November 8th

I was recently alerted by email to a couple of messages on this blog and, upon checking in to read them, I was stunned to see how long it was since my last post.

Over the last few weeks I have composed many a post in my head but, for one reason or another (mainly the phenomenon known as chemo-brain, I suspect) I have not put them online. However, had you asked me if I was still blogging, I would have replied cheerfully in the affirmative. As I said, chemo-brain has a lot to answer for. It can be very distressing, of course, like the morning I stood in my kitchen, entirely unable to remember how to make a cup of tea. But it can also be a useful alibi for things we have simply forgotten to do, like upload one’s blog posts!

So where am I on my cancer timeline? The good news is that my five months or so of chemo hell has ended, my final dose being administered on 30th September. I would love to say that overall it wasn’t too bad, but I would be fibbing. The final two rounds were especially tough on my system, even though the dose was reduced first to 80% for Chemo No. 5 and then to 75% for the sixth.

Nearly six weeks on, I finally feel that the poisonous healer is exiting my system, hopefully having done its work – as well as its worst. Yes, it really can take that long for one’s body to process, utilise and expel these fascinating but fearsome drugs. The pain throughout my body is lessening by the day; the nausea has receded completely; my digestive system has returned to normal and my hair is starting to grow back, albeit slowly and fluffily! My energy levels and stamina are still pathetically low but I feel incrementally better each day.

Even for those who are only mildly affected by its side effects, chemo is never easy. Many great blog posts and useful web pages have been written about how to best deal with the experience, but it feels timely to add my own hints and tips, which I have done in a separate post here.

I have been ill and house-bound for the entire summer, so I feel the warm, sunny weather has somewhat passed me by. However autumn is my favourite season so I am looking forward to enjoying crisp frosts, chilly days, bright sunshine, refreshing rain and magical mists in the weeks to come.

On my patio, this beautiful rose is still just about in flower, long after other roses have bloomed their last for the year. It was given to me by our lovely next door neighbour Shirley and is called Macmillan Nurse, in honour of the wonderful people who work for the charity Macmillan Cancer Support.

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