Thursday, 2 September 2010

... 4 days off

(part 2 of a 2 part blog)

Monday morning.

I wake up, I visit the bathroom, I collapse back on the bed. Something is not right. I fall back asleep.

A short while later, I get up, stumble into the kitchen and fall over the pile of dirty clothes I cunningly left myself on the kitchen floor to remind myself to wash. I stuff them into the machine, press a few button and collapse back into bed. This isn't good. I feel awful.

And feeling awful has been the non-stop focal point of every waking hour since Monday am. Dreadful. Wiped out. Zonked. Zero energy. No appetite. No desire. No bloody music making, that's for sure.

I had a huge sleeping episode recently and although this could be lumbered in with that, this was a lot worse. The sleeping episode was just that really. A lot of sleep. This was feeling horrible on top and getting any solid sleep was hard. In and out, trippy dreams, feeling increasingly sorry myself and stupidly miserable.

Any hope that 'back to work day' on Tuesday would be better, were smashed within a waking second. No improvement. I cancelled my PET/CT scan appointment that I was suppose to have that day. Helpfully they said I could come in on the following day in the afternoon. I feel back asleep. In and out, trippy dreams, feeling increasingly sorry for myself and stupidly, stupidly miserable.

At a few points during Tuesday I made it to the Chemo Couch and tried to find something to cheer me up. I found the BBC website with the footage of the Reading Festival, something I used to attend pretty regularly in my 20's. An old favourite of mine, Limp Bizkit had reformed and I decided to watch the show. I think I must be the first person in history to burst into tears at watching Limp Bizkit play live.

As I watched the 'mosh pit', the sunsoaked revellers enjoying themselves, the memories came flooding back of the times I was in that circle pit, shirt off, leaping from body to body, charged up on energy and adrenalin - suddenly my pathetic body had never seemed so pitiful. By comparison, my mission today was to get a tin of peaches and some ice-cream from the local shop. That would be my feat of physical impressiveness, rather than a 90 minute slam-dancing session in the middle of a hot field. My self-pity reached new depths. I couldn't do anything, except sit or lie. It hurts to take a shit, for fucks sake. Truly pathetic.

Wednesday came around. I had to get up. I had to. Today, I was booked in for 'clinic' at my local hospital in the morning. Clinic is 'blood test' and mini-consultation once results are through (about an hour) to check if you're good to go for chemo the following day. After clinic, I would need to drive over the main cancer hospital for another CT/PET scan. That's the one where they make you radioactive - regular readers might remember this.

Getting up and dressed took about an hour. You can put one sock on and pause, drift away, stare into space. Knackered. After 5 minutes you'll put on another sock. Every time you pass a chair, you will sit. If you pass the sofa, you will lie. On top of this, I am not allowed to eat until after my afternoon scan. I am hungry. I won't be eating until about 2:00pm. Bah.

Somehow I drive to Clinic and do the waiting thing. I moan a lot in clinic about how shitty I feel, but ultimately, they do not care, for my blood test is not showing anything too critical and the more important issue is to get the scan done and results back. The results from this scan will show how well I have responded to the treatment and how much more, if any, I am to have.

Then - some amazing news ... casually, in passing, my doctor says, "there's no point you having chemo tomorrow...we'll wait for the scan results". The words from heaven flowed from her lips. "No chemo tomorrow". I feel better already. OH GOD, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!. Some respite. In my current condition, you can imagine how much I was looking forward to another pounding with the very shitty chemo-stick.

As I walked out of that hospital towards another, I felt slightly better and noticed my pace was a bit quicker. However, I am still hungry.

So then. Back to the ol' PET/CT scan. I've covered this already, but in a nutshell, you turn up, get injected with some radioactive magic monkey juice, you wait 25 mins whilst drinking some water, you then get put into one of those long tube machines that cost a fucking fortune and about 30 mins later, out the other end will pop a picture of your insides - with all the nasty cancer stuff lighting up like glow sticks at a rave. These images will eventually be pondered over by some clever people and send back to my doctor, where I will be called in and told if it's time to start making holiday or funeral arrangements.

Inside the tube, I fall asleep. This is pretty impressive. Most people are intimidated by the whirling piece of NASA type technology that covers your head and torso. But I was so shattered that I lay down and bingo! - nap time. The 25 min scan session was over in a heartbeat.

I am rudely awakened by a junior lab-rat, who shows me the door.

After the scan, I find the hospital snack-shop. I sit in my car and tuck into my fast breaking healthy lunch of ice-cream, chocolate, crisps and fizzy drink. SUGGGGGGGGGGGGGGAAAAAAAR RRRRRRRUUUUUUUSH!

Home again. Flop into bed. I did it. I did it. I did it. Sleep.


Today: Oh for fucks sake. Surely I should be better now! *sneeze*. Fuck it, i'm going to work anyhow. *sneeze*

I make it to the office at about 11:00am. I am dripping snot out my nose and sneezing regularly. I am drinking Lemsips and ... praise Allah ... I am feeling better. My work output is as pathetic as my body but just being here, plugged back into the system, talking to people, helping out a bit ... hour by hour, I'm returning to 'self'. It feels good to be back.

Conclusion: There is very little wrong with me to worry about. I probably have picked up what you lot get every other month - a cold, a bug, Man Flu, whatever you call it ... however, with an immune system that is as effective at fighting as the French Navy, I am floored by the smallest of germs. Pathetic.

It's been a really hard few days for some reason. It's certainly not been the first episode that I've been racked up in bed for a few days, but each time, it gets harder mentally. I am tired. I am tired of the downs. I am tired of chemo. I am tired of having to explain how I feel. I am tired of blogging about how tired I am of ... etc.

So, the wait is on then. The wait for the scan results. The results that dictate my immediate and possibly long term future. If I'm honest, I couldn't actually give a shit about the cancer, I just want the chemo to stop. I think I'm getting the cart before the horse there, but it's how I feel.

However, if you're so inclined, pray. Pray that in a week's time, I will be posting happy news about my scan results.

If, like our good friend Steven Hawkins, you've decided God doesn't exist, then send positive thoughts my way anyway.

Because ...

Because I really, really need a break from this. My body wants some uninterrupted healing time. I want to be able to get a few weeks of good times back. I was going to write that I want to run, to dive, to mosh in pits ... but to be honest, I just want to be able to eat, to shit and to go to work. I want to be a bit bored with the same ol', same ol'. I want things to be predictable. To be stuck in a routine. To be grinding out the weeks. To be, well, normal.

Most of all, I want the old me back.


Special thanks for M. for bringing me food supplies and listening to me moan. You saved my life. Probably.


Footnote: I'll post the results of my scan on this blog. I may need to talk to few people first, face to face (or by phone) but rest assured, you'll know not long after I do.

Until then, consider this an end of series cliffhanger ...

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