I’m so glad I’ve only got one more chemo session to go. It’s the main thing getting me through the pain of this current treatment.
It really is horrible. Shooting pains through my muscles, stabbing pains in my joints ... I just can’t get comfortable. It affects my whole body but my legs in particular.
It tends to start about 36 hours after I leave the hospital. Gradually building up over the next five days and then easing off again. So today, I’m feeling pretty immobile. However, I do hate to miss out on things so am still trying to get out and about – albeit with assistance.
This last weekend was a case in point. Some friends from North Carolina, who I’d not seen since I was there five years ago, were staying in central London so I was determined to get into town and see them for a cuppa and a chat.
Negotiating public transport though is difficult for me, so Mr P. came too and helped me get onto the Tube and up the stairs. Actually the subject of public transport etiquette is an interesting one. If I was pregnant or looked unwell, people wouldn’t barge me out of the way and would – I hope – give me a seat. However, I do try to do my wig and make-up nicely so it would be difficult for anyone to know.
I’ve often wondered then if there should be some kind of pin-badge cancer patients could wear, like pregnant ladies sometimes do, although I do think ‘Tumour on board!’ might be a little too bold for most people!
Anyway, having survived the Tube, I then prepared for an evening down the pub to see yet more friends also in town overnight for a flying visit.
Generally I’m fine, as long as I can stay seated but I do have to keep the painkillers on standby. This does also mean that someone has to ‘baby sit’ me because I can’t just casually follow people if they nip outside or up/down the stairs. Apart from being frustrating, it can feel rather isolating.
Nonetheless, it was a really good night and – as always – my friends were very sympathetic in asking me how I was coping and helping me to stand/walk when I needed to. It was also very generous of them to drink and dance so vigorously on my behalf ... ;-)
I’d be dishonest though if I let people think I’m not finding it bloody hard. Quite aside from the temporary physical restrictions that I’m experiencing, the mental and emotional aspects are most definitely accumulative. I feel very tired and teary a lot of the time.
However, the end is now in sight. And later this week, when my legs are less creaky, I will drive up to Staffordshire to see more family and friends.
And I think this is important; to be with people that know me well and with whom I can be completely honest. Now is not a time for pretence. Indeed, as Elbert Hubbard so beautifully put it: ‘A friend is one who knows you and loves you just the same’.