How are you doing? I hope you’re all surviving February. It’s nearly March, which sounds so much for Spring like, even if it’s still freezing. Here in Ireland it’s been really stormy with high winds driving rain and it’s pretty cold and dreary. But that all comes with the time of year doesn’t it?
My new book ‘The Wedding Promise’ came out in Ireland a couple of weeks ago and I was so excited when it went to number one in the charts. As an author it’s the icing on the cake and the sweetest feeling to reach that coveted slot. I cannot thank my readers enough for supporting my work and giving me the most wonderful news that my story had gone to the top. It means more to me than I can convey. If you are one of the fabulous people who bought it, I love you lots, just like jelly tots.
As my book news made me smile like a goon, my health decided to take a swift dive – just to keep me on my toes, don’t you know…
I started my new chemotherapy tablets, which seemed to cause no side effects in the beginning. I was on my enormous pile of pain medication and all seemed fine.
That was the calm before the storm. The new chemo tablets were lulling me into a false sense of security and pretending to be cute and furry and friendly. But all the while they were brewing up little annoying problems.
Firstly they sapped my white blood cells. Then my haemoglobin dropped like a rock. Then my iron levels were so low they must’ve gone below to hell. Then my voice decided to sound like a teenage boy going from deep and husky to high and squeaky. After a couple of days my throat joined in and was excruciatingly painful. The most fun part was that nothing was visible when the doctors looked in my mouth. The infection was way down my throat where your Adam’s apple lives if you’re a man. I had no temperature and yet I was sweating one minute and freezing the next. Eventually I lost my voice completely and was in so much pain that even swallowing saliva felt like razor blades.
No infection showed in my blood and all swabs came back clear.
I did learn an interesting little fact during this – when a patient is neutrapinic (with very few or no white blood cells) if he/she has an infection they may not spike a temperature. The body is too sick to manage that, so the temperature can, in rare cases, remain normal.
I found that fascinating – yes I’m a cancer nerd.
I got magic mouthwash, which numbed the pain but had to come off my chemotherapy tablets. Grrrr…
I’d only taken them for two weeks so they haven’t had a chance to show me if they’re going to work or not.
I tried to rationalise that it was a “settling in” issue and that a week off would give my body a chance to recover. I went to Connemara with Mum and Herbie the dog. The teenagers couldn’t come as they were on half term and had full schedules of discos, parties, hanging out with friends and staying in bed until lunch time. Hubby was working so us girls and one furry Herbie scuttled away for a bit of bonding. I envisaged wrapping up in cosy coats with gloves hats and scarves and walking on Gurteen Bay alongside a rolling Atlantic Ocean. I imagined turf fires and having quiet time to read and write while Mum did her beloved clay work with soothing music in the background.
In reality things were a little different. We’re talking about me here, so of course nothing went to plan.
Firstly I realised soon after we arrived that I’d left my carefully chosen zip-lock bag of painkillers and anti-nausea meds in the hallway at home. I could even see it in my mind’s eye as I searched fruitlessly in my luggage. I was so worried about making sure I had food and water for the dog that I forgot my stuff.
I managed to cobble a few painkillers together from my handbag and various wash bags and figured I’d manage for the four days.
That didn’t go too well. The pain medication was carefully balanced during a recent holiday at the hospital. It was so effective that I actually thought I was a lot better than I am. Once it wore off I was in constant pain. I vomited for a day and night and only managed to eat dry crackers and sip iced water.
Poor Mum and Herbie had to walk alone while feeling helpless. I was dreadful company and Mum deserves a medal for enduring my green face and dashing to the bathroom. I was the holiday companion from hell. I’ll have to make it up to her soon.
I’m home now, back on the pain meds, back on the anti-nausea drugs and back on the chemotherapy! So I’m crossing my fingers and toes that I get a good run on these tablets so they can hammer the cancer. There are three tumours and I have had enough of them. They are no longer welcome (not that they were invited in the first place) so this means war.
In my mind, I am ready with my sword. Dressed in my coat of armour with winning on the agenda. I’m in the mood for killing a bit of cancer this week.
I’m sick of being sick. I don’t want to be useless company and unable to do anything. Enough is enough!
I sincerely hope that my next post is a lot more positive.
I want to be able to tell you that the tumours are shrinking and that I’m feeling better. Fingers and toes crossed!
I hope you’re all staying warm and cosy. If you haven’t read it yet, my new novel ‘The Wedding Promise’ is out in Ireland. As always, I don’t mind how many copies you buy. Buy one for you and one for your mum, sister, granny and friend!
The sun is actually trying to shine here. I’m taking that as a positive sign!
Onwards and upwards and lot of love to you all!