It’s my birthday and I’ll have chemo if I want to…

“…chemo if I want to, chemo if I want to. You would have chemo too if it happened to you…” No? Not so catchy?

Well, tomorrow is my 32nd birthday and, you guessed it, today I’m having chemo #2. I started writing this when I thought my chemo was actually on my birthday as, yet again, I lost count of the days somewhere. I was supposed to have my chemo nearly 2 weeks ago but my white blood cells have been so low that they been unable to proceed with my next treatment.

For those of you who like numbers, your white blood count (WBC) should be around 5,000 to 10,000. Below 1,000 you are deemed an infection risk and can’t have chemo. Mine were 300 for nearly four weeks. This meant that twice in a week I arranged for someone to look after Milla all day, packed my Chemo Survival Kit (more on this later) and headed to the hospital for 8.30 am, only to be sent home after 3 hours of blood tests and waiting. The second time I got sent home they just told me to come back over a week later, as I think the nurses felt bad about me trekking in every 3 days.

In the meanwhile I had my next hormone implant, which hurt like a b*stard. The hormone implant is injected down a very wide bore needle so it chafes somewhat when they put it in. The first time I had it the nurse said “You know we always say ‘sharp scratch’? Well this is worse than that.” I meant to film it but forgot so here’s a picture I found online that compares the zoladex implant needle (left) to a normal needle (right). Massive, right? The implant is now giving me a weird reaction on my legs. It’s not painful but I’m covered in tiny bumps so I look like I’ve got the lurgy, when really it’s just cancer. Haha. Sorry, not funny.

Zoladex wide bore needle vs a normal needle — weird skin reaction

I’ve been for a wig fitting since I last wrote, which was fun, and had both my mother-in-law and mother to stay which was also (mostly) fun but not much else is going on. I kept clearing the decks of my calendar as I was expecting to be having chemo and then having nothing on as I cancelled everything. Also, because of my low WBC, I’ve been told to avoid crowds and public transport so my usual fall back of baby groups was kiboshed.

I’m feeling pretty useless at the moment. Like the world is passing me by. I’ve been off work for nearly a year now as I had Milla, and I think I’d be really ready to go back to work in a month or two. Instead I’m actually looking at another long stretch off work. But not the much-fantasised-about sabbatical that we all think about on a crappy Tuesday, just more doing nothing. Only without hair and feeling a bit tired and sick.

I dunno, just feeling a bit sorry for myself some days, I suppose. It’s not like I’m scrubbing floors in servitude every day, I get to hang out with my favourite person in the world. It’s just she’s pretty short on conversation. And her favourite thing is eating grass, so the number of stimulating past times are limited.

As my mother was visiting recently, my husband and I went out on our first date night since the baby and shared a whole bottle of wine and had a dessert. It was great even though we were home by 5 to 10. Who am I kidding, it was great because we were home by 5 to 10. The night was only slightly dented by the fact that I was wearing a headscarf but I think I looked more like an extra from Almost Famous, rather than Someone With Cancer, so that’s something I guess.

Check me out after dark!

I’ve also had to go to the dentist to check on an impending root canal. Dental work can be risky when you’re having chemo, so it all has to be cleared by your oncologist first. I can’t really bite on my left side though, so I think I’ll have it if I’m allowed. Apparently it’s quite common during chemotherapy for underlying dental problems to become, well, overlying (probably not a word). Just another excellent added extra to cancer.

So today was more injections, more anti-sickness meds and this time they sent me home with a box of injections. Down side: I’ll need to self-administer injections for the next week. Up side: I get my own personal sharps bin. Woot.

The chemo gets injected via a cannula in my arm, fortunately I have good veins — Netflix streaming is a bit touch and go — My own little sharps bin

That’s it I think. The rest of the week I’ll feel really hungover but not incapacitated and I’ll have Milla to look after which, although on paper is not ideal, actually helps me ignore the side effects.

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