MarySmith’sPlace – Cancer diary #06

Cancer Diary #06

Monday, October 12: I’m a day late with this week’s cancer update but I was too tired yesterday to type it up.

Second treatment was on Friday morning. I’d had blood taken for checking on Wednesday; on Thursday’s pre-chemo assessment call they said the bloods were fine. I was asked about side effects and how I was and able to say I was fine and had, in fact felt really well over the last couple of weeks. Even so, I was slightly nervous as I pulled on my kick ass boots because of hearing how the side effects can become worse with each successive treatment cycle.

I didn’t need another ECG so there wasn’t so much hanging around as last time, apart from what seems the usual wait for the pharmacy to send the drugs down. One of the nurses informed me they were slightly worried about my kidneys – not enough to prevent treatment going ahead, but to make them want another blood test in a week. And I should drink more – lots more – water to prevent dehydration. Of course, I immediately though of my friend’s husband who experienced kidney damage during his cancer treatment and had to stop the treatment all together. I know each of us is different, and the nurse was reassuring, but …

I drank so much water (and soup and orange juice) I had to be unplugged and make my way, guiding my drip stand, to the loo, desperate to pee. That was all a bit of a palaver, being only able to use one hand. Memo to self: don’t wear tights next time. Came home, cooked dinner, went to bed quite early and slept well.    

On Saturday, I wrote and put up my Afghanistan blog post. In the afternoon, the DH and I went to Carrick Shore to meet up with photographer friend, Kim Ayres for a photo shoot! Kim very kindly offered to take a photo of me and the DH (before cancer and treatment changed my appearance) because as he rightly suspected, we don’t possess a photo of the two of us together. It was cold at the shore but the sun came out from time to time and it is one of the most beautiful places in Dumfries & Galloway holding many, many happy memories for us both. We thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon – great to visit Carrick after so long and wonderful to meet up – socially distanced – and chat with a friend.

It made me realise how circumscribed my life has become because of Covid restrictions and the cancer treatment. Apart from walks in the countryside with the DH, I’m more or less confined to home in case I pick up an infection, which would postpone my treatment – and it could be any kind of infection, not necessarily Covid. My white blood cell has halved since the first treatment so there’s not much there to fight off bugs.

On Sunday, I described myself to someone who asked as feeling ‘low grade yucky’. I’d wakened several times in the night because if I drink two plus litres of water throughout the day, I need to pee – and I had heartburn. The last time I had heartburn like this was when I was six months pregnant and had the only glass of wine – white – during my pregnancy and had to spend the night sitting up against my pillows. That was almost thirty years ago. I’ve been lucky to have a very efficient digestive system and I’m not happy at the thought of having heartburn or indigestion as a side effect of treatment.

I wanted to go for a walk – the sun was shining and who knows how many more days of sunshine are left as we rush towards winter – but by Sunday afternoon I understood the expression ‘bone tired’.

Today is the same. By this time after my first treatment, I was feeling OK, so I have to admit I’m already dreading the next treatment cycle, and the one after. This sucks. But, hey, at least I didn’t have constipation this time – there’s always a positive. And, feeling rough will be worth it if the drugs are shrinking the tumour – and I can regain some quality in my life. Hoping to be more upbeat next time!

105 thoughts on “MarySmith’sPlace – Cancer diary #06

  1. Heartburn is far more miserable than it sounds… I had it during pregnancy too, and since this damnable thing took up residence. And I don’t start with the treatment for another two days…
    Which reminds me. I need to drink more…

    Liked by 8 people

  2. Hi Mary and Sue. Just remember it’s okay to feel not okay. It’s okay to have a moan, to be fed up. When I was having my treatment, husband made me a “sod off” sign that I could wave at him if I didn’t want to talk. It became a family joke sign for whenever anybody was in bad mood. I’m glad you can write about what’s happening – and share the lighter times – it’s up to the rest of us to cheer you two on, and it’s wonderful to see how many are doing that. That’s a testament to how many real and online friends you have. Off to raise a glass of water to the both of you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Due to a number of gremlins, including health, I’ve finally caught up on your diary. I’m ashamed it has taken so long. Your candor and your humor will go a long way and don’t forget those boots!
    Love, Lea xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for reading over the old posts and catching up, Lea. I’m sorry to hear you’ve been having health problems and hope you are on the mend. I won’t forget my boots – they are a big part of the positivity I need.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The treatments sound like they have more than their share of ups and downs which may present challenges along the way. At least some problems from before have subsided. You are asking a lot of your body and I would imagine the adjustments come slowly.

    The photo shoot sounds lovely. What a nice gesture!

    You are in my prayers every day. I am glad to see your update this morning.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. You don’t have to be upbeat, Mary. Nobody expects that, I’m sure. Just be you.
    So glad you had a nice professional photo taken of you both. That made me well up!
    If posiitive thoughts and good friendship can help, you have so much of that from all of us. Rooting for you every day, and admiring your courage.
    Best wishes as always, Pete. x

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Your last paragraph says it all, Mary. Tired is a (relatively) small price to pay for getting your health back. I hope it continues to be the biggest issue from your chemo, and that you are soon on the other side, recovering quickly! Still thinking of you daily, my friend! ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are right, Marcia – being tired is a small price to pay for shrinking the tumour. And heartburn, too. But yes, I can cope with these things if the drugs are doing their job. Thank you, for your support, Marcia.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Try putting water in a jug and adding slices of lemon or lime and/or bits of cucumber, ginger, mint. Then you can sip it as you go and it feels like a proper ‘drink’. Plus ginger is great for the digestion. Of course this doesn’t solve the peeing problem—such a bore. Sending hugs to you and Sue. Xxx

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Another one down Mary, sorry about the heartburn though (I’ve been there – Omeprazole worked if it continues – mind you side effects include stomach cancer, but heyho). It’s annoying solving one side effect for the bloody chemo to give you another one. Here’s to getting through the next week xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, goodness, Jill, I think I’ll skip the Omeprazole – I don’t need stomach cancer as well as what I’ve got 🙂 I’m hoping it will settle. It’s one damn thing after another! So far, there’s been no loss of appetite – that might be next, I guess.

      Liked by 1 person

        • The DH went off on a mercy mission last night to find heartburn medication – came back with Omeprazole! But also all sorts of other things. I settled for Gavascon chewable tablets, which have helped. I love the way the info on the chemo drugs has about quarter of a page on what the drug does, followed by six pages of side effects.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Getting effective heartburn medication over the counter is getting harder since they pulled Zantac/Ranitidine. My mum was on another type that has also been pulled but I can’t remember the name. He did well, glad the Gavascon tablets helped. If you have a word with your MacMillan nurse you can get something prescribed.

            Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for sharing these next steps along your journey with us, Mary. You’re in my thoughts every day. I shall raise a glass of water to you with my supper tonight. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m so glad you got that away time with hubby- you’ll have to share the photos when they come through! I’m sure you’ve already thought of it, but dry bread helps with heartburn and alson, Pepto Bismol (the chewables are best)
    Get some rest and come back kicking!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was a good afternoon out in the sunshine by the sea – what could be better. I will share the picture, Jacquie. The DH has been out to find supplies so I think I’ve got just about every kind of heartburn medication on the market for now. Dry bread is probably as good as anything 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Really enjoyed the excuse to catch up and blether that the photo shoot gave us.
    Unfortunately I’ve been so busy with the online photography workshop for Spring Fling Rescheduled, I’ve still not taken the camera out of the bag yet. However, I’m pretty sure there will be some lovely photos. It really is a beautiful part of the country, and after a while your DH stopped looking so worried about having the camera pointed in his direction 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • It was great to see you, Kim, and there is absolutely no rush to get the photos done. I’m glad to hear the DH stopped looking nervous – with my head tucked under his chin I couldn’t see his expression! I could picture it, though 🙂 Many thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I had to have a chuckle about the ‘tights’ thing – having been in and out of hospitals, and hospital gowns, far too many times, I always make sure to wear loose clothing that can be shed as easily as shaking one’s bootie. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Mary, I am so sorry – I had no idea about this as I don’t very often see your stuff on social media. I just read this via Judith Barrow’s page and went back to read your first posts.

    My thoughts and prayers (to a general good thing that might be up there somewhere) are with you, for what it’s worth. I think diaries like this are a marvellous, because they let you show everyone what is going on and may also help others who are going through his – and I hope help you, too, by writing it down.

    Wishing you every shred of good luck in the world xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • No need to apologise, Terry. I appreciate your thoughts and prayers – to whoever/whatever might be out there. I started the diary as a way of sorting out my own thoughts in the beginning because, I didn’t actually know what I thought of what was happening. Someone contacted me yesterday to say after reading my first post she decided to get a lump checked out – and she now is on the way to be being treated so that makes me feel it’s been worth posting the cancer diaries. Still not sure if I’ve sorted out my own thoughts about it. In the meantime, I’ll be keeping my kick ass boots polished up 🙂
      Thanks for your support.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. No need to apologise for being a day late with this post, Mary. Nobody is ever late in the world of blogging. Read and write at your own pace. At least, that’s what I do, anyway.

    Sorry to hear about the heartburn. It’s horrid, especially when it wakes you up.

    I hope you can enjoy the lovely autumnal weather we seem to be blessed with at the moment.

    Take care. There are more virtual hugs on the way. Plus, I’ve made a whole new batch for later.


    Liked by 1 person

    • You are right, of course, Hugh. I think it’s the journalist in me, never being able to miss a deadline – quite forgetting in this case it’s a self-imposed one. The heartburn came as a shock as it’s not something I ever experience and have always been a bit smug about being able to eat anything without indigestion or heartburn! No doubt there will be something else next time 🙂
      Thanks, as always, for the hugs. Glad to know there are some for later, too, as I’m sure I’m going to need them.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I enjoy reading the comments Mary from all those who are sending you kick ass support to go along with your boots.. each time you are a step closer to getting this thing beaten. Glad you managed to avoid some of the previous side effects but heartburn is awful especially if it is at night.. Glad eased somewhat.. Just off for my weekly does of Afghanistan adventures…love and hugs XX

    Liked by 1 person

    • The support from blogging friends is amazing and humbling, Sally. All the positive vibes and thoughts coming my way must be helping and certainly give me a boost. Heartburn at night is the pits and although the Gaviscon tablets worked, I now hate them.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Good to hear your update, Mary. I had heartburn so bad that got diverticulum on the esophagus but it was very small so I only used over the counter drug. After it calmed down, I change my diet for life, have a mostly alkaline-rich diet.

    My lab work during the first two cycles was way off, many areas are either too high or too low. White blood cell was alarmingly low. During my second (or third) cycle my fever didn’t go away at the end of the five-day inpatient treatment. The doctor gave me antibiotics through IV for three days and didn’t discharge me until the fever came down. I had blood transfusions twice after two of the cycles.

    It was nice to be out a little bit and had a photoshoot with your husband. I didn’t shave my head but as I was losing hair, I sent photos of me (front and side views) to my daughter as she was coming to see me. I didn’t want to scare her with my new look. It took me a year to have the hair come back to normal length and thickness.

    Yes, as Jacquie said, it’ll be worse during the course of the treatment before it gets better after the treatment. Sending you all the love and prayers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Goodness, Miriam, you make me feel such a wimp! I’ve just posted another diary and it is full of my moaning about how awful I felt after the second chemo – then I read about your experiences on this one and realised I’ve not got much to complain about. The oncologist has told me I probably won’t lose my hair though it will become thinner. Thanks for the love and prayers and support.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Mary, medicine makes improvements every six months. The treatment I received was twelve years ago and it was into the 15th year of experiment. There were no better alternatives at that time. I chose the treatment to survive. I did it for my husband and my daughter. Here I am to enjoy them and my granddaughters. It was worth it. Most of my friends who had cancer had better options of gentle treatment.

        I too wrote journals, notes, and emails to update my treatment at the time. I started my blog to write about the experience by fell in love with the community. I wrote everything else. When I felt so much better, I didn’t want to dig up the memories. I had an experience a year ago and reminded me of what I went through, so I dug up and compiled all the journal and notes and started writing. It was a journey of faith, trust, and support from family and friends. If not anything else, I want it to be a legacy passing down to my family.

        Good to hear you won’t have hair loss and it will be just thinner. What you’re going through is normal feeling, write it as it is. I’m glad I kept my journal and emails.

        I’ll check out your latest diary. Take care, Mary.

        Liked by 1 person

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