Well, I’m not quite sure how to start this as I’ve usually got some comedic angle from which to drive my thinking but not so this time so a bit of a leap into the unknown.
I was admitted on the 2nd September, having previously had 5 fantastic days at home, with an infection and never expected to be in here some 23 days later. In that time I’ve had the positive news of the chemo finally working but also had to call upon every ounce of mental strength I thought I had at my disposal to get through the last 48 hours.
Everything felt like it was going fine. I knew I had to be hooked up to the 24-hour-a day-for-5-days heavy arse chemo and thought I was prepared, but Thursday night/Friday morning hit and changed everything. The nurses had been monitoring my blood because something didn’t look quite right then at 0200, it seems my blood decided to stop transporting oxygen as God intended so a transfusion was swiftly arranged to top up my haemoglobin levels and keep me alive. So an exciting and tiring few hours of activity ensued with a variety of tubes of gases and liquids being pumped into my system. I was also told I’d need radiotherapy which was a shock but again, all manageable.
That in itself was not what broke me; I can take a bit of pain knowing that the end game will be worth the discomfort. For the first time since I was diagnosed in March, I cracked because I had been looking forward to a surprise party for my mates Rich and Duncan who had done the IronMan this year. I know, a party, pathetic right?!!
I had insisted that I had no breaks in between these rounds of chemo so I could guarantee getting out to make the party, even just for an hour. The transfusion totally screwed the timing and meant the earliest I could make it would be 10pm.
23 days in the same room, back pain, a never ending chemo hangover and the 1 thing I had to look forward to out the window just pushed me over the edge and I’m not too proud to say that I just broke down. I was missing home, Jenn, Max and Seb and just sick of not having my life as I wanted it.
It was at this point that having read Ranulph Fiennnes book Fear stood me in good stead because mental strength counts for so much in these times of real lows; and for me this was my lowest point to date.
Life is not fair. But how you deal with it will define how you as a person develop and grow from the experience. As Gary Hitchmough says, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
This is not to say I was still not a mess, my head was all over the place so I resigned myself to a long night in the hospital reading instead of catching up with friends.
I actually dozed off around 1730 but was woken by the nurses at 1830 saying that the chemo was just about finished. (I have not directly asked how this was achieved as I can only imagine some protocol was bypassed to speed up delivery of the drugs but the bags were just about empty.)
Enter from the left weeping session number 2!
I am not one for emotions but psychologically what was overcome last night took me from my lowest ebb. My old man picked me up and I had a superb hour in the pub with a bunch of people who mean a great deal to me.
The picture here is a snapshot of the people I value. I’m like a broken record but I hope those of you both near and far appreciate how much your messages of support keep me buoyed and focused on the end goal.
Whether you are fighting off snakes in Oz, the arctic cold of Scandinavia or battling the elbows of your fellow commuters on the London Underground you know who you are.
I know there is a hell of a long way to go before I can say this disease is under control but until I get to that point, knowing you have my back is keeping me mentally on track and giving me hope that 2018 is going to be a year of celebration; on my tab of course!