The old year has been mostly about fighting cancer, dealing with the exhaustion – I had expected to feel very tired – but had not quite expected how much this tiredness incapacitated me - and the longer the chemo sessions went on the harder it got. The two ops brought its own challenges and tiredness but nothing compared to having chemo. Three to five days of just being unable to move at all – three of those on and off in bed having dreamless sleeps. The first three chemo’s – FEC – for me were much better but the last three sessions of TAX much worse as muscle pains kicked in as well along with the skin peeling off my hands and the flaky feet that has made it hard to walk. I could cope with the mouth sores and thrush with medication making it a little bit better, but could cope much less with losing my appetite, sense of smell and taste buds – for eating is a comfort thing for me and that has taken away as well. Even when my taste buds start to come back I always feel that saltiness in my mouth. Forcing yourself to eat tasteless food is no fun at all! Feeling cold most of time and keeping warm in front of the fire. Losing my hair was an emotional time for a little while, but I have now got used to having no eyebrows, eyelashes and hair – although having a horrible crusty nose each day is a little disconcerting and is now causing small nose bleeds. I also now have the prospect of losing some nails both on my feet and fingers which coming after my last chemo is distressing – why now? Having my last chemo and a lesser dose I stupidly thought the reactions wouldn’t be so bad this time – but I was wrong and right now I feel like my poor body is completely broken with all that accumulated poison and my emotions all over the place having had a Christmas so different. I should be happy right? I’ve had my last chemo and it can only now get better? This is what others say to me and what I tell myself.I have coped over the last year sometimes well with hope and positivity and sometimes not as well with negativity and sensitivity – it has been a roller-coaster of emotions – sometimes feeling lonely, angry and isolated and other times overwhelmed with the kindness around me. I have made new relationship but have lost others, been surprised and delighted by people but also disappointed with others who though were close to me which has been a sad realisation. But I have coped and gone forwards small steps at a time, not only have I gone to work part-time but have also dealt with the daily dramas of life (some which I think should not have happened in the first place and could have been dealt with differently and situations that caused some people to become angry with me and they then distanced themselves when I needed them most), financial instability (which is actually not something new to me but has just been made worse by having cancer) and dealing with the emotions of myself and others that sometimes have not been easy. In ways it has been a journey of discovery from losing myself to finding myself again and delving into hidden strengths and resourcefulness which I didn’t know I had and also getting to know my previously hidden weaknesses. What a year it has been.
The New Year brings a few hurdles to get through first – coping with the last reactions of chemo which will not go away fast and how long will it take for the poison to get out of my body and my bone marrow to repair itself, how will I react to radiotherapy and working through that, how will I cope getting back to work full-time and then finally will I find a new place to live that will be good for both me and my son?So what will the New Year bring? Will it be one of hope and a new beginnings: Will it be one of recovery and getting back a life which has been on hold; one of building up on new and old relationships and trying to get back those relationships that have been lost: one of opportunity, love and stabability - on the home, work front and financially: one of planning and things to look forward to: of happy surprises? I think most of us wish for these things whether we are ill or not and I am not sure having high expectations is a completely good thing in regards to year ahead so I will keep my expectations low and hope for a good outcome! I more than anyone realise we never know what is around the corner but I do so want to be a totally different place this time next year – so watch this blogging space!!
With a little more energy, last night I went round to my friend’s house and her family and spent a traditional time playing charades and games and even became a little merry (which I haven’t done for a while) and brought in the New Year with laughter, champagne and sparklers without waking to a hangover.I would like to wish everyone a happy New Year. Stay as positive and healthy as you can and enjoy life as much as you can – it’s a gift not to be wasted!