Following the zapping in hospital I am released home to take the next part in tablet form over the next 11 days. I feel ok, just tired. I’m also taking a decent anti-sickness which I suppose is helping though today I dropped down to a lower one as there is a risk of constipation with the one I was on. I feel good enough in fact to decide I will go to see a local play, that a friend is in. It’s a hot day, really hot and I start to find it a struggle. Once in the hall, my anxiety rises. It’s overwhelmingly hot, my friend and I are fanning with our paper programmes but it doesn’t help. I hope the play will distract me.
As soon as there is a lights out at the end the first scene, I bolt out of the hall and gulp in some air. A lady appears with a chair for me. My friend appears soon after and drives me home. As I get to my drive I puke up some bile. I guess that was too much, too soon. It is, also, abnormally hot! I am still being a bit sick and David calls the oncology centre for advice They tell me to go back on to the better anti-sickness drugs while I am taking the chemo drugs so that is what I do. For the next 11 days I pop the pills and dutifully start each day with a health boosting, constipation busting smoothie, packed with raw spinach, fruit and seeds and a bit of yoghurt and juice. I’d have laughed aloud if you’d told me I’d enjoy anything that looks so repulsive but amazingly I do. It is refreshing, easy to sip and I’ve no appetite for food. And this must surely be the most amazing side effect. I no longer feel queasy, thanks to the anti-emetics, but nor do I want to eat. This is a first for me, I can normally eat under any conditions. Stressed? have a snack. Sad? have a comforting bit of cake. Happy? Celebrate with a meal. There are simply no times when I don’t think a little nibble of something won’t improve things. Clearly if they could extract the element of these chemo drugs that has this effect, without the poisoning the shit out of your body they’d be making a fortune… Enough probably to fund research to sort out all our cancer and weight woes!
During the period of taking the chemo I am very tired, I can’t manage without a nap in the day and I’m not getting up to much more than the odd amble out with the dog. The weather is still really hot and quite humid and seems unlikely to change anytime soon. I love hot weather normally but this July I yearn for some rain. Latitude is happening at the weekend. We’ve got weekend tickets but I have realised I won’t feel up to camping, I’m not one of life’s enthusiastic campers anyway. But I can bear it at Latitude as we live near enough that we can bail out should the weather turn really bad. Quite often I just go on day tickets. This year we had booked tickets for the whole weekend, the last time our kids would be camping sort of with us and we would be meeting up with friends too. So I had been looking forward to it, there are some great bands playing, The Killers are headlining the Saturday so I plan to go just for the day on the Saturday. I can meet my family and friends on site and just enjoy a day of revelry, I can always sleep all the next day. I can see most of the things I was really hoping to; The Killers, James, Bridget Christie, I can take it easy, not rush around too much. I can surely manage that. No, in the event I cannot even make it in for the day. It’s too hot and I can’t tolerate being in direct heat, the Latitude site is lovely but shade is in pretty short supply. Despite my enthusiasm, the thought of being out, exposed all day proves too much for me. It might as well be being held in the Sahara. Ah well, Ned has a friend without a ticket so I figure it may as well go to him to enjoy, perhaps the karma of giving up the ticket will come in handy!
So I don’t make it to Latitude but with each day I feel increasingly fine. This is not what I had expected at all. David and I start to think about what to do with our long summer. We’ve had to cancel Tanzania on medical advice, all rather gutting but perhaps we can salvage some fun from the holidays. I call my specialist nurse to say we’re thinking of grabbing a week in Europe I say, would that be okay? She says no, they wouldn’t want me flying and what if something happened abroad and we had trouble speaking the language? I feel really dissatisfied by her reasons. David speaks excellent German and we can get by in French, I’m not being told anything that makes sense to me as to why we can’t go. Tanzania I could understand but I’ve experience the healthcare service in Europe. Both my parents died out in Spain and received excellent care. (They were living in Spain, they didn’t just get unlucky on holidays there!) I feel mutinous but David is not inclined to discard their advice. Anyway there are lots of lovely parts of the UK we’ve not seen so we agree to a week in Yorkshire.