Chemo done….bring on 2016!!
After 11 months (14 rounds) of chemotherapy, about 60 days spent in hospital, 6 weeks of radiotherapy, approximately 5800 miles driven to hospitals, 3 months of antibiotics and anti-sickness drugs, 47 Hickman line flushes, a major operation, 4 blood transfusions, 20 blood samples, countless injections, scans and horrific side effects it’s all finally over. It’s been the hardest year of my life by a long shot and a real test of character to say the least. I’m not one to wish away time but 2015 can fuck off. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger is a bit of a cliché, but couldn’t be more correct in this case.
I was surprised I wasn’t elated on the day that I finally finished chemo. Don’t get me wrong it was a huge relief, I had been counting down the days all year and it had always seemed so far away. I choked up thinking of everything I had been through. I had pictures in my head of running out of the hospital, jumping for joy and clicking my heels on the way out. However the reality is I had to face another week of feeling like death, then a week dodging germs while my blood cell counts are down. Then another week before I get the Hickman line (which is a tube dangling out my chest they use to pump the drugs in) removed and lastly a scan in January. The Hickman line is a constant reminder dangling from my chest and it is a huge mile stone to have it taken out. I think when I have that cut out I will feel like the shackles have been removed and I will be heading straight to the pub for a stiff drink and to let my hair down, if I had any. Each cycle is like a 3 week marathon and this is the last one so it was bound to be tough. Just as I was starting to get cocky and enjoy my daily routine on the toilet again (those that have read previous posts of mine will know about this), my rear end turned back into a fiery portal to hell while my blood counts are down resulting in a painful, bloody experience. Thankfully this is the last time and in the grand scheme of things a few weeks is not long! These last few months have been the hardest mentally and taken me to breaking point. I am now chomping at the bit to get back to training and fit again. I’ve had the blinkers on and I’m focusing on the New Year and all the goals I can crush. That’s enough horsey related euphemisms, neigh more.
After reading a lot into other peoples stories I have come across a lot of different outlooks on life after cancer. I’ve read about people saying “we are the lucky ones”…well I disagree with that, I was very happy with my life before but it has definitely made me think about things differently. I will certainly be more of a ‘Yes Man’. I’ve always had a lot of fun but those occasions I may have said no to before will now definitely be a big fat yes, whether it’s a big holiday or just a beer with a mate. So get your requests in before I change my mind! Before I got diagnosed I would have bad days and let stupid things get to me, like everyone does. Things might not have gone the way I wanted, I may have not hit my goals, had a rough day at work, been sluggish at training or the worst culprit is if the traffic is bad on the drive home. All normal day to day stuff which won’t bother me now I hope! However it’s inevitable that after time I will get back into a routine, things will piss me off and I will get stressed a bit, but after all I’m only human. Having everything ripped from me this year, being so ill, weak and living on the sofa caused me to become depressed, extremely frustrated and bored to a whole new level. I would have never in a million years pictured my life taking this route. I would have ripped someone’s arm off if they had offered me a normal life, so it has definitely taught me to be more grateful for what I have. Nothings bigger than the little things!
In terms of a new lifestyle I won’t be changing much. I have always lived an extremely healthy life with the exception of the odd boozy night out. I couldn’t eat much healthier and I’m always developing my diet. I’m very passionate about it and luckily I enjoy good food. At times I get angry that I got dealt this card after spending my life being healthy and active, but I have looked at it this way; I may not have done as well if I was unhealthy. I’ve read a lot about how people have claimed they beat cancer with various diets, became a vegan and crazy things like water fasts where you consume nothing but loads of water for days. I’ve contemplated trying to become a vegan as I think we should all be a bit more aware of how much meat we consume, where it is from and the quality of it. However, I enjoy a big juicy burger and a beer far too much so I probably won’t be adapting the vegan approach, although I may give it a trial.
Eleven months seems like a very long time ago, especially when I think of everything I have been through, but I can also remember sitting in that room in January being told I had cancer like it was yesterday. I would be lying if I said I had a positive outlook constantly. I have always tried to stay positive which has been successful the majority of the time, but the reality is cancer is a killer and there have been days I was scared and negative thoughts crept in. Luckily my family and friends around me would help me pick myself up and banish the negative thoughts. I’ve already started to wipe my memory of all the horrid experiences so it’s a good job I wrote them down for others to read. I certainly won’t be reading it any time soon!
The plan moving forward is to carry on with the intensive rehab and eventually return to training and work. I have my first scan in January and then every 2 months to keep a close eye on me. Each year the gaps between scans increase, till it’s just one a year. As Ewing’s Sarcoma is a paediatric bone cancer, ipso facto the majority of patients are between the ages of 10-20, they keep patients under their supervision for 10 years regardless of age, opposed to the usual 5 years. I’m sure waiting for the results and going in to find out each time will be horrible but that’s something I will get used to and I will cross that hurdle when I get to it. For now I’m looking forward to getting my now bald and a lot smaller ass off the sofa and enjoying the Christmas festivities, before getting back on track in 2016! After my entire body has been nailed by the chemo drugs I’m looking forward to getting clean, healthy, fit and my focus back. But first I think I’ve deserved a festive beer and Christmas dinner or two! I can’t explain how good it feels to look forward to that and it’s just a week or two away. My next post will probably be about my rehab, getting back into training, the effects this year has had on my body and going into the New Year. I feel like I should sign out with something profound but I’m not like that so here’s a bad Christmas cracker joke. What does Miley Cyrus have at Christmas?………Twerky. I hope you all have a great Christmas, a very happy New Year and thank you for reading so far. Bring back the tash!