The first night after having the chemo drugs was horrific. Can't-keep-anything-down sickness, shakes and shivers, diarrhoea, wanting to rip out my veins, fainting, aching, heart palpitations, all-over bone pain, sweating, panicking, totally unable to process my own thoughts, watching as my joints swell and itch, being able to do nothing but sway and say 'for fuck's sake, for fuck's sake, for fuck's sake' over and over. Can you imagine how difficult that must have been for P and my parents to witness? (My poor folks have not only had to live with the fact that their daughter has cancer, but that she says 'fuck' a lot.)
The days thereafter, while 1000% better in comparison, have still been cripplingly challenging. Nausea, exhaustion, aching bones, headaches, stomach pains and – worst of all – a complete messing with your head. Chemo (at least the first night after having it) must be like heroin addiction or cold turkey: it mucks up your looks and screws with your mind. It turns you into a different person. It takes away who you are and makes you 24-7 tearful and depressed and confused and paranoid and tetchy and unable to understand anyone around you. It makes you irritable and annoyed with the people closest to you, when all you want to do is tell them that you love them so much, and that they're the only reason you can be arsed to go through all this, and that without them there'd be no point.
How do so many people do this? Just how have so many people managed it and seen the other side? I'm only a couple of days into my first cycle and already wondering how I can spend the rest of the year handling this shit. For probably the first time since this all began, I'm feeling really bloody blood-boiling angry and very hard done by. (And I'm hoping you'll excuse me this long whinge. And if not then, please, just fuck off out of my blog.) I am twenty-fucking-eight. On the hottest weekend of the year, I should be sitting outside a pub in the glorious sun, drinking lager shandies and talking to my man or my folks or my mates about where to go on holiday, who's doing what for new year, whether there'll be a series three of Gavin and Stacey, if anyone really gives a shit about the Coldplay comeback, or what Derby County's chances are for next season. But no. Instead I'm craving a cold, dark room, a decent few hours' sleep and a way out of this physical and mental... I don't know what... unfairness. Going through chemo has got to be the pinnacle of human endurance.
Oddly enough I've become pretty addicted to Born Survivor: Bear Grylls on the Discovery Channel of late, and even his exploits are beginning to look easy compared to this. Parachuting onto the Patagonian ice? Simple. Staring an angry pack of African elephants in the eye? No problem. Biting the head off a sandfish lizard? Bring it on. Whatever he's done, compared to chemo it's like eating cake. (Not that it's going to stop me watching, like – that guy is mental.)
So, does that explain it? Have I even nearly managed to communicate what this shitty cancer treatment does to a person? There's not a lot more I can say. Chemotherapy is a motherfucker.