Monday 23rd July 2007; firstly this morning I was woken up very gently by Lee who was holding a hot cup of coffee for me. “Morning Angel how you feeling” he asked as he placed the coffee on the cabinet at the side of the bed. Smiling my usual big smile at him I told him I was feeling ok, a bit tired but ok and I was. Lee bent over and gave me my morning kiss before running downstairs and out of the door for work. As usual he was running late again. Ever since I have known Lee he hasn’t been much good at getting up and out of bed in a morning and now with me having chemo and feeling the side effects of the tiredness more and more he’s not only having to make sure that he wakes up on time but is also having to make sure that I get up on time too. Before all of this happened I was the one in charge of the alarm clock. I would be the one to hear it bleeping annoyingly first thing in the morning. I would be the one who would wake Lee up as I got out of bed and I would be the one to go downstairs to make our morning cup of coffee. We would sit up in bed watching GMTV drinking our coffee, talking and gradually waking for the day ahead. Things are so different now! I don’t even hear the alarm clock never mind hear Lee pottering about the bedroom or in the kitchen. It’s Lee who has to wake me now which is taking some doing these days too. It’s amazing if you think about it, I can’t sleep because of the steroids and constantly keep waking up during the night but then on the other hand I could sleep through a hurricane. Lee has surprised me of how patient and understanding he is with everything. He’s always been considerate and understanding but this last couple of months has changed him considerably. He is so patient with me and has on many occasions told me that if there was a time for me to be selfish then this is it. To think of me, think of getting through the treatment and just concentrate on getting rid of this disease. He has taken over all the house hold chores, the vacuuming, the washing, the cooking and now he’s even taken over the job of making the coffee in the morning. I feel so lucky to have met him and receive the love that he has for me, we both have said so many times that we wished that we could have met at some earlier point in our lives. Ahh our love! I loved Lee with all my heart and soul before the cancer and I would never have thought it possible for the Love to get any stronger but it has. This cancer thing is making our love stronger and more meaningful. We are stronger as a couple and I still believe that this will conquer all. The first week after the chemo seems to be the hardest bit and that is purely down to the tiredness and the steroids. Lee constantly watches me, asks me how I’m feeling, tells me I’m lying when I say ‘I’m fine’ laughs at me, hugs me, torments me and loves me with all of his heart.
After he’s gone I sit up in bed to drink my coffee. I have one sip and put it down. I can’t drink it, I can’t describe what it tastes like but it doesn’t taste like coffee. I sit there staring down at the quilt for a few minutes, my head spinning, and Ooh my stomach. I don’t feel sick but I do feel a little iffy, a little like motion sickness but without the actually feeling sick bit. I tried the coffee again but this time as it hit the back of my throat I gipped slightly. I couldn’t drink it, it tasted awful. I slowly got out of bed and headed for the bathroom I felt a little uneasy on my feet and very light headed as though I was going to pass out. I didn’t like this feeling one bit and slumped down onto the toilet, leaning forward and resting my head into my hands I began to feel a little sorry for myself. ‘Ooh I don’t feel good’ the sweat was pouring off me now; I reached out to the cold tap on the sink and started to splash myself with cold water to cool myself down. Splashing my face and splashing my bald head. Is this what they mean about being sick with Chemo? Well I definitely don’t like this feeling one bit and am determined that I will not throw up. A cool breeze started to hit the top of my head through the open window and combined with the cold water that I had splashed over it early was now starting to make me feel a little cold, but on the upside a little better too. I stood up slowly to have a wash and brush my teeth but after only being stood for a few seconds the dizziness started again. 'Oh Nooo' I said to myself. Holding on to the sink I sunk down to the floor onto my knees to try and get my bearings. This didn’t work my head was spinning even more so I got even lower and lay down on the bathroom floor and definitely feeling sorry for myself now I started to cry. ‘I can’t do this, Why me? I don’t like this, what have I done so wrong to deserve this? Mam, Lee’ I whimpered. I lay on the floor for some time sniveling like a child and getting colder and colder by the second but every time I tried to get up I started to go dizzy again and feel sick; that sicky feeling when your mouth starts to water and tastes all acidy. I wanted to ring Lee but couldn’t the phone was in the bedroom and every time I lifted my head the dizziness got worse. What if I pass out, this panicked me even more. I was stuck here but how long for? The dizziness and the sick feeling started to faded while I was on the floor. Yeahhh sussed it! I will stay down here for the day; but I was freezing. Quickly thinking I grabbed the towel off the radiator and pulled it over me. ‘Oh yes now that’s better’ I thought. I lay there on the bathroom floor snuggled up in the large warm bath sheet and eventually I nodded off. I woke up to the whole of my left side being numb from lying on floor. What was I thinking; I should have just braved it and gone back to bed. I still hadn’t taken my steroids or anti-nausea pills yet and they were downstairs, so very gently I got myself up off the floor and slowly walked down the stairs holding onto the hand rail as tight as I could. I poured myself a large glass of water and swallowing my steroids and anti-nausea I started to go back upstairs. I was starting to feel dizzy again, the sweat was pouring off me and I honestly thought that I was going to pass out. I finished going up the last few steps on all fours and slumped back onto the bed and it was then that I realised that there would be no way on this planet that I would be going into work today.
I had another hour to wait until anyone would be at the office so I decided to set my alarm clock just in case I fell back to sleep. What if I fell back into a deep sleep and didn’t hear it go off? Why is it when you feel like crap you have to mess about with either staying awake or risk the chance of not waking up on time just to ring in to work to tell them that you won’t be in? Feeling sorry for myself again, I just wanted to go back to sleep and try and sleep this Iffy feeling off. I didn’t sleep though; I lay there snuggled up in the duvet, watching the TV and now and again having a sip of my glass of water. The alarm eventually went off and as I sat up to ring work my whole head felt like it was going to spin out of control and off my shoulders, Quickly laying back down again I rang work. Elsa answered the phone and after I told her that I wouldn’t be in she abruptly said ‘Ok’ with the tone of voice that was actually saying ‘Oh Again’ she hung up so quickly there wasn’t even enough time to even say goodbye. I don’t know if she’s doing this on purpose or if she realises that she is doing it, but she is and she is really getting to me now, the total change of her voice and attitude from when I was first diagnosed is unreal and I cannot believe how someone can change so quickly. First she was as nice as pie and then the next she is just plain awful. After I had made the phone call I lay back down under the duvet staring up at the ceiling, closing my eyes, looking around the bedroom, closing my eyes again until I eventually drifted back off to sleep again.
I was woken to the sound of my mobile phone ringing. That’s Lee I thought with my early morning check up call and without opening my eyes I picked the phone up and answered the phone with “Hello Darling” It’s a good job it was Lee at the other end, it could have been anyone. It could have been one of those cold calling sales centers or even Terry my boss ringing and there’s me greeting them with ‘Hello Darling’. I told Lee how I had felt first thing and about me lying on the bathroom floor sniveling like a child. “How are you feeling now” he asked me “Better” I told him Lee was very concerned and even said at one point that he was going to come home, but what could he do? He couldn’t make me feel better or would I have felt better if he was here with me. Did I feel better or was it because I was still lying down. Well; the only way to know for sure is to get my big fat back side out of this bed and go downstairs. I still felt a little light headed but at least the nausea feeling had gone. At least I know the anti-nausea pills work. I went on to tell Lee about the reaction I had got from Elsa when I telephoned into work first thing. He went absolutely mad “That’s it you’re not going back to work now until all your treatment is finished” “Lee; I am not going on the sick, I will carry on working as long as I can” I told him. I didn’t want to get into this right now; I didn’t want to get into it full stop. I reassured him that I was ok and that there was no need for him to come home. Let’s face it if he doesn’t work he doesn’t get paid with being self employed and we are going to need every penny we can get if and when the time comes that I do have to go on the sick. I know Terry has said that the company will pay me up to 56 days full sick pay of which I have to put down as compassionate leave on my timesheets; well initially he said that. The last meeting I had with him the number of days had come down to 50 so I’ll just have to see what the company actually does pay me for sick.
I spent the rest of the morning laid on the sofa with the TV on, too tired to move, too tired to even reach out for my glass of water and too tired to get up of the sofa to get anything to eat. Hey maybe I won’t put so much weight on this time if I’m too tired to eat anything. I’m not that lucky the way things are going I would probably still pile on the pounds just drinking water and with the lack of exercise. If exercise creates energy where am I supposed to get the energy to do it in the first place? Do I just do it in my mind and hope that it works. ‘News Flash’ First woman to lose weight and get toned by visual exercise alone ha ha what a dream. Even the thought of it exhausts me.
I had promised Lee that I would ring about the payment protection that I have on my bank loan and car loan, but I couldn’t be bothered to move to go get the number. I’ll do it later after Loose Women. Later never arrived today though, in-between sleeping and watching TV, slowly going up to the bathroom and pouring myself a glass of water the day went by very quickly and at 4.30pm Lee walked through the door. He had left work early and come home to see for his self that I was indeed ok. As soon as he walked through the door my whole face lit up, it’s as though that is all I had needed all along to make me feel better. Cuddled into the safety of his arms I buried my face into his chest, hugging him and never wanting to let him go I told him about my day.
Lee ran me a bath and as I lay there I realised what a drama queen I had been. I suppose that I will have some down days like today and looking back it wasn’t really as bad as I initially thought. I said from the start that I wasn’t going to get sick and I am still adamant that I won’t. When it comes to actually being sick I am the world’s worst person and always want my mum. Why do I want my mum when I’m sick; well it goes all the way back when I was a small child; she used to sit at the side of me rubbing my back, telling me everything will be alright while I would be throwing up in the toilet. Is that what I needed today? Did I need to feel her hand rubbing my back and to hear her voice telling me everything was going to be ok? I suppose today came to me as a bit of a shock, my last treatments I have got off scot free from any nausea and today was a little reminder that I am actually going through chemo. This is why I am tired, this is why am bald and getting fatter by the minute. Lee took his usual position perched on the toilet seat while I had my bath and got into a very serious discussion about why he calls me constantly on the telephone.“Do you think I do it just for the sake of it?” he asked “No” I replied like a little school girl being told off and quickly dipped my head under the water to avoid any further discussion. It didn’t work though as he was sat there waiting for me when I re-surfaced. “Karen! I’m living with you, I see you every day and see how the treatment is affecting you” he carried on. “You have to be honest with me and open up. If you’re not feeling well don’t you think it’s only right for you to tell me? How do you think I would feel if something happened to you? How do you think your mum would react if she thought that I wasn’t looking after you properly?”He didn’t stop there either. “I don’t know where you are sometimes, you come in from work and even though you’re sat in the living room with me I feel like you’re not there, because you’re always miles away. Tell me what you’re thinking, tell me how your feeling. Come on! You did promise that we would do this together. He was right; I should have called him this morning but how could I; as soon as I realised that I did feel crap I was stuck on the bloody bathroom floor not daring to move in case the moving did make me pass out or worse still vomit. I explained to him why I didn’t want him to come home, about the financial side of things and admitted that this does worry me. What if I do have to go on the sick and my sick pay runs out, how will we manage? What if I get so sick that Lee has to stay at home with me and there is no money coming in at all? This really does worry me and I suppose this is why I am being so stubborn about going to work. “Well that’s not for you to worry about is it?” He came back at me. “All you have to worry about is getting through this treatment and knocking hell out of this disease” He was right again but I do worry it’s in nature. I worry about everything. If that is the case then why am I not worrying about this cancer? I don’t worry about it, it’s as though I have a cold or something and I just need to work through it. You see to me it is not a death sentence, it is to me like having a cold that I have to work a little harder at to get rid of it. Is that a good thing for me to think this way or is it denial of how serious the disease actually is. No! I am not in denial, I do know how serious cancer is but I need to keep a positive mind too and this is my way of dealing with it.
I know I promised not to keep anything from Lee and from my mum, you know; tell it how it is, which I have kept to that promise, it just seems to be that every time anyone asks me how I am feeling; I am at that particular moment in time ‘Feeling Alright’ Of course I will have my ups and downs, I will drift off into another places and have my crying moments. Like they say; having Cancer is an emotional roller coaster