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  • Writer's pictureInnes Thomson

The week prior to Chemo.

I'm attempting to bring this up to date, so the week (5 days) between telling the boys and starting Chemo was, well, a blur of steroids, bad temper, anger and disbelief.

I recall feeling, 'why me', 'why the fuck is this happening', 'cancer happens to other people', disbelief, anger and shock.

I've read about a grief cycle. I can safely say, I've been on all stages of that cycle I seem to traverse the stages readily and can often feel them multiple times per day. Mostly, I'd say I am at acceptance. I didn't do a great deal of bargaining, as there's no one in my belief system with whom to bargain. Perhaps I bargain with myself, who knows?

Those days, pre-chemo cycle 1, are to be quite frank, a blur. Telling the boys, telling work, organising stuff, getting my head around what's going on, closing off short term commitments etc. You get the picture.

Somewhere along the line was meeting with a Haemo registrar. I'm not particularly familiar with hospital hierarchy but I'm starting to get the feeling that Registrars do the grunt work, they are late (possibly) in their training and have chosen (maybe) Haematology as their path of specialisation. I could have that wrong. I've met 3 x Haemo registrars, and spoken with another. They are all young, look knackered and appear to be very knowledgeable.

The Haemo Registrar meeting is also a bit of a blur. It was to answer questions and to meet the Haemo Nurse Team Leader. We asked tons of questions, some of which seemed a bit trivial when they were answered, some of the answers gave comfort and most of it didn’t sink in; well for me anyway. Kerry was there making notes and we tried to compare afterwards to check we had the same understanding. All the stuff you're advised to do (make notes etc) but none of it seemed really to help… is all just a blur now. Hence the blog I guess.

The Haemo Nurse Team Leader was heavily pregnant and announced that whilst she’s my team leader, she was heading off on Mat-leave in a week. Brilliant, fucking brilliant went through my mind. I'm going to get a junior-burger, or some temp or some such other crap solution. All after I’d seemed to get a level of comfort that she was very much a specialist and was invested in m my treatment. Bastards!! Why are Nurses so adept at making one feel comfortable and then boom, it changes!!!

One nice thing that happened. I was given a Pack. The pack had all sorts in it. Mouthwash, moisturiser, lip-balm, gum gel, deodorant, eye drops. Little did I know that would need ALL of those products at some point to help deal with the array of side effects that I have experienced. Little did I know that that pack was going to be so useful. Of course, me being me, when it was handed to me, I thought ‘yeah right, I’ll no be using that shite’.

It has to be said that, getting the care-pack, seemed like a really sweet thing. Kerry did point out however that it is 'sponsored' by the Company that makes the Chemotherapy drugs. So he who taketh away, doth also give. Or something like that I guess. I am grateful for it though. Whilst I like a wee moisturiser, I can't see me ever going out and buying 'MooGoo Udder Cream' under any circumstances. And that episode of fucking mouth ulcers was bloody hellish to be frank, the mouthwash, whilst pretty disgusting to taste, did seem to give relief.

Again, off we choof back to our apartment and (probably) sit for the evening, watching TV. Watching TV is really code, for me anyway, for sitting in an ocean of confused thoughts, searching google, trying to make sense of it all and generally not being very good at any of those things; worst of all (probably) being a shite partner, being snappy and impolite to Kerry.

So Wednesday the 20th comes round. I want to say I didn't sleep, I really can't recall. I want to say I was nervous; I really can't remember. I want to say I was shit scared, I don't think I was. See my comment about acceptance above. I think I just surrendered to the process and ultimately put my trust in the path that has been laid before me.

On that, however, I take pride in my intelligence. I think I'm a reasonably smart guy. I mean I think I could do well on The Chaser....that's a pretty good barometer, right?

I couldn't, at that point anyway, make head nor tail of my treatment protocol, what lymphoma is really, what version of it I have etc. I definitely didn't appreciate how rare Mantle Cell is. I mention this only as, it all just seemed like a shitey nightmare, that I hoped I would wake up from and it just wasn't happening; each event/ stage/ step just kept on coming.

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