What a difference a year makes.

Enduring the side effects of treatment all week has left me with little more to do than to think……. to think about everything from the meaningless questions of life like is time travel possible, to more reflective thoughts of how much has changed in the past 12 months. This very week last year, I was in Tenerife celebrating my mums 50th birthday with my grandparents and in only two weeks time Paul, I and the kids would be departing for Australia. I never could have imagined that in a years time I would be bed bound and suffering the effects of chemotherapy. I’ve went from climbing montano roja in Tenerife to climbing the different levels of the cancer centre.

Even going back six months my sights were set on giving birth, joining a gym and getting myself back into education, I wanted to gain some qualifications so that I could get a job I was passionate about and enjoyed. January should have been the month studying started, not Chemotherapy. I feel angry sometimes that things haven’t went my way. I think of all the things I should be doing and I resent this situation I’m in. I’m usually the type of person that doesn’t believe in accepting a situation, even when all possibilities are exhausted and there seems to be no other way, I will not give up until I find a way that suits me. It’s the stubborn side of me I guess (which I believe I have my grandfather to thank for it) and it has served me well so far but It’s now coming back to bite me, because for now all I can control is my attitude. I have to simply learn to endure it and be patient.

At the start of this week, I had a determined, let’s do this attitude to treatment, #femalepower and all that. Three days in and I felt like I wasn’t going to get through the next day. The effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatment took me by surprise, I wasn’t doubting that it was going to be though but nothing could have prepared me for the reality that hit. The only way I can describe it is a feeling of numbness. You feel slow, your movements, your speech, eyesight, hearing. You have to concentrate on each word your trying to say before it leaves your lips. You don’t know what day of the week it is, you have little to no memory. When the nurses ask you to confirm your date of birth and address, for a few seconds you actually don’t know the answer. It’s what I would imagine being drugged is like, knowing what’s going on but being powerless to stop it. This was the most frightening of side effects I’ve experienced so far and I’ve since learnt after a panicked phone call to the chemotherapy helpline that the likely reason for this side effect is down to the steroids and not actually the chemotherapy. Unfortunately though you can’t have chemo without the steroids. Thankfully by Saturday afternoon the haze began to lift and I started to feel a bit more normal. Other side effects I’ve experienced so far haven’t been just as frightening, the nausea is controlled pretty well by the anti sickness drugs they give you but you do still experience a slight wave of sickness every now and again. The stomach cramps are bad and feel like your organs are being spun in a washing machine. There is a radiating pain that shoots through all my pelvic bones from time to time and lastly there is the running to the bathroom. One minute your really need to go then the next you can’t. All things considered though I’m still here and whether I want to or not, tomorrow it will start all over again. I’m not being so naive this time though, I’m expecting this week to be worse than the last. Surely a build up of poison in your system can only mean things will get worse?

On a more positive note though I must say that shopping in a wheelchair is way more efficient than walking. I learnt this just today when I decided that feeling dizzy and faint was not a valid excuse to miss a shopping trip. So with the help of my mum she whizzed me around the shopping centre as normal. I feel very thankful for all the people I have around me right now and I want them to know that I really appreciate everything they are doing for me, I can be a princess at the best of times but lately I’m sure I’ve been more than demanding. So to my amazing husband, thank you for being so brilliant with the kids, thank you for keeping our home so nice, thank you for keeping me company when I can’t sleep at night and feel sick, thanks for driving me to hospital each day and listening to me moan. To my mum, thanks for being super nanny and minding the kids, thanks for being my own personal chef and nutritionist, hairdresser, painter and decorator. Thanks to my dad, for helping out with James and keeping him distracted from what’s going on at home and for being there no matter what I may need in the future. To my in laws, thanks for being on stand by for whenever we may call.

I can now start to sympathise with terminal cancer sufferers who, towards the end, make the decision to stop treatment and enjoy the time they have.

Life is for living, so make sure you find a way.

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