The last red week is over. I won’t lie, it was the worst one yet. In fact, it was more like red ten days and I only really felt myself again yesterday. During the first four days I was overwhelmed by an all senses enducing nausea. People talking to me, me talking to people, sunlight daring to shine, street noise, being touched, it all made me want to vomit. My neighbour hearing me describe it this way said it sounded akin to when he gets a severe migraine. I’ve never had one of those but maybe if you have, you get the picture. I basically just have to hole up in Lilah’s bedroom and wait for it all to stop. After it lifted, it was just plain old nausea. I made the mistake after a week, you know with it being called red ‘week’, of attempting to leave the house. We went to the allotment and after walking up the 20 metre hill (with several pauses for breath) to the plot, I up-chucked in the flowerbed. But vomit is a fertiliser right?
Smack bang in the middle of red week I had to start injecting myself with GCSF to boost my non-existent immune system. In previous cycles, the side effects have been manageable with ibuprofen and old lady shuffling movements around the house. I get chills, not John Tavolta grease lightning style ones. Fevery, shivery chills that make me shake uncontrollably but without the accompanying normal high body temperature. I have to watch this carefully because it can make me miss a real fever. Then I get a dull ache in my bones in the pelvis and lower back that if I move too fast can turn into agonising jolts. They are centred in this region of my body because that’s where my bone marrow makes all the weeny white blood cells that make up my immune system. When the GCSF starts doing its thing, my bone marrow expands and among other things I don’t really understand to do with neurons called noiceptors, sends panicky messages to my brain.
This time, the pain wasn’t manageable. On the worst night, as I made the unreasonable attempt to turn over in bed, it felt like my skeleton sank slowly to one side of my body and ended up in a pile at the hip slicing its way through my flesh on the journey. My leg muscles were feeling left out of the pain party, so they joined in. Then the chills started and every time I shook, a wave of pain would ripple out from my pelvis up my spine and down my legs. It reduced me to a blubbery mess. Luckily I have the best husband ever and he rushed in to soothe me with massage oil, loving whispers and some serious spooning until I finally fell asleep.
That’s all done now. I will never have to feel that way again. There is more discomfort to come I’m sure and probably more pain. But THAT particular pain. That’s done. I made it to the allotment three days after that, climbed that 20 metre hill without pause and didn’t vomit in the flowerbed. A win.
Now that I’m finished with that part of the cycle, my head is clearer and I’ve been contemplating the next phase. I have my appointment with my surgeon in two days to decide what kind of surgery I’ll be having, a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. This will all depend on where the lump is and the size. If it’s too big still and in an awkward place, then I’ll probably have to get the whole boob removed. This is where having enormous boobies will come in handy for once as there’s more breast tissue to work with. But it’s all still very uncertain and depends on the results of the last MRI and a clinical examination on the day. I have been attempting to meditate on both possibilities for a few days now. Not literally meditate because I am unskilled in that regard. Just thinking on it. Trying to accept both and failing. I realise yesterday that it’s impossible to accept things when you don’t know for sure what they are. So I decided to accept the uncertainty instead. I’ll accept what comes, when it comes.
This is where I’m at now. I’m looking forward to a whole day without pain, free of nausea. A day to spend with my family, enjoying the normal movement of my body, speaking, eating, being. Today will be a good day.