Saturday, June 23, 2007

Health MOT


So, coming up to the last week of chemo three and How am I doing?

1. Overall health:

Managed to contract an infection, but that's all behind me now healthwise.

Now I'm through that, I don't feel so tired. But week ones will remain buggers, with week twos needing to be taken relatively easy. July should be fun. We have something on virtually every weekend. Reunions of rally people, music festivals, weddings. And because of the way the dates fall, two chemo treatments. I'll be pooped come August.

2. Hair loss:

I'm balding but not completely bald. And the hair that's still on there seems to have pretty much stopped growing.

Haven't needed to shave my legs or armpits since mid-May. As for my 'lady garden', well... it's extremely sparse. In fact, I'm almost completely bald down there, which, when I have caught my reflection in the mirror post-shower, is slightly unnerving. Body of a thirty-four year old, mons pubis of an eight year old. I'm sure some people would get off on that but I don't.

That said, it has been a huge relief to stop with all the pruning and shearing that goes on as a woman, both down there and on my legs and armpits. Men moan about shaving their beards off every day. They don't know the half of it.

Incidentally, my nail growth has also slowed. I know this because I bite some of my nails and they are growing back less rapidly. I've only had to cut them once since treatment began (toes this is, as I bite the hands regularly enough to keep them in trim myself!).

3. Weight

Yes I'm gaining weight. As someone who grapples with their weight anyway, this is not particularly welcome.

Not sure whether it's because: I'm eating more due to the steroids; I'm eating more because R has moved in and I'm cooking big meals every night for us both (a single girl will often arrive home late from work, stare at the contents of the fridge, and think 'oh fuck it, an apple and a piece of cheese will do me' - it may not be nutritionally sound but it's a darn sight less calorific); or if it's just the fact that my sheer lack of energy in week one and two means I'm sitting on my arse more and supplementing that with exercise is hardly that easy when you're short of breath because of the chemo wiping out all your red blood cells.

But I have a plan.

When radiotherapy starts I'm going to ask for an appointment some time during the middle of the day. I had assumed initally the most convenient time for me would be early morning or in the evening, so I could work it into my journey in and out of the office. But riding a motorbike means you're dressed in bike gear which is clumsy and hot to find your way round hospitals in, plus I'd have to rely on finding a parking spot in a bike bay otherwise I'll get ticketed. Then, if it was a morning slot, by the time I'd get to my office I'd be later than most bikers and my regular bay would have filled up.

However, if the appointment is in the middle of the day, then I'd be able to store my pushbike at the office and use that to ride backwards and forwards to the hospital. No parking problems, and I get fit all at once. I just need to keep a suitable pair of shoes and shorts and sweatshirt at the office and use that to go to my appointments in. Six weeks of riding what I'm guessing to be around six or seven miles a day and that should start things off nicely. Once radiotherapy finishes, well, I'll have that much more time in the day to develop a more regular and permanent routine (now how many times have I said that?).

4. Recovery from surgery

My boob shape looks normal but my nipple is still blue and I keep getting little bits of fluid (seromas) in my upper right shoulder area. At the moment, I can feel a small seroma around my shoulderblade when I lie down. It hurts me slightly when I lay on my right side. There is also soreness around the forward tip of my shoulder, and if I stretch my arm up and back, it feels sore along the underside of the muscles. I've had the odd pain in that area over the last two months and yet it seems to fade away. Then it pops up again a couple of weeks later. I'm not entirely sure why it happens.

A question for Professor Mokbel methinks, when I see him at my check up in early July.

But I've given up hope of him doing anything about my blue nipple. It will just look like I've got a bruise on my tit. FOREVER. Bang goes sunbathing topless on that millionaire's yacht. And my lapdancing/glamour model career.

All in all, not too bad really. Halfway through chemo and I feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel.

And that's not a bad feeling at all.

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