Wednesday, 30 December 2009

a drag

Some of you know that I used to write a blog about my journey through recovery from alcoholism - the first few years of AA. I used to pour out a shedload of emotions and thoughts, as my 'new life' emerged from my old.

Blogging seemed easier then, as when I was inspired I could jump to my keyboard and let the inspiration flow forth. Or the utter drivel, depending of your viewpoint.

The problem I have with this blog, is that I've discovered that cancer - on the whole - is rarely inspirational. It does not drive me to write huge reams of heartfelt emotion and witty banter. It is, frankly, a drag.

Everything is a drag. Hard work. Taking a shower required planning, going to the shops required stamina building, going to bed brings on dread, eating is a considered task. And writing a blog, really is a total fucking drag.

However, as I fall upon my sword for my fellow reader, an update.


I'm not sure where you left me - and it's too much of a drag to go back and check - but I did manage to venture out into the world on the 28th, in the evening. I had pre-booked tickets to see Avatar in 3D, at the iMax in London ("The UK's Biggest Screen!") and had been praying all along that I would be able to make this experience.

We took the train and although I was sick on the way up, I did manage to eat some M&S salad and get to the cinema, clutching a small carrier bag - just in case. I was worried that the reported feelings of nausea that some people had from watching the film in 3D, may have mixed with my general feelings of nausea and had me projectile vomiting over seat 21, row N, but despite feeling a bit rough for the first hour, I'm pleased to report that it settled down.

This is not a film review site - but Avatar blew me away. However, if you want to see it, you must see it in 3D and if you can, book ahead at the iMax and wait. It is stunning. A real work of art and a fantastic 'archetypal' fairy tale to book. Don't expect 'The Usual Suspects' in terms of plot but behold a new era in film making. A "Star Wars" of our time.

By the time I got home I was exhausted, cold/hot (more later) and tearful. A burst of emotion and to bed. I'm so glad I made it and want to thank my good friend for putting up with my 2mph walking and general patheticness.


Yesterday, saw my same tireless friend pick me up from home at 9:30am and get my to the hospital for a 'quick' check-up. We were there 2 hours at least. Some blood was taken, to see how I was getting on with my first dose of chemo and the results were, well, I dunno really ... I was told my white blood cell count was low but holding up but would probably crash really soon, that I wouldn't be able to maintain my body temperature and if I go above 38 degrees to go to A&E. Always with the happy happy, these nurses.

She gave me a prescription for yet more drugs, which couple with the script I had yet to cash in from the other day, cost £36 when I presented them at Sainsbury’s pharmacy some time later. Apparently the NHS is giving free 'scripts to all Cancer patients now (since April '09), but I need an exempt letter from my GP. I can claim back with the receipt. This is a dull story I know, but someone may find it useful to know in the future.

My life-saving friend, helped me shop for good things to eat and got me home, where I had to tackle the student squat that was my flat. I had a guest at 16:00 and somehow had to tidy up.

Like I said, cancer is a drag. And it makes everything a drag. Washing up is a drag. Cleaning is a drag. No energy. No desire. Yet, needs must and slowly, with lots of rest breaks, I tidied 70% of the flat. The other 30% now contains all the mess that that was previously distributed evenly throughout the other 70%.

My guest came and went - a real testimony to the kindness of relative strangers and also a chance for me to reflect on someone else’s pain for a while. Perhaps more on that one day.

That left me with a strange evening. My body has been itching a lot for the last few days, but it was now reaching unbearable heights. On top on this, I could not get warm. I was under a duvet with heaters full on, just shivering inside, feeling odd. .

My temperature had risen to 38.5 and I didn't feel great. I took some paracetomol (lowers temperature) and waited ... this seemed to help and before long I was burning up, too hot and itching so much that I wanted to take off two layers of skin. I finally managed to sleep, still itching my face, my skull and my hands in my sleep ... dreaming of itching.

Not for the first time, in my dreamstate, I was overwhelmed by that feeling of 'is this worth it?' - a recurrent theme I've had since Christmas Day. A feeling of desperation when faced with months and month of side effects, sickness and hospitals

A day at a time, I have to remind myself.


Cancer is a fucking drag. If it's not one thing, it's another. The nausea has all but gone, my energy levels are a bit better. But I itch all over from head to foot. Probably a reaction to one of my drugs I am taking - at the last count, I was taking 9 - or perhaps a delayed reaction to one of the chemo drugs.

I have a tattoo on my arm that says Drug Free.

It is a lie.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't know how pukey you feel, or how itchy you are, but you've got to keep believing that it's worth it.

I have days like that, maybe everyone does, not because I have cancer, but because sometimes life just seems a bit pointless.

I just try to appreciate the little things. They make it all worth while. Like Rage being Christmas number 1, or going to see Avatar, or realising how lucky you are to have that friend that's been helping you. Because really, without those little things, what do any of us have?

And ok, so maybe this blog isn't as heartfelt and emotional as the one before, but it's helping people. It will help people with cancer, and those without. I've already found myself thinking 'If Spencer can stay so positive about all his shit then I can deal with *insert petty daily complaint here*

So, keep taking your drugs (at least this time they're legal), keep feeding the ducks, and keep getting better every day. It's definitely worth it...

Laura x