MarySmith’sPlace ~ Covid vaccination, is there life without wine: Cancer update #22

Wednesday 03, February: Another week has gone by at the speed of lightning and I don’t understand why, when I’m doing next to nothing, time continues to go by so quickly.

What exciting things happened this week? Well, the new specialist nurse called the day after I posted on the blog saying he hadn’t rung, when I’d really needed someone to make contact. I told him I thought he was going to call on Wednesday, as the substitute nurse did the week before. I think it comes down to the interpretation of “will call every week.” I take it to mean on the same day each week, the nurse takes it to mean any day of the week. I did try to explain how it feels to have finished treatment and to be left, not knowing the result (I understand why there has to be a wait before the scan) feeling abandoned. He said he understood. When he said he’d phone again next week I suggested we put it in our diaries. This seemed to be a bit of a foreign concept but was agreed. It worked and he phoned again today.

I was less needy when he phoned today, thanks to having a long chat with my GP yesterday. I’d had to call to ask for a laxative prescription. The pain on swallowing is easing thanks to the liquid morphine but the down side – there has to be one, doesn’t there? – is the constipation the morphine causes. It’s been a while and I’d forgotten the agony. When I was on chemo and had to take anti-emetics I learned, after a nightmarish first round, to up my fibre intake to prevent the constipation. However, when it hurts to swallow, eating dates, dried apricots, prunes, liquorice in the necessary quantities is not so easy.

Anyway, apart from sorting out the prescription for my various medical supplies we had a good long chat – the kind of chat which helps make me feel human (like a Maggie’s Centre chat). It’s quite possibly the kind of chat which helps her check up on whether I’m showing any mental health issues which should be addressed.

Last, but not least, I’ve been offered a Covid vaccination this week – tomorrow, in fact. Last week, it was clear from the Scottish Government’s list of categories for the vaccination I wasn’t likely to get one until May – or even the autumn. When the nurse phoned last week I asked him. He was sure I must be eligible for a vaccination before long and said he’d check and get back to me. He did and had to admit I was right – there wasn’t a category which included 66-year-olds with cancer so I was more than a little surprised when someone from the health centre rang me on Saturday to offer a vaccination date. Apparently the Scottish Government sent out an email on Friday afternoon with a new priority category for vaccinations, which includes 66-year-olds with cancer. Yay!

Unfortunately, my dry January has morphed into dry February as the acid reflux still prevents me from enjoying a glass of wine. I have tried from time to time – once a day since 31st January – to have a test sip but the heartburn is instant and ferocious.

Because I always try to find something positive amongst all the horrors of cancer treatment I can report that I haven’t had to shave my legs for months.

117 thoughts on “MarySmith’sPlace ~ Covid vaccination, is there life without wine: Cancer update #22

  1. I love your burst of humour at the end. Not having to shave your legs is a bonus! I’m glad you were able to chat with your doctor and the nurse as it’s so important. I hope you can soon enjoy some wine. Have you tried red wine mixed with tonic or soda water? White wine often gives me heartburn, even though I like it. (the wine not the heartburn) Hang in there and keep smiling.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hairy legs, and no wine! I was trying to work out which is worse, but I decided to settle for no wine. I might be biased, as my legs are not very hairy anyway, and I have drunk a full bottle of South African Shiraz tonight, since just before 6pm. 🙂
    Take care, dear Mary. And good luck with that constipation.
    Best wishes as always, Pete. x

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  3. I have your hairy legs!
    I decided my lack of hair for the last five or so years was hormone related – but I noticed it’s back, so I must have come out in sympathy with you, or something.
    Would you like me to drink on your behalf for a few days/weeks? I don’t usually drink much, but I will if it’ll help.
    Roscoe has been standing up on the side of the cage asking me for something for the last ten minutes. I told him he’d had everything today – hay, arthritis biscuit, cucumber, all on time… but… I think he realised your post was up.
    Keep up the good work.
    PS Lobbying the Scottish Gov for your vaccination obviously worked.

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    • No, it’s fine, Jemima, you drinking wine won’t help at all! I’ll have to keep trying a sip until I can swallow it comfortably! I have a feeling it may take some time.
      Do give the lovely Roscoe a kiss from me (if he will accept it) and hugs to you.
      Yes, a wee word in Nicola’s ear seemed to do the trick 🙂

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  4. I’m glad you had a chat with the GP. That can go a long way to making the lack of information more tolerable. I hope that heartburn goes away soon. Too bad they can’t give you a wine IV. That would really help. Hugs and prayers..

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  5. I’m glad you are scheduled for the vaccine, Mary. How are your fatigue levels, I hope they are lessening? Sorry you are still dealing with a painful throat and reflux, as well as constipation. Annette’s suggestion for a wine enema sounds intriguing! At least you could use cheap wine, ha! Do they say how long these symptoms are likely to last? A target to shoot for might help pass the days. ❤ _/\_

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    • I’ll get it this afternoon – just hoping it won’t cause too many more side effects. I have enough to cope with right now. The throat pain is decreasing and the area of burned skin is also shrinking so things are improving though energy levels still not great. They don’t seem to know how long the symptoms will last – and everyone is different – but I get the impression the worst is during the first two weeks after treatment stops. I’m now in the third week so maybe by next week I’ll be feeling a lot better.

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  6. Well done Mary. You are doing well keeping your designated nurses in order….
    It’s also good to hear you are coping with the eating … I do, as you know from poem, know the pain and misery that constipation from oramorph can bring…. At least you have the plus of beautiful sheer legs. Chin up 💜💜💜

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    • Thanks, Willow. I’m hoping the new laxative will help with the constipation as I’m finding it difficult to eat lots of high fibre foods right now. Yeah, lovely smooth legs! Pity it’s winter and they are well covered up 🙂

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  7. Mary, it seems we are often left to fill our own role as patient advocate. The cycle of ups and downs will likely continue for a while as your body heals. It is good you were assertive in getting your needs met with the nurse. And the vaccine! Good for you. And not shaving your legs is certainly a very nice ‘icing on the cake’! You are always in my thoughts and prayers, Mary.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for the update on how you’re doing, Mary. It was a relief to read that you’ve been able to have good conversations with your GP and specialist nurse. That’s very good news about the Covid vaccine for you. You remain in my thoughts. Take good care.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Haha, Mary, not to have your legs shaved for months… It was good that you didn’t lose too much hair and didn’t need to shave your head. I lost 80% of the hair. After it stopped falling, it took a year to grow a couple of inches. My whole body was bald with no hair for a long time.
    Congratulations on completing the treatment. I’m glad you started to test the water for wine. Hope you’ll get better with the acid situation soon. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t lose the hair on my head but it became thinner and stopped growing for a while. I cancelled my hair appointment. My hair started growing again then we went into lockdown so now I have to wait for a cut! I’m glad I’ve finished the treatment – just have to stay patient until I learn the result of it all.

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      • I’m glad not all of your hair gel off, Mary. You might have lost 20% or 30% to feel thinner. I hope you’ll learn about the result soon.
        Will you have ongoing medication? My friend has had the immunotherapy for year after the treatment. Her last check showed high cancer marker. I’m in remission for 11 years, but within the first 10 years, I wasn’t completely relaxed, always on the guard of the sensation in the cancer area and worried something would happen between my visits.

        I had visits every six months with lab work and CT/PET for 8 years, then once a year since then. I only need lab work since last year.

        I’m not familiar with lung cancer treatment. You might be completely clear and fine when this round of treatment is done.

        Best wishes to you, Mary. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

        • It was like my hair became brittle and snapped off rather than came out at the roots. I don’t know what will happen next until I have the scan to see what’s been happening during the treatment. That will probably be in a month or so as they have to wait for everything to settle down after radiotherapy. Until then, I’m trying not to dwell too much on the possible outcomes.

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  10. Hi Mary. It’s nice to hear you sound so upbeat. I haven’t been able to drink wine for the past ten years due to it giving me migraines and heartburn. There was just a sudden change in the effect it had on me, from virtually nothing to severe discomfort. Acid reflux has only started in the past six months – I can’t eat garlic, tomatoes or onions anymore due to the instant regurgitation that happens after I swallow any of them. Congratulations on being a recipient of the Covid vaccine soon. Take care. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, no, Kim, that sounds awful. While I know I will live without wine in my life if I have to, I’d rather not and not being able to eat garlic, onions or tomatoes must be terrible. Do you know what has caused it? Can you take anything to ease it?
      I’ve had the first Covid vaccination – the next one will be “dependent on supply” so who knows when.

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      • Apparently pre-menopause brought on an intolerance of dairy, and sulphites in wine and alcohol generally. This intolerance has now spread to high acid foods like onions, garlic and tomatoes, due to an ulcer in my stomach caused by stress. I hope you are able to have the second Covid vaccination soon. xx

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  11. A great idea to suggest putting a day in the diary Mary, and it worked! Funny isn’t it how there’s usually at least a little positive, even when things are grim. In this ghastly pandemic, I’ m so enjoying not spending half my time on the A/M 77. Thinking of you as you wind your way through this journey. Xxx

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    • Such a simple solution to my mind, Janette. But, then I work that way, putting appointments in my diary and keeping to them. We’re not all the same. We do need to hang on to the little positives. I’d hate to do that journey every day so I get why not doing it is a positive for you 🙂

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  12. A sense of steps forward. Grand. Since i don’t drink alcohol I’ve no sense of this need for wine that I’m surrounded by. But i wish you a speedy return to the grape if that what helps. And is cavid the Scottish variant of covid or have i missed yet another name change?!

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    • I so enjoy a glass of wine at the end of the day, Geoff. I’m sure I’ll cope without if I have to but if the treatment for cancer takes away all the nice things in life it does make me wonder if it’s worth it. I have changed the typo in the title – thanks for spotting it. I don’t think we have a Scottish variant yet 🙂

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  13. Ooh it could be quite cold without hairy legs in winter but it’s great to hear you view that as a positive Mary! I’m so pleased you’ve trained your nurse and delighted that 66yos with cancer are on the covid vaccine hit list now.
    Juliet x

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    • I’m always so cold anyway, Juliet, a layer of hair won’t make much difference to the thermal tights and trousers I’m wearing! Had my first vaccination now – no one knows when the second one will be.

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  14. Mary, your humour is a gift, as are you. When a GP calls to talk and you sense they give us whatever time is needed, it is a true gift of loving energy. May you be able to enjoy a glass of wine or however many you want very soon! I know you are taking your wins where you can find them…non-leg shaving is a win. ❤ for you, always, Mary. ❤ Xxx

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    • Thanks for your lovely comments, Jane. I would struggle without a sense of humour and being able to find something – even if only one thing – positive. Here’s to raising a glass of wine in the not too distant future 🙂

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  15. Great to hear about the positive chats, and excellent idea to suggest putting a date in the diary. Oh what swings and roundabouts with the swallowing/morphine/constipation situation.
    Wonderful that you’re having the Covid jab today.
    In recent years I’ve developed a bad reaction to wine and spirits. I used to enjoy a glass or two… So now I have a crafty sniff from my husband’s glass and for a moment it’s like a shot of the real thing. Might be worth a try until you can enjoy a proper sip – or gulp – again!

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    • The chat with the GP helped so much, Wendy – especially not feeling rushed. Oh, goodness, someone else who has developed a bad reaction to wine! I’m sorry. Do you know why? I do miss a glass of wine in the late evening. I’ll try a sniff for now!

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  16. There always has to be an upside, Mary, and not having to shave your legs is a good one. Going upside down to get to your ankles would result in instant and ferocious reflux and that just wouldn’t do! So happy that you’ve had a couple of good chats with actual human beings.
    I had my vaccine yesterday and it hasn’t had any adverse reaction (so far). The family is returning to their home tonight and I’m going to have an early night – yay!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. It’s good to hear you’ve got some understanding with the nurse and a good chat with the GP. Not so good about the side effects (prune juice? I love fruit, so I’d find it quite difficult as well). I’m not a wine (or alcohol in general) drinker, so I’d gladly trade you any drinking credits I have if that were possible. Good about the vaccine as well. Here they are trickling in, but the delivery is proving much slower than expected.Take care, dear Mary, and thanks for keeping us updated.

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    • Trouble is, it’s painful to swallow whether it’s prune juice or a dried apricot. It is becoming easier, which I hope means I can increase my intake of fluids as well as nutritious food. When I went for my vaccination today the system was pretty streamlined. When I went in and gave my name, I was given a form to fill in while waiting room and a sign instructed us to remove coats and cardigans before being called for the vaccination. When I receive the booster depends on supplies coming through so who knows?

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  18. Glad to hear the throat is improving albeit slowly. Sorry to hear about the constipation though. I laugh at how I’ve said in the past I was constipated, it bore no relation to the agonies of how bad constipation can be due to chemo and the meds they give you to offset the treatment. Result with the leg hair though – I lost mine everywhere but my legs which I was quite annoyed about – it would have been one of the few positives. Hope the injection went well. Take care xx

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    • The throat is improving and the sunburn. If I can get rid of the acid reflux (and it worries me how many people have had to give up wine entirely because of it) and the constipation, I’ll feel much happier. This time, it’s caused by the morphine for the swallowing pain. I was reading the patients’ information leaflet for lactulose and noted with some amusement it refers to ‘ordinary’ constipation – ours could never have been described as ordinary! Isn’t it odd about the leg hair? The whole cancer treatment thing is decidedly odd 🙂

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  19. goodness, you do make me laugh – so glad you gave that nurse pause for thought – sometimes awareness needs to be raised, not usually by someone in your situation, so high five on that one. I’m really glad you’ve had positive communication with your doctor – It really is vital to have strong links with your local medical provider, they might not be the right shoulder to cry on, but they sure as heck can prescribe and connect you with what you need when you need it. I hope. Anyway, keep smiling the snowdrops will soon be pushing through and I suspect they don’t give a fig about hairy shins! big hugs. x

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    • Oh, I’m glad I can raise a chuckle, Steph 🙂 The chat with the GP was so good and will keep me going for a while to come. We really need a Maggie’s to provide the shoulder to cry on. In my case, I blog. It lets me get stuff out of my head which is better than bottling it up. I can cry on the shoulders of people all over the world if I need to – though sometimes it’s good to have someone closer to hand. I’m hoping the new medications will help the heartburn and the constipation.
      The snowdrops have pushed through in my garden though they must feel they are going to be washed away with the rain.

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  20. Great news on the vaccine front Mary. And hope you will get a wee glass of wine soon. I’m with you on not shaving legs it is always such a chore, so a good one not to have to do. As ever a caring post sharing your experiences to help others. Hugs, Marje xx

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  21. Looks like you are making inroads into the Scottish Health Service protocols and procedures Mary and that will certainly benefit a lot of other people.. I do feel for you with the morphine and its side effects my mother badly hit too.. See if you can tolerate some prune juice along with the new medication as whilst a bit sweet a glass every morning does help and it should slip down. As to leg hair.. my mother made some very strange predictions for life after 50 and the onset of menopause, some are unmentionable and quite frankly shocked me lol… but she said leg hair would stop growing. To an extent she was right and I haven’t had to shave my legs for years, except when I sit in the sun and see a foot long strand sprouting from a few areas and these are easily dealt with courtesy of eyebrow tweezers .. just being helpful… Hopefully another week with bring some more news and improved throat pain.. ♥♥

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    • Someone else said – Jemima, I think, – she thought hair stopping growing was down to hormones. Guess your mum was right – at least for some people.
      I’m hoping the pain on swallowing will continue to decrease and I can stop the morphine which will, in turn, stop the constipation. In the meantime the GP loaded me up with various laxatives and antacids (no doubt creating a whole other set of side effects!) so I’m hoping things will make smooth progress. Onwards 🙂

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  22. I am happy to hear your medical caregiver has been in touch with you, Mary. That must be comforting for you as you can ask questions and vent a little. It’s good news about the vaccine and the leg shaving, but not so much about the wine. I wonder if Kahlua and milk would be better? That is lovely, an alcoholic milkshake.

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  23. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Sunday February 7th 2021 – #Funnies Story Reading Ape, #Writing Gwen Plano, #CancerUpdate Mary Smith | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  24. I learn so much from you! First, how to smile through adversary, even if the smile is a small wry upturn of the lips. “I suggested we put it in our diaries. This seemed to be a bit of a foreign concept.” Ha. Not so foreign, as I think we all run into this, particularly with doctors’ offices which seem to be so so busy and inundated these days.
    So glad you’ve gotten vaccinated!!! My guy hit the protocol and got his yesterday. As I prepared dinner last night he said, “I probably better not have wine until I see what the side effects are.” We looked at each other perplexed, and then I poured us each a glass. :–) I hope you can enjoy a good full wine glass soon. xo

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  25. Your briefing about is so humorous and makes me smile, Mary! But its on your side a very good sign, and the actual results are showing you have done best, against all this horror. Its wonderful your Government has shown the importance to offer the vaccination preferred also for people with cancer. All the best! Sending blessings! Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Michael. I wasn’t sure if I’d be offered the vaccination – I thought the Government might decide it wasn’t worth wasting it on someone who might not be around for very long!
      I must apologise to you. I looked in my blog’s admin section and found several comments from you which had been sent to spam. I clicked Not Spam – which is maybe why your comment today has appeared. Unfortunately when I clicked Not Spam the comment vanished. I thought it would appear on the blog and I could respond – but it seems to have disappeared. I am sorry. You are not alone – several people’s comments had been put in spam. Sometimes I wonder if WordPress decides to play tricks!

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  26. The wait seems for the scan seems neverending. When I started gardening I couldn’t understand how someone could wait for two years for hollyhocks to flower. Since then the days and years have gone by so quickly, time seems almost irrelevant. But waiting for a health update stretches time like Dali’s clock. You’re part way there now, and you have lactulose and hairy legs to provide some pleasure and warmth…
    Well done on getting the vaccine and I’m hoping the swallowing is much eased very soon. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Time and the way it can change speed is weird – I’ve given up trying to work it out. I think I’m about half way to being given a scan but who knows. Swallowing is easier and the ‘sunburn’ has been reduced to a small patch. I don’t have hairy legs – the hair stopped growing on them, thanks to the chemo. However, after posting my latest update I’ve noticed some sprouting is taking place again. Damn it,

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