Chemo is such a mental game.
Don’t get me wrong, the physical side effects of putting cytotoxic drugs into your bloodstream aren’t pretty, but the tougher game is in the brain.
The first time I went in for treatment, I was a great big ball of nerves. In the weeks prior, I had armed myself with as much information about chemotherapy as I could muster. I had lists upon lists of the potential side effects, and was absolutely convinced I was going to experience everything from hot flushes to heart failure.
Who notices the odd, innocuous stray hair?
Perhaps you occasionally see a few poking out of your hairbrush bristles, or accumulating in the plughole of your shower. Perhaps you casually brush one off your cheek, or pull it from the knitted loops of your jumper?
I have always grumpily noticed the ones my husband leaves strewn through the bathroom sink after shaving, that’s for sure. Although now that he is cultivating a fair bit of facial hair, the scatters of stray hairs are likely mine. EEK!
I pore over them. I try and count them. It’s become a weirdly wretched obsession!
It’s nearly February, people. Already!
How is it that time seems to creep by us ever faster each year? As a kid it passes excruciatingly slowly; everything seems to drag. Nowadays, I feel like could practically blink in September and miss Christmas altogether. And boy am I glad that Bakers Delight start selling hot cross buns in January, because I need the three-month heads up or I’d totally miss the flicker of time before Easter!
If I had to think of a metaphor for the way I feel most days, it would be treading water: trying to keep my head above the water line, struggling to keep carrying on as normal, while my legs make frantic circles below, unseen. Most of the time I manage to do this, but the unseen struggle continues. On the outside I can seem strong, upbeat and at times even funny, but inside, I am riding daily waves of turmoil. Still, I am swimming, not sinking.
I’ve had a few of these such days this week.
Looking forward to seeing you all when it lifts.
So today is D-Day.
Actually, today is C-Day.
Chemo. A systemic blitz on all the cells in my body that are multiplying rapidly: cancer cells (for the win), but also lovely, harmless little cells in spots like my digestive tract, hair follicles, mouth and bone marrow.