It has been quite a week. It took me really quite some time to get over the liver biopsy. The only way of dealing with the severe referred pain in my shoulder was to keep myself topped up on codeine. But the codeine had some seriously unpleasant side-effects. And I was only just getting over all that business when it was time for my next big chemo session. Chemo very nearly didn’t happen because my red blood cell count was quite low, meaning I was anaemic. Turns out I wasn’t just exhausted from a great day out followed by a biopsy followed by codeine! My very lovely chemo nurse, Ron, allowed me to have my chemo on the condition that I came back in a couple of days later for a blood transfusion. And so it happened that I spent a grand total of 15 hours in the chemo suite in the space of a mere three days.
Since then it has been all about recovery. I can’t really say whether I feel more tired than I have done in the past, although rationally I know that I must do. It’s very hard to compare how tired I feel now to how tired I have felt before as I don’t think you can actually remember your previous experiences of fatigue. What I do know is that on Wednesday, the day I had a transfusion, even lying down felt like an effort. By Thursday lying down was okay but sitting up was an effort. By Friday sitting up was okay for some of the time but doing much more exhausted me – I put away the online shopping that had been delivered and that floored me for a couple of hours. Although to be fair, I’m not sure that it was putting away the shopping that did me in or the long discussion with the delivery man, a lovely man who insisted on telling me his life story, recounting his experiences in Israel, his love for Jewish people and Jewish food, and generally hanging around in my kitchen for a good deal longer than he should have done. Oy vey!
Surprisingly, and positively, my mental approach to the past few days has been relatively calm. I have been taking things one day at a time and not really looking ahead to the next challenge. I think if you had told me a week ago about the various physical traumas I would be put through I would have found each of them quite difficult to cope with, but facing one at a time has been far more manageable. Rather than considering myself as someone who is really quite poorly and has therefore got to go through all of the scene, I have been in a bit of a denial bubble and just thought of myself as going through various different procedures with the eventual aim of complete remission. I have decided that as I have been an over achiever in life so far, I may as well aim to be an over achiever in my current health situation. Therefore complete remission is the goal.
Sometimes this is hard to focus on, for example, some of the ladies with secondaries in my Younger Breast Cancer Network online group seem to be facing particularly difficult times and there has been lots of talk of things such as funeral planning and memory boxes for children recently. I have learned all sorts of things about the sort of coffins and funerals on offer. Being Jewish, I am used to all this is being dealt with by the synagogue, so it is with a sort of morbid curiosity that I have been reading about people’s choices in this regard. It is of some comfort to me to know that if I don’t achieve my goal but the worst happens, then all of this will be dealt with by someone else and I won’t have to make some of these hard choices or have some of these horrible conversations.
But these things aside, emotionally this week has been relatively good. I have dealt with the physical incapacity by seeing a few friends when I can, watching a lot of rubbish television and doing a little bit of work. Conversations with friends have looked to the future – one friend is busy planning her daughter’s bat mitzvah and another the arrival of her second child. And the sunshine has definitely helped. So I take one day at a time, one step at a time, one issue at a time. Tomorrow is always another day.