I’m now almost two weeks into my first cycle of chemo as I go for the next ABVD infusion on Tuesday, and my mind keeps tripping back to the way I felt just before the start, when I wrote about my feelings under “Waiting to go over the top“. This time my feelings are very different, neither fear nor trepidation. In one sense I have almost the feeling of a youg child returning to class after a school holiday as I can hardly wait to tell the oncology staff what I’ve been up to. This time, sadly, there are no trips to the seaside, no exciting walks in the woods, no fantastic bike rides or swimming trips, because, largely, I’ve done nothing, but, on the whole, I’ve quite enjoyed the experiences of the past couple of weeks. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say I’ve quite enjoyed the non-experiences of the past couple of weeks, in that I’ve not had diarrhoea or nausea. That said, I’m beginning to wonder whether I am having some side effects as I now have an occasional slight cough and talking at normal volume requires a concentrated effort. Hopefully it will prove to be nothing of importance.
The fatigue is the strangest thing at the moment. I’ve gone from dropping asleep while reading, to the point where I now seem to need very little sleep although I do still feel tired. Take the last few days. I’ve been averaging around 2 hours sleep during the night but then I can sleep for another three or four hours in the morning without any effort, and then I’m fine until I go to bed again when, once again I will awake after a couple of hours sleep. My appetite also seems to have returned to normal and I’m back to eating three or four meals a day rather than grazing all day and night.
It will be interesting to discover whether the next half of the chemo cycle will take me back to the same point the first did in terms of feeling queasy, of being unable to concentrate and being able to sleep.
Many friends have recommended that I take up a new hobby, other than reading, while I’m experiencing the fatigue of chemo. One suggestion was that I take up gardening but that is a bit of a problem as the Association takes care of all garden work, so, if I can’t have a garden I can have tomato plants in pots! I have four plants outside our back door and they are now starting to set and smell wonderful. The smell certainly took me back to England, not only to my own greenhouse, but to that which was in the garden at the house of my aunts and uncle in Gawber. Coming from an area where most houses had common rear yards, a garden to play in was pretty amazing: the greenhouse just made it better. Even better was when my Uncle Tom would take me into the greenhouse with him to water the plants. I remember struggling to carry the watering can and then the smell which was released by the tomato plants as we’d brushed past them.
Another oddity is that I have been remembering many people and events from my younger life, people and events I haven’t thought of, in some cases for over 4 decades. When I first started having these memories I was put in mind of the dying man seeing his life flash before him, even though mine was experienced neither as a flash, nor as a slow motion, but, perhaps, as more of an extended time – different thoughts on different days over, perhaps, the last month. I do wonder why this is happening as I’m neither drowning nor suffering dementia. Perhaps it’s just that my mind has had so much less to do recently, and so much more time in which to do that nothing, that it has started reorganising my memories.