MarySmith’sPlace – Cancer diary #07

Cancer diary #07

Monday, October 19: The beginning of this week was horrible; horrible enough for me to absolutely dread the next round of chemotherapy. Apart from the heartburn (and thank you everyone for your suggestions – it has gone – for now) I had a cough, my stomach hurt, my scalp hurt, my mouth was sore (the poor cat has been quite distraught because she enjoys sharing my usual bedtime snack of baked cheese and onion crisps and I couldn’t bear to eat them), and I had diarrhoea (a change, though not a particularly welcome one, from constipation). On top of those side effects was the dreadful tiredness which dragged me down into a trough of despondency and apathy. And temper. Oh, good grief was I bad tempered!

I couldn’t see any point in going through this, for what might only be an extra year – not least because with all that is going on with Covid-19 cases rising and lockdowns all over the place the prospect of my current self-isolation continuing for what be the rest of my life didn’t bear thinking about.

And, with the worry of my kidneys not functioning as they should I was glugging down my two and a half litres of fluid every day so my tummy felt bloated and I was constantly nipping to the loo – including several times during the night.

In the beginning, I talked with doctors about wanting to have quality of life for whatever amount of time I had left – this wasn’t what I mean by quality.

Also, I had a painful foot. Come on, guys, lung cancer is quite enough, without throwing other minor problems at me. And did I mention I was bad-tempered?

I kept looking back to the days following the first chemo and thinking, well I was fine by Tuesday so maybe tomorrow I’ll be all right again. Tomorrow arrived and I wasn’t all right. Aware countless people have gone through chemotherapy with much worse side effects made me feel I was being a complete wimp.

On Friday evening, a full week after chemo, it was as though someone had flipped a switch and I was back to being me. Just like that. Extraordinary! Life was sweet again. On Saturday my brain was functioning enough for me to do my Afghanistan blog and reply to some of the many outstanding emails. The DH and I had a grand day out on Sunday, visiting the White Cairn burial chamber followed by hot chocolate at the Glentrool Visitor Centre – just an ordinary, normal outing, which a few days earlier I couldn’t have imagined being able to do again.

White Cairn burial chamber, Glentrool, Dumfries & Galloway

Something which really gave me a huge psychological boost and kept me going was a private message from someone who had read my cancer diary. She’d been prompted to have a lump in her breast – which she’d been ignoring, hoping it would disappear – checked out. She does have cancer but will have surgery soon, followed by radiotherapy and probably won’t need chemo. I’ve worried about my cancer diary being a bit self-indulgent but this has made me feel it really is worth doing.

Another nice thing was a phone call from the cancer specialist nurse to say my bloods show my kidney function is improving – yay! Huge relief – though it does mean having to continue getting those litres of fluid into me. But, now I know it’s working, it’s a small price to pay.

And, Kim Ayres sent through the photos he took last week. One I deleted immediately as it showed up all the wrinkles – and my goodness, there are many – on my face and neck. The DH and I can’t decide which we like best – the one to frame and put on the mantelpiece – the one which says, “This is us”. 

Which do you think?

Finally, this week of huge downs and sweeping ups ended with having CT scans today to see if the tumour is shrinking – or spread anywhere else. I won’t know until next Monday when I have an appointment with the oncologist. If the tumour is shrinking – and my kidneys are up to it (the particular drugs I’m on apparently can cause kidney damage, something which is in the six pages of side effects but hadn’t sunk in) – I’ll continue with the chemo. If it’s still growing, then we need to have a whole different discussion. It’s going to be a long week, but at least I’m feeling well and able to do things to take my mind off worrying about it. I might even get some writing done!  

173 thoughts on “MarySmith’sPlace – Cancer diary #07

  1. I’m sorry you’ve had such a rough time of it, Mary. Such a battle you are facing, or should I say battles? Like storms followed by sunshine.
    I am glad to see your post and get your news. I love your unflinching honesty, you answer questions I could never bring myself to ask. You affect us all – I love that your posts encouraged that reader to seek treatment – potentially life changing.
    Sweet photos of you and DH. I like the first one best for both your expressions and DH’s windblown hair, reminding you of that day you spent together. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: MarySmith’sPlace – Cancer diary #07 – Skunk Stop1

  3. Thanks for your openness and courage about sharing this Mary, as the person now going through treatment for her breast lump can confirm I am sure, it is inspiring and motivating people to get checked out. So pleased that your felt more yourself by the weekend and I love all the photographs but if I was to pick one it would be the last.. the two of you laughing, holding hands and being in a place you both love. Still sending kick ass thoughts in your direction and I know it will seem an age until you get the results of your scan but I am counting on your boots doing their job..♥

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Sally, for reading and for your kind comments about the blog. And for your critique of the photos. I think we look more relaxed in that pic but I’m still not sure – and the DH is being NO help at all 🙂 It’s funny, I was saying to someone earlier that in some ways this week is dragging its heels towards Monday but in others it’s flying by. I’m trying not to think to much about it, though I imagine it not be easy to sleep on Sunday night.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m late to your blog, Mary, but I’m so glad I found time this morning. Of course, I am sorry you had such a rough start to the week, but VERY glad you felt better and were able to get out and do the things that make you happy. The pictures are gorgeous, and I say you should get a TRIPLE frame for the mantel and include all three. What lovely memories of a wonderful day.

    I’m sending my thoughts and prayers your way, and hoping to hear nothing but GOOD NEWS from your CT scan. And loads of love to you, too! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • No worries about being late, Marcia – the blog doesn’t go away 🙂 I’m also very glad the rough week changed into something much better. Glad you like the pictures – and, yes, it does seem the easiest thing is to frame them all! Thanks so much for your support, my friend – truly appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Baked cheese and onion crisps? They sound divine, Mary. I used to eat three bags of crisps a day. I still love them but am down the occasional bag now. Sweet popcorn seems to have taken their place.

    I’m sorry to hear you’ve been having such a rough time. I hope things are have got at least a little better since you wrote and published this post.

    I love all the photos, especially of you and the DH. Hard to pick which one, but if you’re anything like me then you’ll choose the right one. And if you can’t choose one, as Sally said, frame them all.

    Take good care.
    Hugs on their way,
    Hugh
    xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Much less greasy that ordinary crisps, Hugh, so I can pretend they are more healthy! I only have one a day 🙂 I don’t think I’d swap them for sweet popcorn – but maybe for butterkist. I’m much better than I was last week, thanks, and very grateful to be feeling well enough to go out for short walks. I think Sally has the right idea and we’ll frame all three – maybe one large and two small. Many thanks for your support and the hugs. They make all the difference.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hello! Just subscribed to your blog. I’ve also been follow Sue Vincent’s wonderful page, as well. That was how I heard about yours and the hardships you’re having. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family each day. So glad to hear you’re starting to see some improvement!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Ena, both for following my blog and for your kind support. Sue and I were diagnosed about the same time, which is quite a coincidence. Yes, this week has been much better, thanks so onwards we go.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It was sad reading about how the chemo was zapping your energy (among other things), and in this Covid environment which is tough enough to bring on despondency and apathy, it was great to read about the morning you woke and ‘bingo’ felt like your normal self again… This really made me smile. Thank you. And the photos of you and DH are all wonderful, but I truly like the first one the best. You both look so good, a perfect togetherness…and the rocks/grass in the background gives it a great natural feel. Wishing you well and to have a great weekend as well. Take care ~

    Liked by 1 person

    • It made me smile, too, when I suddenly came back to being me again 🙂 I think we’ll definitely frame pic number one in a big size and maybe one of the others in a smaller frame – how vain am?! I’ll have to try to keep busy over the weekend so I don’t keep dwelling and wondering about the Monday’s meeting and the scan result. Thank you.

      Like

  8. You told me you had an update. I’m sorry to check this out a bit late. I had a busy week with my blog. I’m with you on all you experienced, mary. All the ups and downs. It was the chemo drugs. Yes, you’ll go through this and you might be discouraged at some point but you would feel better. Before you know it, the cycles of your treatments will be over.

    I love your lovely photos with your husband. I agree with Sally that the last one is wonderful. You look great in the photos compared to what I remember how I looked. I took a few photos of my arms and legs when there was only skin and bones.

    Remember that you have the whole world to pray for you and support you. Have a wonderful weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, Miriam, don’t feel you have to read every update as soon as it’s posted. I know we all have busy lives. I’m struggling sometimes to keep up with the blogs I follow at the moment.

      I think the key is to remember when I’m in the middle of the downs that there will be an up again. I’m wondering what different side effects I might experience next time! Apart from the tiredness, I’ve had different things after each chemo.

      I’m pleased you like the photos. I’ve actually put weight on since starting on chemotherapy. I think it’s because I’m not exercising as much as I used to do and I’m eating more. If I lose my appetite in the future, at least I’ve laid down some fat stories.
      Thanks for your support.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sure, Mary! I’ll check out your update whenever I can.

        Chemo is pretty rough on the body. So the body is different after each chemo. I know I was very tired the first two or three days in the hospital. I asked my daughter and friends not to call me and I would call them when I had more energy on the fourth and fifth day. My husband came and brought things to read.

        It’s good you put on some weight. You need all the energy you could get for the future treatment. You can always exercise and shed a few pounds after the treatment is over.

        I had a lot of support when I was going through my treatment. One guy even emailed me saying I didn’t know him but he was praying for me. The support was heartwarming.

        I’m glad to chat with you about this.

        Liked by 1 person

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