Dear Chemo Part 2

Dear Chemo,

Well it’s been a good few months since I wrote to you when I took the incredibly difficult decision to resume our relationship back in November. It’s not been an easy ride has it? As I wait for you to cast your spell over my bone marrow for the final time I just thought I’d reflect.

Returning to your poisonous grip was, I think one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever made in my entire life. Knowing that I would be rendered mutilated and incapacitated by your effects, but also fearing on the other hand what cancer had in store for me. Talk about a double edged sword! After round one was just like every other encounter we’ve ever had I decided a time-out to visit California and enjoy a proper family Christmas was in order. That time did me the world of good and gave me the strength to carry on seeing you.

Each time we meet it seems to be getting more difficult and my poor battered body is taking longer and longer to bounce back. The febrile neutropaenia in January was pretty bad, but the febrile neutropaenia in February damn near finished me off. I’ve never been quite so frightened that I might actually die before and perverse as it sounds it seemed a shame to die from sepsis when the cancer hadn’t got the better of me. But recover I did. That recovery has been slow and frustrating though.

So this week we ended our relationship again. Four rounds of huge doses of you is quite enough for me. The early clinical signs are encouraging that you have done your job and killed some cancer cells, although it will be some weeks yet before we see my scan results and the measurable, tangible effects on my tumours. Were you perhaps annoyed with me for walking away again? I only ask because the colicky abdominal pain I have had to endure this week seemed like you expressing your anger. At one point in the early hours of Tuesday morning I could have quite easily jumped off the proverbial cliff and silenced both you and me.

I’m just so bored of all this now. I’m bored of having to sit down while I cook. I’m bored of not being able to go for a proper walk. I’m bored of feeling sick. I’m bored of not being able to work. I’m bored of being too breathless to play my flute. Try as I might to stick two fingers up to both you and cancer I just feel so hemmed in and stunted by your effects. It’s ridiculous that I can’t run up the stairs. I’m 32 bloody years old. And I don’t want to be like this anymore.

I reckon it will be Wednesday when the fever strikes. I’m sure you’ll be looking on with glee at my suffering and no doubt my irrational hospital phobia will kick in yet again. But a few days of meropenem, fluids and GCSF and we’ll be done. Who knows how long cancer control will be this time round and whether we meet again in the future will depend on a huge number of variables.

So thank you for putting the brakes on the cancer; I’m only sorry that has been at the expense of ruining my quality of life for the past five months. I’ll leave you to pick on some other poor soul while I concentrate on getting fit again and back to some semblance of normality. I fear that may take me longer than I hope.

Kind regards,