The past 10 days have been rather depressing, waiting for things to happen. I feel like I’m in a waiting room – for death. Morbid I know but limbo land is no fun. Two weeks for radiotherapy to start and another three months until the first scan, which will indicate whether the cancer has spread. And in trying to maintain a brave and smiling outward face while struggling with inner fears, the bigger things can be put in perspective but it’s the little things that get blown out of proportion and are very upsetting. So if I ever explode at something minor, it’s not that thing that is the problem, it’s the wider challenges I am facing.
On the plus side, I have been doing some nutritious cooking (Tom Yam soup, steamed chicken, fish curry, and now about to go Japanese) and have been to the movies twice (12 Years a Slave and The Railway Man – see what I thought on http://www.vickyatthemovies.net). I also had a moment of inspiration and exchanged my lovely red-hot mini for a slightly newer, automatic mini cooper. But black and not so dashing. Today I drove to the hairdressers at the O2 centre, where I had some good therapy: thank you Joe and Eli! Mani/pedi next week!
My friend Cindy in Mumbai has sent me a book on yoga for cancer, and I am determined to learn how to meditate and do some simple poses. I think it will help. My physiotherapy – Pilates – is energising and I now have my own wobble board and special exercises to add to my sit-ups and weights. It’s quite hard work though; Tommy was most amused when he took this picture.
My mobility is improving daily and the pain is diminishing, so I have almost stopped taking the tramadol and paracetamol, only taking any when I feel pain. But for some reason this week I have been getting exhausted and energy levels are low. My weight seems to be going down and then regaining the 55kgs, whatever I eat. I find this worrying. Of course I am angsting about the impending radiotherapy, and now the little insidious niggle of the histology results and the mental picture of those nasty little cancer cells whizzing round my body. It’s all about keeping my immune system high so I continue with the healthy diet and exercise; I’m sure feeling down doesn’t help though. I am learning it takes (too much?) energy to be upbeat, cheerful and superwoman. My new resolution is not to let anything or anyone annoy me. Challenging!
Two appointments at the Marsden this week to make the cast for the radiotherapy and then to do the scan and make the aligning tattoo marks on my leg. The cast is necessary to keep the leg in place so that the rays can be directed to the exact sites for treatment. I go into the ‘mould room’ and lie on a flat operating table; I feel like a fakir on a bed of nails! Then my leg is elevated but only supported by the ankle, and they heat up a large sheet of plastic in a bain marie, which emerges like a giant gelatine leaf, and which the technicians then press round my leg until it is a snug fit. All sorts of adjustments are made and then a wait for it to harden. Meanwhile my leg is in agony as there is no support for it and of course I have no calf muscles so the quads are in overtime. They make a small spongey cushion to place just above the knee to help, but it’s not terribly effective. Sadly I am not allowed to photograph.
Back the next day for the scan. By the way all these appointments run on time. Another cheery bunch of staff. Back on the bed of nails, but with a large scanning machine and my instrument of torture is fitted. Oh dear, it needs adjusting! I am dreading they may have to re-make it but, no, they can heat it up and stretch it. It is then stuck down by Velcro to the plastic sheet with an outline of my measly leg drawn on it; more Velcro has been attached to hold the mould in place. Simple but clever. But all this fiddling around is taking its toll and my leg feels on fire, and we haven’t even begun the scan. By this time, I am wracking my memory for my yoga breathing (alternate nostrils) and counting and observing my breath to try and make the pain go away. It passes the time at least.
It’s not over yet though, as they have to make a couple of tattoo marks to align the cast. Blob of black ink followed by some scratches – not at all painful, although they have to re-do one of them. At last, it’s all over, 45 minutes later. I’m told that the treatment won’t be as long. I hope not, as I don’t think I could take that pain daily for 6 ½ weeks!
To add insult to my injuries I get ripped off by the cab home; and when I go on the C11 to my physio, no one gives me a seat! Wah!
On a positive note, to counter all this misery, I have booked myself to go to Cyprus for 5 days – air miles in business class – to stay with lovely friends Penny and Mike, who will pamper me and cheer me up. She has been through it all – surgery, radio and chemo – so knows where I’m coming from.
January 18, 2014 at 6:02 pm
Hi Vicky Yes yoga, meditation, Pilates, beauty treatments – what about acupuncture and reiki? – use this period to get lots of pampering and try out lots of “alternative” treatments – I had a “health coach” who was actually a medical doc who had taken up coaching – I saw her for an hour a week and used to pour my heart out to her – sometimes I just cried for the whole hour (!) but she kept me sane and took pressure of family & friends – I could also discuss medical aspect of cancer with her – Let me know if you want her name – you could always consult her via skype…please don’t worry about radiotherapy – it’s nothing compared with what you have been through… Sending you love and courage Ps. We just bought a flat in Capetown – you must come and visit next winter! Xxxx
January 18, 2014 at 6:38 pm
How wonderful, I must come one day! Reiki, yes that’s worth looking at. I will find someone here. Not sure about acupuncture at this stage, medically speaking (as in have been warned off; maybe later….). Sending lots of love to you in sunny CT. xxx
January 19, 2014 at 4:35 am
That calm and pragmatic dearly loved friend that I last saw in London has clearly had a rotten week- which I knew as you didn’t respond to my text a couple of days ago. Frustrating, as I thought this would be a difficult wait, and should have taken up Richard’s offer to join him later, oh well.
Shall we talk later today? We have quite good internet here so it’s worth trying to skype. Let me know when you’re up….
Until then, much love F xxx
January 19, 2014 at 8:52 am
oh I did respond – immediately! Lost in cyberspace. Will re-send. I am here this am but you will be on the beach. What time of day is good for you? maybe tomorrow early eve for you? Am out for lunch today. SO glad you are having a great time and hope you BOTH feel well-rested. I am really looking forward to Cyprus as a sun-boost. xxxx
January 22, 2014 at 3:47 pm
Hi Vicky – thanks so much for your comments on Pimp My Wig. Stay strong through the radiotherapy – I had 35 sessions (!!) so if you ever want to chat about it you know where I am! Bex xx
January 22, 2014 at 6:19 pm
Well, Im joining you on 35, and thank God don’t have to have the chemo! Have a truly wonderful holiday. xxxx