A new normal

The oncologist and nurse gave me a very long list of side effects of the chemo.

The most dangerous is my low white blood cell count (neutrophils), which means that I am at greater risk of infection.The chemo kills naughty cancer cells, but also other fast-growing cells like hair and skin and those precious white blood cells. So every time I do anything, I need to wash my hands. And make sure that others around me do too. And not hang around with poorly people (even if it’s ‘just’ a cold.) And not eat unpasteurised food such as brie (sob) or soft-serve ice-cream. Also I can’t change kitty-litter or do gardening (shame.)

There is a 24 hours a day phone number that I need to call if I have certain symptoms, such as a high or low temperature, shivvers, sickness, sore throat, cough, etc. It’s a hyperchondriac’s dream. Or should that be nightmare?

Anyway, 6 days post chemo #1, I am doing very well. The biggest side-effect so far is tiredness. That only started yesterday but is still life-changing, no matter how insignificant it seems. Two days ago I wanted to go out, and walk around and keep busy at home, which I did. Today I managed a trip to the GP, and to do some crafts with Bethany for a while, and to read my book. And that’s about it.

I’m not complaining – it could be so much worse. I expected to be throwing up and feeling rough and having no appetite for at least a week, and that’s pretty much not happened, which is great. I have been enjoying the delicious meals and treats that church friends and family have brought round (and posted) – thanks!

I realise that I also have the chemo fog – I can’t always talk as quickly as my brain thinks it can, and my memory seems to be a bit more rubbish than usual. So if I say anything odd on here or in real life – that’s my excuse.

My new normal is just taking each day as it comes; enjoying doing stuff when I can and resting when I need to (even if I don’t want to.) I will still get out – it was fab being at church on Sunday, but my capacity for adventure is currently diminished.

One good thing is that I don’t have to inject myself for a while

A needle a day...
A needle a day…

(until the next round of chemo.) I was having to inject myself with white blood-cell-boosting stuff every day for 5 days. I never really minded needles (thankfully) but it wasn’t the highlight of my day. I had to stick it into some fat in my tummy. Of course there was so little fat to choose from, but I managed. I took a photo of the needle so you could enjoy a tiny bit of the experience. 🙂 No need to thank me.


Author: Alex

I work in a college library, and love reading, writing and drawing. I am a breast cancer survivor.

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