Body and Limitations
The latest inspirational quote from the Doc is as follows:
“there is not a bone in your body not impacted by the myeloma.”
So it transpires that this debacle of a situation had been bubbling along unbeknownst to me for a while. No one is 100% sure exactly when, but it likely started mid last year. To draw on the usual cliche, hindsight is a wonderful thing, but in isolation, the symptoms did not stand out as anything extra ordinary. And in fairness, I would not have done anything differently anyway. You can’t live your life as a hypochondriac.
So, where are we?
I am into round 2 of chemo and so far, have only experienced very mild side effects. More tired than usual and the occasional head ache but nothing like many people suffer with so I have to be thankful for that. I’ve certainly inflicted more painful hangovers upon myself in the past. I know it is early days and the cumulative nature of the drugs will mean I feel progressively worse as time ticks along but for now, I can still function.
That said… hiccups. I kid you not, it was the most excruciating pain I have felt in years! And I include being electrocuted at the end of Tough Mudder in that. I’d love to tell you that I was left reeling on the floor, unable to do nothing more than whine like a child, because I’d just wrestled a bear or injured myself saving a cat from a tall tree. But no, my body decided to show in graphic detail how much of a beating it has been taking of late.
Round 1 felt like I’d expect a punch from Mike Tyson might feel; every 30 seconds for 40 minutes! My ribs and back were in agony. Couldn’t breathe properly; poor Max and Seb were a touch concerned so I took myself off to bed.
Round 2 (2 hours later! Thought I was done!) lasted 30 minutes and felt like Mike had invited Lennox Lewis to the party. Clearly my upper body is not what it was prior to the myeloma but the pace of deterioration is staggering.
I’ve always maintained a healthy physique so finding myself in a position where I can’t change the gears in a car (Whats that I hear you all shout? Go and buy a new car with an automatic gearbox?! A Mustang you say? Great idea!) is a sizeable issue to face up to. I will take feeling crap because of the drugs but having physical restrictions is a big deal.
My approach to a challenge has always been to focus on what is in my control and put steps in place to get me to the finish line. Learn to fly? Save up and take the lessons. Swim 2 miles? Get in the pool and keep building the yards. I can’t do that here and I look at my body in a whole different light because of it.
I am still in here, same brain, same person, same aspirations but the shell that has kept it all together in the past is now compromised.
I’m 39, always been able to train to achieve my goals and yet I am not allowed to pick my kids up?! (or the hoover, or the washing…just repeating what the doctor said Jenn)
The 2 things that bother me most are that this situation has forced me to question how much time I have with my family and friends and what I may not be able to do in future as a result of the illness.
I got out of bed this morning and literally had to roll myself off the mattress onto my knees and onto the floor, such was the pain in my back and shoulders. I’m about as much use as a chocolate fireguard.
On the plus side, I’d be a great poster boy for the health and safety brigade because my appreciation of a good straight back and sound posture are all that keep me from collapsing into a heap whenever I get up off the sofa.
I guess the good news is that if the chemo and stem cell therapy work, I can (hopefully) look to a number of years before I have to face relapse and a return to this cycle of drugs etc. I start bisphosphonate treatment too this round so if all goes to plan, the bone degeneration will be stalled and maybe even reversed. The optimist in me sees successful outcomes on both of these fronts so life will get back as much as it can, to a normality where I can use my body to its full potential again.
The task now is to get through the next 12 months, do what the doctors tell me and stay focused and positive…and maintain my dignity by investing in a new mode of transport!