Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Saturday 24th January

I think I am going to have to ban people from asking me specifics about the recovery from the chemo. This morning Carl asked me how the chemo taste was. I told him, quite happily, that it was almost gone, in fact today was the first day I hadn’t really noticed it.

Until late this afternoon, that is.  I don’t know why, but the taste just came flooding back – not as bad as it has been, but it was there.

Maybe I tempted fate.

I’m almost too wary to note that it is just about gone now, into the night. Hopefully this will remain the case.

In the same vein as ‘you don’t know what you have until you lose it’ I often find that you don’t know how bad you were feeling until you get better. Only today, when the taste came back, did I actually realise how bad it has been – and how much it is having the taste constantly in my mouth that has upset me most about the chemo after-effects.

Forever I will associate chemo with the taste.

My eyes are also bugging me. They were so dry this morning that the one was basically stuck closed. I don’t quite understand why the drugs seem to only affect my eyes late into the process. Surely they would work on everything at the same time? Or, surely if my eyes were affected by the last chemo, then they would say affected – not get a bit better and then succumb to the drying-out effect of the chemo?

In some ways, I think it would be fascinating to be able to ‘track’ the way the drugs move through my body and how they affect various things in various ways: like in one of those scifi movies, where they inject a microscopic person into the body in a teeny-tiny little submarine to look at the way blood corpuscles work, or to go and save some miniscule item in the intestines (or whatever).

In other ways, though, I’m quite fine with not knowing the finer details. It is quite fascinating (in a rather strange way) to see what happens as it happens.

I do wish, though, that I could know when I will be much more like the self I was before the operations.

I still get so, so tired. That is the most debilitating thing about this chemo – the exhaustion. That is what really makes me feel that I am not quite myself. I can even deal with the swelling, numbness and strain of the operation site and the muscles under my arm better than with the tiredness.  You can work with a sore arm, but not so easily if you are so damned exhausted that you can hardly keep your eyes open.

Being exhausted also doesn’t help when there is so much extra – and innovative – housework to be done. We are having electrical issues and are without a stove or washing machine. Yay. Hand washing is so much fun, especially with a sore arm. ;(

All part of the process, though. Whether mentioning a symptom makes me more aware of it, or not, the healing process takes time. The taste may recur, but it will go away. My nerves may be remembering to scream as they come back to life again, but they will settle down.

The only way onwards is upwards, though. And that is a great motivator.

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