My seventh week of Chemotherapy

Cycle 3

Week 7

This week has been the most challenging week of the cycle. I spent most of the first 3 days in the foetal position, childs pose or, for the most part, sitting with my legs and back propped up, cocooned in electric blankets. It was a lesson in doing nothing but accepting the situation … for hours at a time just listening to the rhythm of my breath slipping in and out of a dream state.

By day 3 the texture of my food changed and my taste buds were off at a tangent. My appetite gone, I wasn’t enjoying my food. Not being connected to what I feel like eating is emotionally challenging.

I also don’t have the energy to stay ‘up’. My physical energy is at an all time low, so no inspiration, desire, energy to whip up a smoothie or juice, or even to soak the mung beans!

My sister, Sophie, very kindly lent me two pairs of trousers this week. Having lost so much weight I am struggling to dress myself in clothes that fit me and I am not shopping for a while now!

When I started treatment, I was given steroids to take at breakfast and lunch, the day before, the day of, and for two days after the chemotherapy. I realised that for the first two cycles I had been taking one pill instead of the prescribed four each time. So this cycle I started with 4 pills at a time as per the prescription. BUT full dose, I was completely wired! I didn’t like the nervy feeling they gave me, like an engine running too fast for comfort. It was difficult to relax and my sleep was affected. So I stopped taking them the day after the chemotherapy. Having done so, I definitely know what side effects steroids help with! I realise that for the next cycle it is important to take some steroids. I do need some energy and I really want to enjoy my food and feel connected to what my body needs. I will try half the dose and hope that it hits the right balance! I only have one cycle left, so there is no more room for experimentation!

I got major cabin fever and not enough fresh air and exercise this week. On the rare occasions I had the energy it was often pouring with rain, and we resorted to leg stretching down the isles of B and Q!!

Tuesday 17th February
Week 7, Cycle 3
Day 1
A wonderful celebratory start to my third cycle of Chemotherapy – my identical twin girls, Harriet and Eleanor, are 28 today! They were christened on my first wedding anniversary, at 3 months old! Motherhood got off to a roaring start! I have absolutely loved it and the continuous stream of magical moments. Now I am being driven to my clearing appointment by Harriet and looked after with such loving care and attentiveness.

The night before the appointment was a short one. I had taken the full dose of steroids at breakfast and lunch the day before and was wired. I found it difficult getting to sleep, then waking at 2.30am I was fully charged to start the day. I realised that I have too many packets of steroids left. I have only been taking 1 pill instead of 4 detailed on my medication sheet. That is a lot of pills missed, so I am trying out the full dose to see what happens this time round.

I prepared a linseed enema and still had time to go to Hot yoga at 7am. In the mirror I noticed that my rather floppy and untoned midriff was looking distinctly better after a week back on the yoga mat. How quickly tone can come and go!!

We have a birthday celebration trip into town for lunch with my sister and niece and then straight on to the hospital for 2.30pm where Harriet quite happily spent the rest of her birthday tending to me, very loving, caring and considerate.

It is so very difficult for me to have my children see me vulnerable and in pain and unfortunately, the nurse had to have a second attempt with the cannula in the back of my hand. It was very painful, as was the injection of Herceptin into my thigh. It was given too fast for comfort and twice I couldn’t help crying out from the pain. It was not a good experience this time round.

Wednesday 18th February
Week 7, Cycle 3
Day 2

The first day after the clearing session was a day in bed, sludge and heavy limbs. Not a nervy sludge though, since I decided not to take more steroids in favour of being able to rest and sleep through the chemical mire, rather than being all revved up. It worked and thank goodness I felt no sickness that the slippery elm couldn’t deal with. I am still taking slippery elm powder as described in week one.

I finished the Rosie Project book, the perfect level of ease and humour to distract.

Simple food and not much of it, muesli breakfast and gluten free corn penne pasta with dairy free toffuti and a few tomatoes thrown in.

I put a cod-liver oil pack on my liver for the morning.

Cousin Annabel came round and put her healing hands on my head and chest. Such a relief and so comforting. She left me pretty knocked out and able to sleep for a good stretch.

I prepared an emema in the morning, but didn’t feel like doing anything to my body until the afternoon. I felt immediately better, clearer in the head and less sluggish.

Thursday 19th
Week 7, Cycle 3
Day 3

I don’t feel like food, so prepare a banana smoothie and line everything up for a morning of healing! It feels like a lot of energy expenditure and takes a big effort in organisation to prepare all these things for getting well! I prepare for a coffee enema. I run an epsom salts bath.

Using the Breathwork (Link in blog to explain! ) I breathe for periods of over an hour and sink deeply into a state of ‘no mind’. Breathing a 2 to 1 breath that takes care of itself, with no effort, allowing me to drift in and out of consciousness. This seems to be most of my day, with a lot of drinking Pukka Cleanse Tea too.

In the evening I go downhill and have a bad night. At 2am I resort to a urine pack, which really helps me. I get 2 hours deep sleep, wake up, drink water and then another two hours of deep sleep. Once again my pee is my saviour!

Friday 20th February
Week 7, Cycle 3
Day 4
My worst day so far. Just when I thought I had cracked it. Zero energy and feeling fog/sludge. I can’t imagine ever eating again. Just the thought of food feels uncomfortable! I don’t know what to do with myself. Loud noises and light are tiresome. There are no words to describe this phase. ‘The pits’ doesn’t come close.

I feel like I have been reduced to the tiniest flicker of a pilot light since Tuesday.
I have noticed that I am more comfortable with a ‘no state’ of mind. I am slipping in there easily, having spent so much time there this week.

Sat 21st February
Week 7, Cycle 3
Day 5

I have a good night at last. Well, in relative termsI suppose. Half way through, dripping with sweat, I peel off wet night clothes and start again, but I go straight back to sleep and wake up feeling that I have myself back again. The largest organ of elimination of my body, my skin, had one last menopausal clear out. We nailed it and the mists have cleared!

Feeling buoyant, I went out to lunch at the Whitecliffs cafe – a sea view! Skipping out of my cabin fever I really enjoyed the company of my father and sister for the afternoon. My appetite has gone this week and I’m struggling to enjoy any food, but I really enjoyed the environment and chat.

Back home I hauled the seville oranges, bought in January, out of the shed and had a very cosy late afternoon/evening making marmalade and listening to desert island discs on radio 4 catch up. A wonderful interlude of normal life.

Sunday 22nd February
Week 7, Cycle 3
Day 6
We have an Inspirational Breathing students morning of sharing Breathwork. It is perfect timing for Mark who had a great time in the pub yesterday, listening to live jazz. A much needed and deserved piece of normal life, though he was feeling a little worse for wear in the morning!

There are four of us, so two pairs giving and receiving breath sessions in turns. I received a great breath session and felt my sparkle and shine returning. It was as if my inner windows had just been cleaned!

I also really enjoyed giving a breathing session with the absorption of working with full focus on someone else. It was encouraging to remember I have a life of good work to get back to. I miss it tremendously.

It then rains all afternoon. We HAVE to get out so the only exercise we get is down the aisles of B&Q, buying kitchen door handles!! I relish striding more than 10 steps in one direction!

Monday 23rd February
Week 7, Cycle 3
Day 7
I got so furious today I could have bludgeoned a bus queue. Mark had never seen anything like it!

We couldn’t get out in time when the sun was shining! Looking at the bright rays, I was running round making every effort to get out, brushing teeth, phone rang, hat, coat, gloves, … but the moment I got to the front steps it started to lash it down with rain. I was crockery smashing furious. Tearing off my outer layers, I roared into my breathing room; put on my VERY best LOUD CHAOS music and with stamping feet and pounding fists, had a full on toddler tantrum!! I was so fed up with being contained in what seems to be our increasingly tiny and dark bungalow after DAYS of rain. As I moved, flailed and railed, I felt the surge of full flow anger and it felt bloody great. So I made the most of it, feeling every twist and turn till it ran its course and finished with a remarkably calm lying down time and breathing!

Feeling a WHOLE lot calmer in the afternoon, thank goodness, I gave a breathing session to a student. I am rather itching to be back working. I absolutely loved it!

In the evening, I made it to my Nia dance class. It felt so long since I had the energy for it.

Afterwards, breaking ranks from being vegan and wheat free, and with a devil may care – I can eat what I want sort of feeling, – we went out for a dinner of fish and chips! I did take my own salad for balance, and decent tomato ketchup which I could not get enough of. My taste buds were in a rapturous frenzy tasting that vinegar!! A really excellent meal making up for the frustration of the morning!

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