The griddle is smoking hot and a well-seasoned, lightly oiled steak is cooking away before my very eyes and when the steak is removed from the griddle with perfect seared markings. I’m just a big glass of red wine and a raspberry and chocolate dessert away from paradise. I pierce the steak with my fork and the knife glides through the meat as if it were butter, I lift the fork to my salivating mouth and then I’m awake and find it’s an NHS bedsheet between my lips. I’ve had a number of odd dreams this week, the most nefarious are the ones where delicious food is abundant but I have a nasty case of mucositis which makes swallowing a modern day form of torture.
Friday (Day +7) night I went to bed; I suspect I’d probably slept a few hours before the pain in my throat woke me and kept me awake for the rest of the night. In a few hours the mucositis had advanced so much so that it was excruciating to swallow my own natural saliva, any food / drink and without doubt ruled out my ability to wash down thirty tablets every day, some of which are enormous. Of course the blasted feeding tube was recommended at this point and I remained as stubborn as ever that I would get through the experience without yet another unwanted tube in my body. All my medications were are this point changed from oral to IV, along with an additional prescription for a bag or two of fluid to keep me hydrated. Unfortunately, administering the drugs by IV made me very nauseous nevertheless there was no other option than to soldier on intravenously. I won’t go into a blow by blow account of the last week because frankly, apart from when I was asleep there were no pleasant moments. For the record, if anyone has to go through what I’m going through and they are less phobic about tubes etc. then I think the feeding tube would have been the sensible way forward, however for me the stress of the phobia was more distressing mentally than the physical pain I was suffering.
Most days I can take a deep breath and hold back any stray tears but there are some people in life, for whatever reason, no matter how hard you try if you feel in the slightest bit teary you will overflow in that persons presence. With this in mind (as well as the fact it really hurt my throat to cry) and taking into account my druggie in detox look (puffy face, needle marks arms) I decided to cancel visitors during the worst parts of the last week. It’s been a very boring week, as it’s hard to focus when you feel utterly rubbish on even watching TV failed to grab my attention. I did look forward to the emails from my sister-in-law updating me on how Aster is, often with a photo or video attached. Thankfully Day +12 I started to feel sturdier and I seem to be gaining strength with each day.
Therefore it’s just as well I’m not related to Samson because my hair has started to come out as expected. At the moment the ‘fall out’ is minimal and thanks to shaving the vast majority off, prior to admission, I am confident that I’m not going to find myself with a huge handful of hair when I wash each day. The first time I lost my hair was a very disturbing and although this time it is easier because it’s only one week of chemo and I’ve been here before, it’ll still be July before my hair can even be considered a severe pixie cut.
Naturally my fundraising balance hasn’t budged at all whilst I’ve been in hospital. The good news is that the Walkers with Style Group, of which only four have signed up so far, have to date raised £3747 (£402 of which is being raised for Crohns & Colitis UK) Three more members need to set up their JustGiving pages and crack on and raise a minimum of £300 per person. Therefore I think it’s safe to say that between us we will raise approximately £5000 for Anthony Nolan and £500 for Crohns and Colitis UK. Just like last week, when I’ve had moments to work on my fundraising plans I have and I’m extremely excited to announce that Hatfield Forest, my local National Trust venue has provisionally agreed to my organising a Charity Dog Show in May. Woof Woof!!!!
Sponsor me now! Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge. All details can be found at: http://www.justgiving.com/Rachel-Jackson13