way.

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  9. i ‘ll add my healing and good luck wishes to this ever-growing list …I hope numero 2 isn’t as bad as you are thinking, Mary but at least you are well prepared to meet it head-on and kick it into touch…Sending hugs and healing Buddha vibes 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

      • You are welcome, Mary.. Donna took Echinea.. Recommended by her oncologist who said it wasn’t proven but many of the ladies took it and it helped keep their white blood cells a bit higher than without and luckily her blood count stayed above the point when she would have had to have a hickman line inserted which was her fear and luckily she just stayed above that… I am praying your fezrs are not realused and you won’t have any adverse symptoms… Hugs xx

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  10. Thank you for the update, Mary. I’m glad the liquorice helps with your constipation, Mary. I think you still feel okay during the first cycle of chemo. What you heard is right that you may feel weaker in the next cycles. I was very weak from the second cycle on, but I kept walking every day.

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  11. The cat set me off. It was Ani I was worried about most… how do you tell a dog…who will look after them etc? I still go off in floods at that. It is always the daftest things though… the big things are easier to handle.
    The thought of a decent walk is nice though. I have to traipse the oxygen tank with me and can’t manage slopes yet… and Covid is an utter pain in the ruddy backside.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. It’ll be a great thing to get this next toxic dose over with Mary, for it to do its work and then leave you alone. I’m so looking forward to you being on the other end of that, next week sometime, and hopefully not feeling too bad as a result of it. It’s a really foggy morning here, but I’m thinking, yes, fog always clears away. Thinking of you, and will be keen to hear how you get on with this next bit. xx

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    • It will be good to get it over with, Janette although now I’m hearing cycle three is worse! I’m just going to get through it and if I feel rough I can stay in bed. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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  13. Hi Mary it great to hear you are doing so well. As you say you may feel worse but a lot of how you do will depend not only on the drugs but your attitude too. You are being very open and upfront with yourself and us. All we can do is send you healing vibes and love ..mm…any advice, take laxative and savour your liquorice 💜💜💜💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Remember the time we went to Doach woods.
    Conor lost my car keys .
    Never a dull moment.
    Dried apricots r good for constipation if u need a change from liquorice.
    I hope ur next round of chemo will b gentle on u . Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do remember the time Conor lost your car keys in Doach Woods. Sometimes I wonder if I might come across them one day! I have also been eating dried apricots. I’m hoping the next round won’t be as bad as I’m starting to fear. Just have to grin and bear it whatever happens. Thanks for being in touch.

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  15. I am really glad to hear you had a good week, Mary. I have also been thoroughly upset by Sue’s recent news. So hard to have both of you and Danny Kemp ill. I feel as if my blogging world is collapsing and it was the only stable thing in my life. All the very best with your treatment on Friday. You may have to take it a bit easier this time around. Hugs.

    Liked by 3 people

    • The coincidence of Sue and I both having lung cancer at the same time is extraordinary. Can’t think what we did to upset the universe so much! I didn’t know about Daniel Kemp being ill, though. We’re still here, still blogging so don’t go into mourning just yet. Thanks for your best wishes for Friday. I’ll be glad to get it over and think that it’s doing what it should to shrink the tumour. Hugs back.

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  16. Mary you are constantly in my thoughts, feel as if I have known you for years. Hang in there. Like someone said above, so many of us unwell at the moment, seems so unfair. You’ve met a stepmonster before, so stay well to avoid that. whatever happened to her?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Lucinda. Yes, it does feel we’ve known each other for years. Thanks for thinking of me. The stepmonster seems to be alive and well. I haven’t spotted her for a while though she’s perhaps out and about less – of course, I’m hardly out in the street as I don’t go into shops. I think she gave up driving earlier this year. I would really like to outlive her!

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  17. When my mother was ill my parents checked their wills carefully, calling the putative “grasping so-and-so” my father might go on to marry “the floozie”. There never was a floozie in fact and all worked out very fairly. So glad you had a good time planting bulbs and I’m sure you’ll see them come up, but like mine, it will be wherever the squirrel has moved them to.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad it’s not just me who envisages scenarios which may never happen! I’m pleased to hear “the floozie” never materialised. I don’t have a squirrel but field mice tend to move the bulbs around, eating quite a few of them as they do.

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  18. Just catching up with these Mary as they started when I was holiday and I clearly missed them. Good to see you’ve been out and about, make the most of it for as long as you can. I was always off for about 5-6 days after chemo but was fine after that. Yes it ‘might’ get progressively worse as it takes it’s toll and it ‘might’ not. Just make the most of doing what you can when you can – that’s the one thing you’ve got control of in this process. Reading back about the ‘lost’ appointment details and waiting for the chemo to come down – brought back all the glitches in the system that can be so frustrating. If the constipation gets worse, don’t suffer with it as it can get bad. If you can’t access your doctor, try using your MacMillan nurse to get through to ask for some Lactulose. When all else failed that did the trick for me. Stay well and being positive really helps as does the swearing – yes they are a hospital and they should be able to access some ‘f*cking paracetamol’ – even if they have to ask for it in triplicate with a form signed in blood.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for catching up with the posts, Jill. It seems there are no hard and fast rules and everyone reacts differently to the chemo. I read all your boob blogs and was full of admiration for how strong you remained through it all – hope I can be the same. I definitely won’t suffer the same level of constipation again. Had they told me in advance I could have been prepared. It’s not like they didn’t know it was probably going to happen. Anyway, I’ll be putting on my kick ass boots and positive attitude on Friday.

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      • Here’s to the kick ass boots!! I find it amazing the sort of stuff they never tell you. The anti sickness pill causing constipation is one, but also severe constipation can make you feel sick and so you take more anti sickness pills … that would have been very helpful to know! That’s why writing about it makes it incredibly helpful for anyone else reading. Do you mind me asking which chemo you’re on? – DM me if you prefer. All the best for Friday x

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        • In the booklet they gave me there is a section on side effects after the treatment with tick boxes and a traffic light assessment – green, amber, red. If you are ticking red then you should contact the advice line immediately. Two amber boxes equals one red so same advice. But, when I asked the nurse what criteria were used for determining whether the side effect was green, amber or red, she couldn’t tell me.
          I am on Pemetrexed (800 mg) and Carboplatin (475 mg).

          Liked by 1 person

          • You’re on a different cocktail so can’t offer you any handy hints, though I suspect they might be interchangeable. I went back and looked at my patient record (which nobody could be bothered filling in for my first 4 sessions – I naively thought it was essential). I only had the final two filled in because I asked and it was so scribbled it was barely legible anyway. Had anybody gone through the book with me they’d have pointed out the symptoms chart to me (I’ll email you a copy to see it if it’s any more informative). After 8 days of constipation I finally got it seen to, the book observes that 72 hours is severe!!

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  19. Fingers here in France are officially crossed and frequent bursts of positive energy aimed in your direction. I’ve always believed in the healing properties of nature. I do believe you will see your flowers in bloom and beyond.

    If you will forgive me, besides the licorice, and apricots, nature is filled with such bounty which is fiber dense. Perhaps a few days of less processed foods and more vegetables, beans, and whole grains to see how this can aid you in the days to come.
    Love Léa xxx

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  20. Hope you continue to feel well. If it’s any consolation, I had years of cancer treatments for stage 4 thyroid cancer, but am still here 15 years after being diagnosed. Yes, I’ve had to learn to live with the after-effects of all the treatments, but they have given me bonus years with my family. I’m 4 years clear so far, and try to live each day to the full. Good luck with the rest of your treatment.

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    • Thanks, Noelle. Dreary weather and I don’t get along so I am dreading the clocks turning back later this month with dark days ahead. I’ve made the most of the fine weather we’ve been having, though.

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        • We only have one time zone – being a very small country – and it is only one hour difference for everyone. I have never really got to grips with American time differences, whether standard or daylight saving 🙂

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    • Thanks for your good wishes for round 2, Audrey. I hope I’m not being too optimistic in looking forward to seeing the bulbs come up in spring. Glad you are enjoying the Afghanistan posts. I’ve been enjoying the memories.

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  21. I am late to your blog this week, Mary. I am holding you close in thought as you progress through your treatment plan. I say hold onto every positive experience possible while going through the chemo. I know it must have been hard to see your son go, especially in these Covid times and knowing you must be diligent with protecting yourself. Your walk through the woods looked so peaceful. You are always on my mind and in my prayers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Maggie. The poem you posted on your blog reminded me of my walks in the woods and how calming it is. It was hard to say goodbye to my son, not knowing when I’ll next see him. I’m really beginning to be very resentful of Covid restrictions although I do stick to them.

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  22. I hope everything goes well (at least as well as last week, Mary), and I’m sure your winning attitude will help. Each person is different and treatments are also very different, so fingers crossed. I’m happy you managed to enjoy the weather and your walks. I know how much you value them, and every moment counts. Thinking of you and sending you some positive energy (also eating some prunes. Not sure it will help you, but..) 😉

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    • Thank you, Olga. I’m trying to remain positive. Being out in the sunshine the last few days has definitely helped my mood. Dreading the winter weather and dark days, though. They’ll test my positive attitude. I hope you enjoyed your prunes – someone has sent me a selection of dried apricots, dates and figs so I should be OK. Thanks for the positive energy.

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  23. The good weather always helps, doesn’t it, Mary. I’m glad you’ve been enjoying your walks. I always find walking helps clear away the clutter and cobwebs that builds up in my head. Strangely, walking along the coast on a blustery day also has the same effect.
    I hope all goes well over the next few days.
    I’m thinking about you.
    Take care
    xxxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, it clears the clutter allowing you to live in the moment instead of worrying about the future. Thanks for your kind thoughts and good wishes. I had blood taken today so am keeping my fingers crossed there’s nothing to prevent the chemo going ahead on Friday.

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    • Thanks, Randall. I’m beginning to feel a bit nervous now in case anything shows up in the bloods to prevent the treatment going ahead on Friday – and a bit nervous about the side effects this time – but also looking forward to week two when I’ll start to feel more like me again. I hope. Thanks for reading and and commenting.

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