It’s been an interesting week to reflect on the past year and all of its challenges, particularly as the 4th Jan was the one year anniversary of my big 10-hour op. I can’t believe that it’s been a year already and that having thought we had put it all behind us, we are back to battling the beast again. However, I did enjoy the best part of last year blissfully unaware that I still had cancer, I really enjoyed celebrating my 50th birthday with friends here in the UK and also in Nova Scotia, I managed to do the CWN 10K for charity with Madelaine in July, I had a fantastic summer holiday with the family and saw Tom Petty in concert in New York (thanks to the generosity of Josh and Alex), and I’m really pleased with the progress we have made in the past year for the 30% Club campaign. While the start of 2017 and the first few months were pretty horrendous, on balance I would say that it was a really great year…until November when we got the results of my scan.
Looking ahead to 2018, it will certainly be another roller coaster. My last round of chemo (#4 out of 12) on the 27th December was the toughest yet and it surprised me. I managed the first 3 quite well and thought I had it covered, but the 4th was mentally really hard. I really noticed the bad taste in my mouth and the dulling of my taste buds – even water tastes bad. My throat is incredibly dry and I struggle to stay hydrated. The pins and needles in my fingers and toes gets a bit worse each time and my face and tongue go numb as well. Certain smells really put me off, and any smell that reminds me of hospitals makes me feel queasy. None of this on its own sounds too bad in the grand scheme of things, but all of it combined is hard. This lasts from Wednesday through until about Sunday.
By Monday this week, however, I was feeling strong again with only a few remaining side effects and I was able to get back to exercising and doing all of the things I love. India and I have been cooking together (actually, I’m the sous chef), I’ve done some interviews for 30% Club and on Tuesday night we all went to a venue in Tonbridge Wells to hear Teddy perform his songs. By this Wednesday I will almost be back to normal just in time to face round 5.
I remain determined to get through this with a positive attitude and a smile on my face, but I realise that I have to really focus on filling my resilience tank on the good days (from day 6-14 of each cycle) – lots of fitness, lots of family and friend time, purposeful activity at work and on 30%, and a bit of poetry and mindfulness for balance.
My default during the good days is to go a bit crazy trying to do everything as I am very aware of wanted to maximise my time while I’m feeling well, so I do need to try to keep myself in check (as I’m driving Trend and the kids crazy wanting to do and plan everything). This has always been a challenge for me and I think the steroids I get during chemo amplify it.
I want to thank those of you who have been kind enough to attend my ‘chemo salons’ at Harley Street – it’s made the whole process much more palatable and I really appreciate it. The last one will be this Wednesday and then I will have the rest at home. I know it’s not as convenient to come to Sevenoaks, but I would love to have visitors to help me pass the time. I also want to thank my Saturday walking buddies. I’ve learned that the Saturday after chemo is a real low point for me – I have low energy and I feel down, which is really not like me – and it’s been great to have friends come and drag me out for a short walk. Thanks for all of the positive messages of love and support – it continues to fuel my resilience. I am so lucky to have such wonderful friends and family. I don’t know how I would get through this without all of you. I can’t say thank you enough. #Gratitude