Hello again. It’s been a while. [sounds a bit like the intro to an Adele song – sorry!].
Had another post-steroid ‘downer’ last week hence the online silence, but reassuringly it was nowhere near the low of my first serious chemo depression, which really did have me in a pit of darkness.
With Louise’s invaluable help, we prepared better for things this time round and tried various coping mechanisms to manage my mood slump.
I got out of hospital on 12 January and finished my steroids on the 15th, so it was really last weekend and the start of the week that effects were felt.
A bit unfortunate as Saturday was my birthday and Sunday we managed to get out sledging with the kids.
There’s something about having a life-limiting diagnosis and birthdays that puts you deep into the contemplation zone. Same when you are out doing seasonal activities with the family.
But having some medication (diazepam!) and getting the right levels of rest and exercise definitely helped get through the four or five low days. And having family and friends around to keep an eye on me and give me the right level of support and encouragement was invaluable – thanks.
Talking of medication, for a few days last week I was taking 25 pills each morning after breakfast. I’ve got my own dedicated Tupperware box for my pills and potions and it can be a challenge remembering what to take and when.
I’ve also had my first ever blood transfusion, given at the end of chemo round 3 as I was getting a bit anaemic. Nothing to do with the cancer, just a fairly normal side-effect from the high-dose chemo I’m receiving. Odd having someone else’s blood in me though – I blame them for the toxic farting…
You can probably guess what’s coming now… If you are able to give blood (and I appreciate, due to stringent control measures, many aren’t) then please do make an effort to give your pint of the red stuff.
So, what next?
In the short term, I probably need a shave. But I’ve regressed right back to my teenage years ‘bum fluff’ on my top lip. You can’t see it. Only feel it. Manly stubble it ain’t!
Otherwise it’s a pretty big week for me.
I’m booked in to get my first follow-up CT Scan on Friday. It’ll show how much, or how little, impact the three rounds of chemo so far have had in killing off the Mantle Cell Lymphoma.
We’ve got everything crossed for good news, but I’m not going to get my hopes up too much. There are so many scenarios facing us and we’ll just have to let time and nature take their course.
I’ll get the results from my consultant when I go in for Chemo round 4 on Monday 1st. Those results will dictate the shape of my treatment going forward.
The intention, all going to plan, is that I’ll get a stem cell transplant over the spring/summer period, so it was fascinating to see last week’s Panorama and the revelation that the very same stem cell transplant treatment was now being used to staggeringly positive effect on sufferers of Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
It’s still a trial and the programme stressed that there was a long way to go, but the evidence they used gave great hope to those of us relying on scientists to find new ways of prolonging our lives or even finding a cure.