Well it was bound to happen, I was more apprehensive about my fourth chemo – now on the T sessions – and how I would react, and this has been by far the worse week. Problem is that I have picked up a viral infection (second day after chemo) and it has made me really miserable – harder to be positive and to keep on smiling! I have lost my voice; have the runniest nose ever; a very sore throat on top of mouth sores, thrush and a complete loss of taste buds (everything tastes like cardboard and salt!); I have an itchy bum (sorry!); pains in my legs (although these are easing now); some hard skin on my feet which is becoming difficult to get rid of and a little painful to walk on; and topping it all no energy. All in all I feel like a walking disaster! Yesterday I was at the hospital being checked out as my temperature rose above the 37.5. They thoroughly checked me out which was reassuring again with a mix of empathy and humour. This is where a learned about neutrophils and how important the levels are, and if they are 1 or below that is when you will need to go into hospital and be put on a drip for a couple of days – it is not a rare thing to happen. Mine were borderline 1.4, and I had only just stopped using my bone marrow injections so were worried about false readings – a decision was taken and I was sent home with antibiotics to help anything worse happening, and something for the lining of my stomach to help the mouth thrush and sores. I feel I am a walking medicine cabinet! I have strict instructions to keep an eye on my temperature especially over days 10 -14 as I could go down again as my white cell blood count goes down.
To be fair up to now I haven’t had too much trouble with chemo and I know others who have. It seems to have crept up on me with a vengeance. Typically though I am getting lots of calls and a few visits this week and I can’t talk!! I do like the company though and it does lift my spirits, I just hope no-one catches anything from me!
The loss of taste buds started gradually – I failed to mention in my last blog that things had started to taste increasingly more salty. Strangely just after my third chemo session I had a baked potato and managed to drop sea salt on it – instead of throwing it away – I cleared as much as the salt away as I could and ate the potato – ever since then everything I have eaten or drank has a taste of salt – some days stronger than others. However, with this viral infection and throat problem my taste buds disappeared entirely and everything I eat now taste likes cardboard and salt! I can’t touch bread at all. I can’t taste marmite at all! It’s all now a bit of a game trying to decide what to eat - having no sense of smell, and taste and hence not much appetite either. Never underestimate your taste buds - even water tastes like dishwater! I have tried things that have stronger tastes but because of the mouth sores this makes eating a bit a painful so a lot of my eating now is about texture. Chicken Noodle soup is lovely! Yoghurts are good, and Ready Break for breakfast (although now a little boring now); Crackers rather than bread, and ham – ice-cream is ok but a little of a disappointment – chocolate is a no no, a complete disappointment! I think I need to ask the good cooks around me to make me a nice smooth curry! Positive thing to come out of this, well I may well lose some of that weight I have put on ……
So what have I been doing to keep myself cheerful – I can only just now focus on the TV, and going on the laptop – and other than sleeping lots, keeping myself warm, forcing myself to eat, I have got myself some uplifting books by Gervase Phinn and his experiences as a school inspector in the Yorkshire Dales – books that can be just dipped into and make me chuckle– I have read his entire series in just four days! And oh yes, my son did all the washing and drying up without a moan!