Arrived back from a fantastic two weeks in South Africa this morning. (I am choosing to employ selective amnesia at this point and will forget about the horrific delay at the airport.) As this is not a travel blog, I will just say that if you haven't been to South Africa, do go. It's a very beautiful part of the world. Also, it did get me away from the whole cancer thing, although admittedly, I did have one wobble...
It's back to the real world then - we've unpacked our bags and the washing machine is doing its job. Tomorrow is a big day as it signals the first day of my treatment. In the morning, I need to go to hospital for a blood test, to make sure that my white cells are up for chemotherapy the day after - this will need to be done the day before every single one. In the afternoon, my port will be put in - this is a valve that will be inserted near my clavicle to avoid the pain and inconvenience (and inevitable bruising) of looking for a vein at every treatment. Sadly, I do not know much about this, as I find the entire concept particularly gross. When the doctor asked if I wanted more detail, I answered with a very defiant NO. In the evening, I'm having my hair cut - very short. The nurse advised that I do this since I will be using the cold cap which will hopefully stop my hair from falling. There is a very big chance that I will end up bald anyway, but it's a good excuse to finally go for that boys' cut that I've always wanted but have never had the guts to do. The hairdresser should have a ball as my hair is currently nearly halfway down my back.
The day after I have my first chemotherapy treatment. It's terribly ironic that in order to get better (especially when I didn't even feel ill in the first place) the cure will have to make me feel pretty unwell. The list of side-effects is hideous: fatigue, nausea, hair-loss, constipation, diarrhoea, mouth ulcers, etc. Although I may not get all of the side-effects, I'm certainly preparing for the worst. Thus, I have reached out to friends and family for help in taking the children to and from school, and also in helping with meals. Although every atom in my body says that I should say "no, thank you" to any offers of help, I instead say "yes please" and put their names down for the inevitable days that I will need surely need them.
So, onwards and upwards. I could be saying goodbye to an entire year of my life lost to the treatment, but at the end of it, I'll hopefully be a much stronger person physically, emotionally and mentally.