Job of the week

I am not a completer finisher.  I have even been know to start sentences and

Up until now this finishing trait hasn’t caused me too many problems (if you count my previous marriages as challenges, not problems).

But I had no idea this personality ‘defect’ would be inherited by my body, which has enthusiastically decided to do anything other than finish building its’ immune system this week.  It seemed, however, to have enough time to make countless new grey hairs, layers of subcutaneous fatty tissue and excessive leg hairs. 

As my final chemo is now long overdue, I, or more accurately my body (we have stopped speaking to each other on account of above) has decided against returning to the chemo ward this week and after today’s shabby blood results, it is highly likely to put it off for another week. And before you ask, it’s pointless asking me to have another chat with my body about all of this. I have come to the conclusion that it’s got even worse at listening than Andrew Lansley.

So, I have decided to recruit an interim body to finish this one off for me.  And a rather generous package awaits. Any applicants will get:

  1. a week or 2 in bed
  2. a bag of legal drugs
  3. a free acupuncture and reiki session
  4. a slice of cake and a badge

Applicants will need:

  1. Good bone marrow
  2. flexible working arrangements
  3. love of needles
  4. love of daytime TV

I thank you. x



Chemo cancelled, someone please tell the weather…

“Rachel, Rachel, Rachel, what are you doing back here?” asked Doctor Needles this morning as if I were an alzheimer’s patient looking for somewhere nice to sit down.

When I sheepishly confessed I was hoping my blood had recovered enough from Friday to go ahead with my last Chemo as planned today, he tsk’d loudly and said I would have more luck stuffing an octopus with ADHD into my handbag or words to that effect.

Sadly his predictions have proved more accurate than the coalition government so far and I was packed off home to put away my balloons and celebration cakes for another week.

Which means I know have an empty calender to fill and am busily taking bookings!

lol x

Cancer staging and the Daily Mail?

Table 8 at The Falcon in High Wycombe is fast becoming my favourite lunch spot. Glamorous it ‘aint. The inmates seem to think it most natural to drink pints at 11am, the fruit salads have as much fruit in them as beef tomatoes have beef and the wine comes out of taps, but it’s a lot of laughs and I am in danger of returning again and again like a hand to a biscuit jar!

My new chemo friend introduced me to this gem and shares the same aversion as I do for support groups, but we have luckily stumbled upon our own version which is a whole lot less earnest as we spend most of the time laughing like hyenas.

This week we dissected the personalities of our surgeon and oncologist after discovering we shared the same double act.  I was disappointed to discover that my memory of our shared surgeon massaging my feet at the foot of my bed was more likely to be a morphine moment confused by the post surgery stockings rhythmically inflating and deflating on my legs, then the tender moment I ‘remembered’. 

Now as everyone is aware, the medical profession is vigorously trained to gasp silently to avoid alarming the patient, so naturally our oncologists inability to dignify a question with an answer (if you don’t count “I wouldn’t worry about that” or “let’s wait and see”), was viewed with narrow eyed suspicion. However, after playing  oncologist snap, we agreed in the case of Dr W, this was less a case of deliberate suppression of bad news and more likely to be a reassuring positive personality quirk.

But the biggest epiphany was the link between paper readership and cancer staging.  As both of us had been Guardian/Observer readers, we concluded that had we been lifelong subscribers to the Daily Mail, our cancer would not have reached T4!  The Mail’s daily dose of cancer doom/cure stories would have seen us camping out in the waiting rooms of our doctor’s surgeries demanding attention long before we eventually turned up blissfully unaware that our colons were on their knees!  

Meanwhile a visit to Dr Needles (aka the Bulgarian vampire) confirmed what I had always suspected.  Not only that my white blood cells were once again on strike and my final chemo on Monday is now in jeopardy, but check out Dr Needle’s unorthodox method of extracting blood.  You can’t tell me these are not teeth marks?

Back in Monday for another attempt.  I have decided that my blood will hit a comfortable 1.7 and am visualising like mad. x

Chemo number 7 versus Rachel

The upside of my blood recovering has meant I went ahead with number 7 yesterday as scheduled, and it all went super smoothly.  I even managed to leave before the nurses turned off the lights and got treated by a new nurse putting my steroids in by drip rather than injection; amazing what passes for pleasure these days! And Jo did a change over with mum and turned up at lunchtime with liquorice toffees. Everything was going like clockwork….hmmm.

Until I tried to leave and found the neuropathy and chemo fog had descended so fast, my friend Jo resembled Usain Bolt as I tried to follow her to the car park!  And this from a women who broke both ankles and wrists last year, so I must be hallucinating or the nice nurses have messed about with my wiring again.

And sure enough sickness followed and my body began to emitt its usual chemo glow lighting up the chiltern hills. You walk in to the sight of a miserable grey rainy Buckinghamshire sky and leave a few hours later filled with chemicals and heh, instant Maldives!

Chemo number 7 is shaping up to be a nasty piece of work and roughing me up a bit too much.  Now Knock it off!  Meanwhile Dad, decorator turned nurse administers the bone marrow injections!

Just when I was getting ready to give up on my bone idle bone marrow…..

David you were right! 6 attempts needed!

I was totally caught out this morning when my white blood cells stopped acting like French air traffic controllers and finally got back to work.  Granted they dragged their little white blood cell feet and needed 6 attempts to tempt them back into the chemo ward today. But I can now look forward to 3 weeks absence from needles, having sported more cotton wall buds these last 4 weeks than your average reception art class.

Which goes to prove you must never give up; “It’s always darkest before the dawn,so if you are going to steal your neighbours newspaper, that’s the time to do it” or perhaps more suitably from Winston Churchill, “If you are going through hell, keep going!”. Life is anything but predictable at the moment and it does me good to remember faith and loads of love is the key to getting through this.

As we descend back into winter this week, I am consoled by the weeks of enforced rest I ‘endured’ basking in hot sunshine like a job lot of beef jerky.  All I can look forward to over the next 12 days is my body and face swelling back up like an air bed and the aversion to anything cold which has started already with my knife and fork causing my fingers to tingle and swallowing food becoming a dangerous sport with my throat going into spasms.

Oh well, see you on the other side!   zzzzzzzz

I will remember this weekend for ever

This weekend when our weather knocked cheating celebrities and other matters of national security off the front page of our national newspapers, I went to Brighton with my teenage son, Joe.

Used to conversing in complete sentences of only one word, it was a brilliant revelation to find we could hold detailed and long conversations about all manner of subjects from black holes to Bear Grylls; How many bears can Bear Grylls grill if Bear Grylls could grill bears?  Bear Grylls can grill one bear on his grill as he only has a one bear grill.  Or something like that.

Joe’s sceptical attitude to everything and everyone around him was hysterical and I am now totally ‘teenaged’ up on what’s cool or not.  (Apparently for reference, just about any make of car other than Aston Martins or Bentleys are gay, as are most clothing outlets with the exception of Superdry or Bench and many other items, too long to list here including the humble ice cream).

Sadly after the best weekend, we had to come back (him to school and me to the chemo ward), but not before we attracted the attentions of a ‘strange’ individual on Brighton Beach who locked onto us from the thousands around us, like a heat seeking missile.  After a rapid fire exchange of information in which we learnt his weight, height, leg injuries, number of sit ups he could do and his prediction that Birmingham will become the new capital of the UK, we made our escape before my left temporal lobe threatened to detach itself completely.

With all the delays to chemo, I have felt quite normal for the last 3 weeks and had quite forgotten what it feels like to be so ill, which goes to prove my point about short memories where treatment is concerned. But off for the 4th blood test first thing and if neutrophills are go, I will be spending tomorrow afternoon being nuked.

When I re-enter the real world again, I will plot a similar outing with my nearly teenager daughter Lois!  And more treats have been lined up; with a bit of luck we will be back in Brighton in a couple of weeks with Lauren and Jo.  Can’t wait.

Joe shortly before someone threw a cigarette but from balcony above "nearly setting light" to him!