State of play – second week

I’ve copied out below the latest update I’ve posted to Facebook. I was reminded of the need to reassure people that just because I have cancer, it doesn’t make me delicate china. I understand how difficult knowing how to act or what to say, but the whole point of this is to keep these things as low-key as possible.

AS always, there are things that I don’t release to Facebook. I feel it’s my duty to keep it as positive as possible, but it’s been a tough week.

I’m not sure if it’s because of the chemo, or a double-dose of radiation on Tuesday, or something else, but I’ve felt pretty fucked this week – much more so than at any other time. My main concern is how unstable I’ve felt on my feet. Virtually at any moment when upright I thought I might topple over at any moment. I’ve been dizzy and light-headed and, at times, so disoriented that I didn’t know where I was. It’s a very disturbing sensation.

They took me for an ECG on Wednesday to check it out, but I came up fine. On other indicators, I was fine also, except that my heart rate would plunge into the low forties.

I suspect it is ‘something else’ and spoke to my GP yesterday about it. I think it’s related to the hip and groin surgery I had. It hasn’t healed as I thought and my right quad remains numb, which surely isn’t right. He thinks it might be a nuerological issue.

I found myself greatly annoyed by it last night. Here I am having set myself to do battle with the cancer and the therapy needed to defeat it, and I was ready. It would be tough but I’d get through it. To then have something unexpected jump out to make things even harder seemed unconscionable. It’s hard enough as is.

I’m okay now. It may not be anything. I’ll speak to the oncologist on Monday. For now, I have three days free from treatment and it may do the trick.

From Facebook:

When I sat down a couple of months ago and revealed, I had cancer, I did so because I knew it was not something I could keep quiet and because I probably figured I’d need some support. At the time, I made it clear I didn’t want sympathy or pity. As much as possible, I wanted to keep things low-key and ‘normal’. I didn’t want to be treated differently because I had cancer and hoped that people would continue to deal with me in the same way. It’s something I have, but not who I am.

A couple of months on, and I’m surprised where this has got to – and gratified, in a way. My attitude hasn’t changed, though. I may be sick, but I’m far from a shrinking violet. Whether you say anything or nothing is not my business, but please don’t feel inhibited or embarrassed – I know it’s hard – and if that means having a crack at me, have a crack at me! Inside, I’m still the same man.

Over time, I’ve come to understand my motivations for these regular posts.

The most obvious is that I feel pretty cocooned from the world. I can make it to and from the letterbox, but not much further (I’m as tottery as a three-legged chair). The only time I really get out is to go to the hospital, which is an artificial environment anyway – clinical and full of sick people. Not really my scene, except that now it is.

I miss company and just the sound of people. I feel like I’m in a jar on a high shelf, so anything I can do to break down the barriers is of worth. My mind is still active, if not my body, and this is one of my few open channels.

There’s an act of defiance in it, too. I’ve had hard times before, and I’m strong and resilient and pretty stubborn. When you’re like me, you tend to personalise your opponent. You want to know what you’re facing up to and give it the finger. Mentality plays a big part in all this, I think, and if I can personalise cancer as some kind of evil gorilla wanting to rip my arms off, I’m automatically up for the fight. I haven’t got much, but I can turn it into a bit of a light-hearted game, taunting the gorilla with my nonchalance. I know I have him beat. I figure he knows it, too.

Lastly, I feel some obligation for all of you who have supported and encouraged me throughout this journey. I’ve been blown away by the good vibes and help offered me throughout this time. I can’t express how grateful I am. I’ve learnt a lot through this time, about myself, and others. I can’t offer up anything profound, but if you’ve bought a ticket to this ride, I feel I have to give you the content to make it worthwhile.

Feedback is always welcome, as is no feedback at all. No obligations; I’ll just put it out there for you to take or leave.

2 responses to “State of play – second week

  1. It’s a kick in the gut for sure to have something else pop up. Since starting treatment for my prostrate cancer, I had an Afib episode where now I’m on heart medication. Just found out today, my liver is possibly fucked. Best case, it is a shocked liver, worst case is complete liver failure. I’m off my oral chemotherapy until the liver resolves itself one way or another. Meanwhile, my cancer marches on.

    There are days where someone will ask how I’m doing, and I can honestly say I don’t know how to answer that question.

    Keep up the good fight, it’s all we can do.


    • I’m sorry to hear that, Matt, but not surprised. Seems to me you embark on this journey with one goal in mind, to beat cancer, unaware that along the way there are other pitfalls and dangers, and the longer you go, the murkier it becomes.

      As you say, all we can do is keep going. At the end of it, I hope to hear that I’m cured. That’s the main game. But it’s likely I’ll have other things to deal with then. None of it is straightforward, and it’s certainly not easy, but I guess it’s the best of a harsh lot of options to fix this thing.

      Best of luck with everything.


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