As a young lad, I was always fascinated and captivated by the 2nd world war. I vividly remember watching World at War narrated by Lawrence Olivier and the distinctive theme tune.
I was a secret agent as a young boy, you know. Maybe this contravenes the official secrets act – I don’t know, you be the judge! I had a warlord ID to prove it. I spent hours drawing tanks both British and German, fighters and bombers too. I remember the war hero Audey Murphy and the movie ‘To Hell and Back’ – ok where am I going with this? I was, for a moment, getting lost in memories of my youth but there is also a point to this…
Having met with my dietician this week it really brought home the importance and in a way the very real challenge of keeping my weight up.
During my first week of treatment I was taken by surprise, kidnapped and taken hostage by fatigue – I didn’t see it coming so quickly!! I have had bouts of chronic fatigue for well over 20 years so I know only too well what real fatigue feels like.
I didn’t see the stomach acid slowly building up with a background sense of nausea. Perhaps we have all experienced indigestion and that burning feeling in your stomach and gullet. Bottom line being it took me a few days to realise that my appetite was paying the price! My mouth was already beginning to feel not quite itself so my saliva and taste buds were also under attack.
It’s early days but my lymph glands are bring zapped and I can feel them enlarge due to inflammation.
What I learnt (or was underlined) was that my treatment and recovery hangs on the upkeep of my weight. Treatment is delivered on weight and body shape – during the week I had lost 3-4 lbs. in weight.
Both the chemo and the radiation burn calories big time- combine them together and my body is under bombardment, lightning strikes of attack, the Blitzkrieg!
I’d like to share a dream with you I had this week. I was in the middle of a large square, in a city that had been completely devastated – it was like Stalingrad. I think I was with someone, very vague, in a vehicle of some sort, actually I was out of the vehicle.
I remember looking around, feeling very exposed and vulnerable to attack by snipers. My instinct was to get out of there and head for cover, fast. I thought what the hell am I doing here? This is crazy. It was like I was transported there and suddenly became conscious of my surroundings – intense!
I don’t see my treatment as an attack, but an onslaught it is in no uncertain terms.
It’s a kick ass healing modality, and that’s the way I’m looking at it.
Body Blitzkrieg on all fronts. Hence the military analogy. So I have to do my bit- keep the home fires burning and sit tight. Try to focus on what I can control – and the key I understand is my weight!
It may sound obvious but my body’s wondering what the heck is going on without a doubt.
When you have no appetite, no hunger, feeling nausea and your normal mouth sense is slowly leaving the building, it’s quite hard.
I’m not feeling sorry for myself but I won’t kid myself either that it hasn’t affected my mood – united states of limbo.
Things are happening and it feels a bit like a sledge hammer approach- if it zaps the rogue cells ultimately then whatever is stripped away or becomes unpleasant has to be worth it, I know that.
It’s a waiting game and I’m not going anywhere at the moment. Cancer doesn’t define you but it certainly displaces you – maybe more of that next time.
Finally to get the all the military style descriptions out of my head and down on paper. There are many individuals, in the hospital, on the battlefront, running across their own particular field, feeling exposed and scared, no doubt dodging bullets and mortars. But you’ve got to keep running, keeping your head down – just to get to the other side!
You get bombarded on all fronts – Lightning strikes on mind, body and spirit.
There have been a couple of hunger highs though – I popped to Waitrose, last Sunday, scouring the shelves as my body hankered after something filling, something substantial…And what did I see – a suet steak and kidney pie or really a pudding! 2 of them in a box. Steamed one of them for half an hour lightly covered in some Waitrose organic baked beans- hit the spot- yum!
You know what it’s like when you savour something you really enjoy, and I haven’t eaten a suet pudding for a very long time. For me, growing up it was the iconic Fray bentos steak and kidney pudding steamed in the can!
Whatever gets your gastric juices flowing go for it this weekend and share with us, please!
So I’m heading into week 2, slowly slowly…
Have a great weekend
P.s This week I’ve been mainly writing me blog in the Chemo hospital ward. Busy busy – I’ve been here since 745 – I may get to escape a little earlier today? Bleep, bleep go the monitors – nonstop work for the nurses. Update: I managed to get away for 3pm, result.
P.s 2 I had to pop down to radiation and sit in the waiting room looking abit out of place – usually treatment is one or the other- so, here I am all wired up for Chemo waiting to be zapped with radiation.. Picture a busy seating area, and me perched on the end of a chair waiting to jump the queue.
The monitor/pump I am hooked up to begins bleeping away – suddenly I’m feeling a little conscious of my bleeping – I daren’t press any buttons on the machine but it has gone into battery mode hence the bleep. Security is going to throw me out? One of the radiographers cottoned on and muted my bleep very swiftly – sorted! 5 minutes later I was bleeping again but this time I knew what to do.