Showing posts from January, 2016

What I've learned so far

Last week I passed the half-way mark of my scheduled eight rounds of chemotherapy. It’s been three months since I was diagnosed with cancer, but the time seems to have passed quicker. Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way: It gets better. When I look back I realise just how far I’ve progressed in my treatment. In late October I was a mess – a giant tumour in my upper chest, a blood clot in my left arm, a massive bruise on my right abdomen, a nasty swelling in my head and difficulty breathing. At the time I thought that would be my experience of cancer. But all those symptoms and complications eased, the chemo started to work and things fell into place. Now some days I feel so well and energetic I need to remind myself I have the disease. Having that bad experience early on makes me realise how much better things are now, and how much worse they could be. Those bad days may yet return, but for now I can enjoy the contrast. And beyond the physical symptoms, the medical t

This too shall pass

At about 5:30 on Tuesday afternoon, I could feel my concentration lagging. My body was tired, my breathing laboured, the feeling was disappearing from the tips of my fingers and my mouth felt like I’d been chewing on Alfoil. It felt wonderful. Why? Because I anticipated the timing with such precision and was so well aware of what my body was doing that none of it was a surprise. After all, this was day six of the latest round of cancer treatment, and so as a veteran of four cycles of chemotherapy I knew what to expect and could face it head on. Each day in the first part of a chemo cycle seems to have its own side-effects “signature”, with a distinctive mix of aches and pains. Given the precision in timing for the delivery of the various drugs that make up the regimen I’m receiving ( R-EPOCH-DA , for those playing at home), it should be no surprise that the side-effects are quite precise as well. It’s strangely comforting to reconnect with each day on the three-weekly cycle, like