So, what now.....?
Updated: May 9, 2022
It's the day after diagnosis day, it's the 13th of April. Fuck, fuck and more fuck.
Upon waking, there's a sense of calm. A sense of calm that precedes the thought; fuck, I've got Cancer!!!! Little did I know at that point that, that sequence of calm then ‘oh fuck’, would be a recurring theme. It actually lasted for more days than I could imagine. It was like I wanted to wake up from the little amount of sleep that I'd managed, and realise this was a bad dream. It was that stark, that clear and that real.
Some memories of these days are already a bit sketchy, so please allow me the latitude of sometimes being not quite accurate or getting things in the wrong order.
One example of this is; in the previous post, I mentioned that the Steroids were having some impact. Well, upon reviewing that post, I realise that that's wrong. The Steroids were prescribed by Greenwood to commence this morning. What I did have prescribed was Allosig (allopurinol). Allopurinol is to bring down Uric Acid. Chemo has the potential to increase uric acid levels and mine were already slightly elevated, without any symptoms it had to be said. FUCK, I didn't even get to wear Gout as a badge of honour!!!! due to the levels of lunching and wining and dining that happens in my career, we (colleagues and I) often joke that Gout is an indication that our body is telling us to slow down, but that it is a badge that should be worn with an element of pride else it's just a painful foot (yup, dark humour). As I recall, the allopurinol was uneventful. However, compared with a good friend who has been taking it for years, it did seem as if my dose was much higher.
We had had the 'script for the Steroids filled the previous evening, so it was down the hatch with 4 x 25mg tablets of Prednisolone. Greenwood had advised that these should be taken with food. Also that, they should be taken 1st thing as their effects on sleep could be impactful. Further, I was prescribed Sozol. My understanding/ recollection is that Sozol acts to protect the GI tract. Protect it from the Steroids and the possibility of ulcers or other GI tract issues caused by bleeding. The primary reason for the steroid prescription is to try to bring down swelling/inflammation. As I've googled it, Prednisolone is used to treat conditions such as arthritis, blood problems, immune system disorders, skin and eye conditions, breathing problems, cancer, and severe allergies. It decreases your immune system's response to various diseases to reduce symptoms such as pain, swelling and allergic-type reactions. I think I've heard it referred to as a Jack-of-all-trades steroid.
So here i was, day 1 after diagnosis and no date for Chemo yet, and I'm taking something to prevent something (Gout) and I'm taking another thing to try to prepare me for the main event (Chemo) and anither 3rd medicine to prevent something that may happen from the medicine I'm taking to prepare. For fucksake, this is only the start.
It has to be said at this point, I am TERRIBLE at taking tablets, I have a terrible gag reflex, and I find swallowing pills incredibly challenging.
Why do I mention this? Try Pred!! Holy fucking hell, that stuff tastes like nothing I can describe. It's terrible, it is hellish and anything I could do so as not to taste them, even in the slightest, became a quest. To be frank, I have no idea why they cant just coat it with something, it is truly disgusting.
Now, the taste is only the farking beginning. Man these things are powerful. I would sweat, and get ‘jangly’. what I mean by getting jangly, is a bit like having too much coffee maybe. Or, if you’ve ever made questionable choices about taking something in a nightclub (not me
of course) , a bit like that, but a really bad version. Unable to sit still, unable to concentrate, largely pretty difficult to hold a conversation. That would last for quite a while. the exact duration difficult to pick. But let’s say until the afternoon. Then the appetite starts. I was mostly able to resist, since I had been eating mostly once a day only for a couple of years.
So I’ve gotten over the sweats, the jangles, the appetite; then, I’m wired. Completely and utterly wired. Sleep? No danger. No way Jose! Manage to drop off, awake at 2:00am. Next day, 1:30am. The day after, maybe 3:30. It seemed relentless. I honestly think that, the 5 days pre-Chemo and the 5 days post-chemo, I can only have had 30-40 hrs sleep in total. Whether the actual Cheno played a part, I’m not sure. im not sure what sleep deprivation feels like, even though I had very little. But, the disrupted and completely buggered sleep pattern was a real challenge.
I continued to try to work, I would have to have a nap here and there during the day, but so far am keeping it together.
I’m self aware enough to know that I can be a challenge to live with (at times). I think that ratcheted up with the Steroids. Further it became apparent that self awareness and the ability to modify are not linked. I’m pretty remorseful about how crotchety and short-tempered I was. Kerry has had to endure a lot, yet it’s so early in the process. I am so thankful for her support, both mentally as well as keeping me right with appointments and medications etc.
Oh! The waking up and then specifically remembering I have Cancer was a strange phenomenon. It was like a reminder each day. I now wake up and just get into the day, but in that first (say) 7-10 days, there was definitely a a definitive reminder in my head that, I have Cancer. Next, we had to start to contemplate what to tell Carter and Miles. Well, we didn’t have to but I wanted to.