Sunday, May 06, 2007

Greek Style Yoghurt; Normal Style Life

Day 5 after chemo and the fuzziness still comes and goes. Sometimes it clears and I feel more or less normal, but othertimes it's back with such a vengeance that I cannot actually hear anything much because my head literally feels blocked up. I keep having to ask people to repeat themselves, which makes me feel particularly stupid. And a quick drop in to Sainsbury's yesterday took about 30 minutes as I struggled to remember what made up a meal.

The main thing is, being in chemo is surprisingly mundane. I thought it would become the most violent and tangible mainfestation of having cancer, but really it is like being inside the eye of a storm. My daily life is spent looking out for the most minor of changes in symptoms and the mundaneity of this is making me feel rather dull.

I am lucky, I seem to have got through chemo I without any major mishap or nausea reaction to the drugs. But there are a myriad of smaller side-effects, none too interesting in themselves, and most generated by the peripheral drugs they give you to counter the major side-effects, but add them all together and they aren't THAT fun. And watching for every tiny difference in my bowels and giving R a running commentary on the whole thing is not the most crowd-pleasing. My cancer is not the knife-edge, bedside-drama I assumed on first diagnosis that it could be, for which I feel very grateful but rather dull all the same.

A few strands of hair are falling out when I put my hands to my head, so I need to be ready for that. I'm not sleeping well, but hoping that will settle down once the effect of the steroids wears off (last one taken yesterday lunchtime and I've been dodging the optional sleeping pills the last two nights which may explain why I've been waking at 4am unable to get back to sleep). I'm glassy-eyed and fuzzy-headed, but most of all I am obsessed with my bowels. Always relativey scatalogically interested, when you've not had a proper poo for four days the slightest movement gets celebrated and publicised. It had got so bad that on Friday I felt like I was, well, backing up. Indigestion and heartburn meant I was burping air out the top end. I decided it was time to do something about the other end as a direct result.

If you're interested, adding figs to your muesli, baked beans on a baked potato and a punnet of grapes will do it.

So chemo is turning me into a balding, farting, sleepless, fuzzy headed idiot. Lucky old R.

But the upside is I can still more of less function, I think. As long as I get on top of this sleeping thing. I actually went out and met up with a few friends on Friday night, in a noisy old pub on Fleet Street. The relief at being able to do something normal like that after a day at work where things went relatively ok felt wonderful.

Just finished breakfast of Greek Style Natural Yoghurt and Strawberries and Seeds. It took me ages to find a plain yoghurt without the live bacteria in it (banned when on chemo as your gut would not cope well, apparently). Having worked in advertising all my life I know what they mean when something is called 'Something-Nice-Sounding STYLE Thingie'. It means it's not the Something-Nice-Sounding thing at all, but something else completely unrelated to the product you think you're buying. I used to avoid these things like the plague, now I am searching them out!

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