Hello again! *furiously dusts the cobwebs off the blog and its readers*
The last time I felt able to sit down and write was almost a month ago while I was recovering from my second chemotherapy cycle. In the end, I had around four days of relative normality after that treatment. During that time I managed a short trip out from home in my now sadly neglected Caterham.
Then I went in to hospital for the third cycle a day or so before I was expecting to go in. And … the next two weeks are a blur.
I feel as if I’ve been swimming underwater in a dirty swamp, unable to see where I am, not really knowing which way is up or down. At times I’ve found it difficult to sleep, eat, drink or move. I certainly haven’t been able to concentrate on anything that requires even a modicum of brain power. Homes Under the Hammer, Tipping Point and Star Trek re-runs have exercised my mental capacities (such as they have been) to the maximum. At my nadir, I was obviously feeling really sorry for myself.
I hate having #lymphoma. The last week has been really rough after treatment. The only positive thing is that I’m still here and have the love of my family & friends to support me.
— Tim Holyoake (@psychotimmy) April 25, 2018
I found this photograph of myself having cycle 3 that I have no memory of taking. It’s dreadful, but it shows that my eyebrows remain intact. It also illustrates the best investment I’ve made so far to get me through this process – a pair of Bose noise cancelling headphones. The sights and sounds of a chemotherapy day clinic can be overwhelming, so the ability to shut out the world for short periods of time has helped me to stay sane (well, sane-ish).
The light at the end of the tunnel
However, in the last 48 hours I’ve started to feel human again. I’ve been eating and drinking normally. I even enjoyed a beer for the first time in weeks last night (and this lunchtime too – but don’t tell my consultant). I’ve started to put back on some of the 8kg that I’ve lost since cycle 3.
The lumps that were so prominent on my neck two months ago have gone. This means that the treatment is working. I had a CT scan last Sunday and I’ll have the results of this when I see my consultant next week. I’m hoping fervently that it shows no evidence of disease elsewhere. All being well I’ll have cycle 4 next week too. There’s no rest for a lymphomanic on this treatment protocol!
The tunnel coming up in August
Somewhere in the middle of all of this I saw my prospective stem cell surgeon. He rates the Nordic chemotherapy protocol as a 6 or 7 on a difficulty of coping scale. He rates a stem cell transplant, the preparatory chemotherapy that goes with it and the extended recovery time as a 10.
I really hope that he’s exaggerating, as I’m now pencilled in for this at the beginning of August.