Yesterday marked the end of five days of pre transplant conditioning. That would be, five whole days of travelling to and from St Bart’s for chemotherapy. Since the fist clenching, swear word swallowing experience of Day One’ (Day-6), I have endeavoured to be on my best behaviour when on the ward, experiencing the medical equivalent of seeing Wagner’s longest work without subtitles with an innate hatred of opera.
I concluded that if I cannot always service with a smile, I should be the one delivering said smile. It is something that is much easily willed than done, especially as the chemotherapy is having a negative, cumulative impact on every aspect of my body. My brain, my muscles, my bowel and my bladder feels like they have been assaulted by a BB gun and multiple sacks of potatoes. Thus, finding the energy to smile, let alone speak, does not come as easily to me as it usually, so naturally does.
I have been attempting to rally myself into a state of positivity, but for me, this last five days at least, it is not something I have been able to do all on my lonesome. I have needed assistance. Poor Mamma Jones has been on the other end of the phone wishing she was in London. I even admitted to my friends that I was in need of assistance. Assistance being in the form company to make the hours in the clinic more bearable. Assistance to remind me that this is only a temporary measure, that won’t go on forever. Special kudos has to go out to Housemate who fought through what I can only imagine was a horrific hangover on Saturday to be at the hospital for 9am, returning home at 5pm. Yesterday, he even did my dishes, which is unheard of.
In all honesty, this cannot be done alone. Yesterday, I forgot to brush my teeth, which I am sure was a pleasure for the Medically Trained People who had to get remotely close to my face. Even with a support network, the treatment is isolating. If I feel this now, who the heck knows how I will feel in a few months time.
In terms of the immediate side effects, the hiccups have been plaguing me since yesterday, and when one looks like this post chemo, imagine what I look like mid multiple jerk:
Today, I have a ‘day off’, but this still involves heading into the hospital for blood tests. Big Sister also arrives in the Big Smoke for her part of the process today, so it seems only fair that I meet her to express some of the inexpressable gratifitude.
Prior to last Thursday, I was told that I would find the conditioning relatively easy in comparison to my previous treatments. I wouldn’t go out and out and call this a white lie, I just think it’s difficult to be comparative to my past experiences when my current experience is so foul. I might have fouled myself twice in 2013, but that is no consolation when I cannot take my morning medication without vomiting or distinguish whether ‘consolation’ is the correct word to use here over ‘consolidation’.
We all know how much I love to talk about my toilet issues, so imagine the complex situation I found myself in on Monday night, four days without passing a number 2 whilst experiencing a cystitis-like pain from the cyclophosphamide. Every effort to unleash the stool, angered the other thing. It was a pain that could only be muted by taking two diazepam to permit a long sleep. It was a temporary reprieve, for it was an issue that was still present upon waking, but, hey, at least I got some sleep. Last night on the other hand, my sleep was interrupted five times to pass water because of the cyclophosphamide.
The last five days have been relentless. With an auto, it’s one day of treatment than the transplant. The horrible side effects hit you later. I will probably be thankful when what inexperienced in 2013 doesn’t hit me, but right now, I just really, really want a week in my bed to recover. I know I am a good few days away from this luxury.
So, in the meantime, I just have to rally. Rally and remember the key words that ‘This Soon Time Pass’.