Part 12: Some Days are Better Than Others

No matter how positive you feel most days, the bad ones still sneak in. And you know what? That’ ok.

Despite feeling a bit flat I did manage to complete my Keep Calm and Keep Moving 34 day challenge for Trekstock.

I have struggled this cycle. Not with my side-effects particularly, but emotionally.

My brain knows that I’ve reached beyond the half-way point, the end is in sight and I should be feeling excited.

But I don’t.

I feel fed up. I feel tired. I feel bored of the repetitive nature of chemotherapy – the continual monotonous cycle…’like the head of an elephant in a state of melancholy madness’. Instead of feeling elated that I am half-way through I feel a bit trapped; a bit trapped and frustrated that I still have the same amount to go through that I’ve already lived. And now, even though I am coping a lot better with my side effects than I was, I’m still just ready for it to be over and the end still feels impossibly far away.

Sometimes it’s just the simple things I miss.

I want to be able to eat normally without pain and discomfort. When the sun shines I want to enjoy an ice cold lager without it sticking in my throat and making me feel sick. I want to glugg down some cold water after a run without a throat spasm. And I never want to see another hot squash again.

I want to be able to bite down on a fresh grape without crying out in pain.

I want to be able to have a bath without worrying about getting my PICC line wet and risking infection.

I want to go out on my bike every day - not just days when I feel well enough - because cruising along in the breeze makes me feel normal. And free.

I want to leave the house without worrying that my chemo diarrhoea might kick in at any minute.

I want to be able to put away my shopping without pains in my hands. I want my nails and skin back.

And I want to plan for the future. I want to move on with my life.

I want to take our canoe out on the river without worrying that I will get too cold to function (even in 20 degree heat) - or having to think about what would happen if I fell in.

I do know I am being self-indulgent: I do know that things could be worse. But it’s just that some days are better than others.

Every time I return to the chemo ward I face a new psychological battle. I know, with certainty that I will leave there feeling a lot worse than when I arrived. No matter how kind the nurses are. And I dread it.

I get up on a chemo morning and try my hardest to be positive; I go for a run; a dog walk; I sit and read; I try to be still. I make myself a rainbow salad before committing to a week of beige. I do some yoga. I breathe.

But as the clock ticks down I feel worse and worse. And inevitably I am transported back to that small consultation room at The James Paget Hospital following my colonoscopy back in September.

‘It’s not good news I’m afraid.’

I relive it over and over again and it still makes me cry - which physically hurts (thanks Oxaliplatin).

Next I relive that first phone call to my Mum who I knew was back home waiting anxiously for my results.

And from there I relive every cycle that I’ve endured so far. One on top of the other – every side pain, every vomit, every attack of pins and needles, every explosive shit.

And even though I know that these feelings will pass, that I’ll be ok again and that many of my side effects will fade with time, I also know, that in 21 days I will return to this exact space that I am in now. The cycle will continue…’in and out at the same hours, with the same sound upon the same pavements…everyday…the same as yesterday and tomorrow.’ And I still have to go through this at least another 3 times.

My chemo is intensive – it is designed to root out and kill. It is not designed to be endured long term. I know that if we get to the end of this and it hasn’t worked they probably won’t just throw more of the same at me…well I hope they won’t.

But I am still scared. Because what if they do? How will I get through it?

I have started having premonitions of that future consultation with my oncologist where he tells me the results of my first post chemo scan; where he tells me that it hasn’t worked, that the cancer is still there - or worse - that it has appeared somewhere else as well.

And that’s why some days are better than others – because some days it’s much harder to see an end to this.

But please don’t worry – I don’t feel like this all the time. Just some times. Particularly this cycle. I know it’s self-indulgent. I know it’s pointless worrying about things I cannot control. I know it’s destructive to be so fatalistic. But sometimes, just sometimes, you’re allowed.

And I share these thoughts with you, not because I need sympathy, or rallying, but because we’re all going through something strange at the moment. We all have our own challenges and demons to endure and survive and overcome. I try to put my most positive foot forward as much as I can, but I also think it’s ok to let you know, that sometimes I don’t feel so positive. Sometimes I’m bloody petrified. Sometimes it’s hard to get dressed. Sometimes I don’t want to do anything. And I reckon I’m not the only one – I reckon lots of you feel the same. Sometimes.

And sometimes, that’s ok. Because sometimes, some days, are just better than others.

If you've been effected by any of the issues covered in my blog and have questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch