Chemo round three basically sucked. Mainly because I had worked myself up into such a state last night about my tumour ‘not responding’ to chemo that I had a full-on panic attack which required breathing into a paper bag followed by vomming into a plastic Haribo bucket (empty – it’s our family sick receptacle).
By the time I had realised this morning (in the car on the way to the hospital) that I had forgotten to take my pre-chemo steroids I was a snotty sobbing wreck. I managed to reduce the crying to tears-silently-pouring-down-the-face by the time my nurse had inserted the canula. But when I was still spilling big fat teardrops half an hour later the nurse suggested I might like to move to a side room. I think I was putting the other patients off their chemo.
And being on my own did the trick. Ironically, once I stopped trying not to cry in front of other people, I stopped crying. I was still monosyllabic and moody with my lovely nurse who was working her last shift before moving to a new role at the hospital (hopefully with fewer weeping crazies) but at least I wasn’t sharing the misery round the ward. Because – honestly – the process of having chemotherapy is painless (once the canula insertion is out of the way) – it’s the emotional baggage you bring with you that turns it into a downer.
I even managed to have a semi-normal conversation with my friend Anita, whose visit distracted me from own depressing thoughts. And two breast cancer veterans on Twitter (@Liz_ORiordan and @secretdiaryofcg)- reminded me that chemotherapy isn’t really about the primary tumour – surgery will deal with that – it’s to ‘mop up’ any rogue cancer cells that might be swilling around the rest of my body looking for a new place to set up shop. And they’re so tiny that they’re more likely to be crushed by the chemotherapy drugs.
So I’m feeling much calmer tonight.
Although I have just taken a shit-load of steroids.