|My drip regulator machine|
Thursday saw me reach the half-way point of my chemotherapy treatments. I had my third cycle of chemo, thankfully on the same R-CHOP regimen that I have had previously as there was just enough progress in the reduction of my tumours for me to continue without the need to step up the treatment to something more aggressive.
It still continues to surprise me that I actually have cancer! It is quite a difficult thing to get my head around, especially when each time I go in to hospital I go in feeling fine and after having treatment, leave feeling really bad! For some days after the treatment, especially this time, I often find myself looking at the puncture mark on the top of my hand where the cannula was during the chemo, my hand yellowing a little with bruising, thinking about how such viscous chemicals are being pumped into my body in order to do me good. It is hard to reconcile the idea in my brain.
Since Thursday I have had ups and downs in terms of waves of nausea and in energy levels fluctuating. It has taken me until today to write this blog post as I have been not up to doing very much until now. This has meant I have missed going to the zoo with the family to celebrate my wife's birthday; missed taking my 2 year old daughter to the swimming pool; and missed going to church on Sunday. Although as my mother has reminded me, I am not 'doing nothing', I am giving my body the time it needs to recover and to heal. On the other hand, I need to keep reminding myself that it is for these very reasons that I am undergoing this treatment - so that I can take part in many more birthday celebrations and trips to the swimming pool with my wife and children in the months and years to come!
I have been filling my recent days watching back-to-back episodes of the 'Nashville' TV series box set. All this requires is the energy to lie on the sofa and occasionally press a button on the remote control. Which is something I can handle.
I must admit that during the past few months I have not spent much alone time with God. It was great that I was able to have that time away just before my diagnosis to help me process and pray. But since then I seem to have been caught up in a whirlwind of treatments and hospital visits, not to mention the sale of our house coming through and the packing of the house and moving out etc. etc. Then there are days when I just don't feel 'up to it'. Now I'm thinking that I am making excuses, but I think God is OK with it. He knows me and He knows what is going on in my life right now. I'm not perfect by any means.
I did manage to do a little bit of songwriting yesterday evening. I was amazed that I was inspired (as this is not an everyday occurrence!) - maybe it is all the episodes of 'Nashville' I am watching? Neither of the songs are finished - I got two possible choruses... I think. But it was fun and it was good to realise that I can still do things like that. Again my voice was scratchy and kept dipping in and out. Maybe it was the time of day, or maybe it was because of the chemo. I'm not sure but I trust that as time goes on my voice will also heal.
I'm not looking forward to this evening. This is day 5 of my treatment cycle, which means that this evening I need to give myself the second injection in addition to the daily one I have to give myself. This second injection is to stimulate the bone marrow to produce white blood cells in order for me to shorten the window of infection that my first cycle showed I was susceptible to. Apart from it being very unpleasant having to inject myself in the stomach, doing it twice in quick succession is doubly skin-crawling. Not only that, but these bone marrow injections have the potential to hurt! By about the third or fourth day of these extra injections my bones really start to ache and I have to pile on the pain killers! Sometimes knowing what is to come is not recommended.
Thank you to everyone who have continued to read my updates, for those who have left comments, for those who continue to pray for me and my family at this time. My hope and prayer is that I will be back on my feet and be able to see you all again soon.