Wow, well that’s been one heck of a month.
A few days after the last time I wrote I was back in hospital after I couldn’t hold anything in or pretty much eat for 6 days. On day 5 we eventually called my hospital team and they made me go in, thankfully not in an ambulance this time but they did admit me for the day, put me on a drip and tried to figure what was going on.
After initially being told it might be chemo side effects due to the stronger dose I’m now on, I was so relieved to hear the next day it was actually almost definitely a bug I’d picked up and couldn’t shake off because your immune system is so suppressed when having chemotherapy.
As a consequence I have unfortunately gone from being fairly laid back to finally accepting that I have to take hand sanitiser everywhere I go which has dented my pride I must admit.
The next week I started my personalised immunotherapy vaccine treatment in Germany and over the course of 2 weeks I had to go there and back 3 times, all scheduled but none the less exhausting especially when trying to navigate my new transducer head gear, Optune.
Optune has definitely taken some time to understand how best to use to minimise the fairly arduous practicalities of wearing and changing it every 3 to 5 days. However, I now have a team of family and friends trained in how to put it on and despite how precision based it is we’re starting to get the time down every change. I’m also learning to be less nervous about what people might think after a few different strangers simply asked me what it was which was actually lovely. We really should be less frightened of asking instead of just trying to pretend we haven’t noticed when we’re clearly very intrigued. Trust me, it’s still obvious!
Going to Germany, whilst tiring, was still phenomenal. It feels so ground breaking what they are doing and yes exploring the stunning German countryside and quaint gingerbread towns each time massively helps!
In between my 3 Germany trips I started my 2ndcycle of chemo of this new phase which I was very nervous about considering what happened last time but it’s been far easier and so far I haven’t picked up anything (she says whilst frantically finding wood to touch!)
So whilst this is the most intense phase of my treatment and with that comes many curtailments of freedom, I’m starting to feel like I’m on it now, finding my limitations as well as abilities with it all. So I just need to keep going and before you know it all these treatments will be over and my life can hopefully go back to some kind of living-with-cancer normal.
Finally the day after my last trip to Germany it was my birthday which was always going to be a mixed bag of emotions.
I’m not sure I knew what to expect but I definitely thought I’d be either super hyped or super sad. In reality it was a lot more subtle and I still don’t know whether some low points were just because I was exhausted from all the travelling and chemo. I guess it doesn’t really matter apart from again just listening and accepting how I’m and my fragile body is feeling without trying not to judge myself.
There were also some really beautiful moments of my birthday starting with pancakes and ice cream for breakfast, a horse riding lesson which I discovered you can do still wearing Optune which allows you to have that incredible sense of freedom again, a sensational walking meditation session in Walthamstow Wetlands, a gorgeous walk along the South Downs Way, going to support one of my best mates running a half marathon in my honour and finally a birthday lunch with most of my other besties. All of these were organised and gifted by family and friends across the weekend who knew that being in nature and/or surrounded by my tribe is what makes me the happiest of all.
So in the end there was lots to celebrate and be very very grateful for just as I mean for this grand age of 37 shall go on.