Those of us of a certain generation will remember the words “two out of three ain’t bad” from the Jim Steinman lyrics performed by Meatloaf – if you don’t then click here. The singer is talking about being able to want and need his girlfriend but says he can’t love her. That’s not the two out of three I’m talking about. No, my three are the three good days I get in every fourteen after my chemo infusion. It works out to be Saturday, Sunday and Monday of my second week, and I really look forward to them, as those three days are the ones when I can have a conversation with someone and follow it all the way through rather than suddenly having my eyes glaze over as though I’m Penny listening to Sheldon’s explanation of his work in The Big Bang Theory – yes, I really do get that bad a glazed expression and that’s only from the inside. If the conversation is with my wife then that’s when I see the “I love this man” look come into her eyes as she says, “You’ve gone again haven’t you?” These are the days when I can watch t.v. and follow the plot, the days when I can do simple physical tasks like standing up or washing the dishes without feeling as though I am planning some kind of Arctic expedition. In short, these are the days when I feel GOOD!
Yesterday was the first of those days and I really did feel good. So good in fact that my wife and I took a picnic to out local park – I was so excited! No, really, I really was so excited. I mean I didn’t have chemo brain and I felt as though I didn’t have chemo body other than the caner in my neck. The park was good and I felt up to taking on the challenge of walking around the lake. I knew it would take time but really thought I’d be able to make it. I’d taken my camera as well as it’s a while since I was there and the vegetation and light changes so much that you never know what you are going to see. Well, the first thing I saw after stopping to take my first photograph was that I couldn’t hold the camera steady. My hands were subject to tremors. I’ve felt them before when I’m at the keyboard, but, there, they hardly seem to matter as I can still hit the correct keys or I just delete and do it over again. With the camera it was different. The tremor threatened to stop me achieving something on a day which was fore-ordained to be a day of achievement. Anyway thanks to Mr Nikon and his digital team I eventually got a blur free photo so we set off to walk a little further. We didn’t get much further, maybe twenty yards or so when I could feel all the energy just draining from my body. I knew that I could make it back to the car park but I didn’t know that I could make it all the way round the lake to get back to the car park, so we turned around and slowly returned to the car. Next was a stop at a store. I had to leave and take refuge in the car after about ten minutes. Next stop was the library where I had great hopes as I’d been re-fueled on my wife’s return to the car from the store. I really enjoy libraries. I wanted to relish being able to range the book shelves. I wanted to delight in perusing the books until I found something that would be accessible to my chemo-impacted brain next week. I burned out after two or three bookcases. So, that was Day 1 of my three. Not totally successful but a good day. I didn’t achieve everything I set out to do but I achieved more than I would have done had I sat at home.
Day 2 is today and I paid the price for the energy I expended yesterday. My brain has been working but my body has been running on empty, or at least it was until I had my mid-afternoon power-nap. I sleep for 30 to 60 minutes and feel as though I’ve slept for hours. 30 minutes later I want to sleep again but can’t. Anyway the afternoon went in watching Spurs beat the Swans 3-1 at The Lane and watching some delightful football played by both sides. Hopefully this will see our wobble at an end and then we can get back above The Gunners. After that I actually enjoyed the meal my wife prepared for us. I mean enjoyed – for the first time in almost two weeks I could taste nearly everything on the plate. There really ought to be some nutritious product which requires no taste to be injected (and therefore reduces the price) which we could eat when our taste buds are being beaten out of shape by metal mouth. That was followed by a session on You Tube where I was showing my american wife some of the programmes I watched as a toddler and into my teen-years. Here’s Andy Pandy from before I was born but I don’t remember any real differences. I remember my friends coming to my house to watch this as we were the only house with a t.v. at that time. We weren’t rich – it was a second-hand set which only showed programmes from the BBC and the picture quality was truly, truly awful. There was also Bill and Ben The Flower Pot Men. A little later on came Captain Pugwash and Noggin the Nogg which I seem to remember going to my friend Jackie‘s house to watch as they had a new t.v. which showed both BBC and ITV. Last of all was the phenomenal cult success of The Magic Roundabout. For those of you not in the know, The Magic Roundabout was actually a French programme purchased by the BBC but given a totally different story line by Eric Thompson. Aimed at young children this was favourite of my friends and myself at grammar school, and of university students throughout the land. The day’s not over yet, so, obviously, there’s still time for something to blow apart my smug complacency that today is another good day, but I don’t think it will.
Tomorrow will be Day 3 and I have no idea whether it will be a good or a bad day, or just something in-between. I hope it will be a good day and let me get my hat-trick as it were, but, if not, I’ll just have to remember “two out of three ain’t bad”.