The ‘Easy’ First Chemo Cycle

‘The first couple of treatments aren’t that bad in my opinion’.

I’ve had the privilege of being in contact with a few inspirational cancer survivors recently.  My Cousin-in-law Sara was given a terminal diagnosis and is living a full life years later.  I greeted her with a hug this summer – she’s definitely real. Some find it a bit much to be called an inspiration just for being alive.  Having had at best a 50% chance of living to see my way out of hospital, let alone my first birthday, I know the feeling.  But hey – you can’t be what you can’t see.

But sometimes seeing others achieve your wildest dreams can be a bit demoralising.  Many of us have witnessed someone [apparently] effortlessly excel at our main instrument and consider never picking it up again – in the knowledge that such artful beauty will never flow our [relatively] clumsy fingers.

In my current situation, the intangible inspiration comes from all around – not just in staying alive, but resolving to live well.  Runners whose cancer hasn’t slowed them at all or stopped them training for and winning races. People who don’t miss a day of work as long as the faintest possibility exists that they could conceivably drag themselves in.  Parents who day in and day out ensure that their children thrive, despite feeling various kinds of terrible I might never know.   Anyone who’s done anything at all within a week of receiving chemotherapy.

Because this first cycle has knocked me out.  I was warned I might feel a bit rubbish to start with.  There was a chance of sickness but it would be controlled with tablets.  Some side effects might present but they shouldn’t stop me from living pretty much normally.  Oh and lets not forget that I’m allegedly young and fit – this should be a breeze!

Well, in that case, I have dismally failed my first chemo.  I’ve been heartily encouraged by more than one person with relevant experience to get outside and run (failing that, at least walk) every day, but couldn’t face fresh air and the risk of toe tingles and throat spasms for the first four.  For most of the first eight days, I’ve barely achieved sitting up.  Absolutely everyone has told me that the effect of this ‘therapy’ is cumulative and I’ll feel gradually worse with each cycle.  If this is the easy one, what on earth am I in for by cycle four or even two?!

Enough. I’m going running!