Ok, I’m out of it now. The feeling of doom has lifted after eight days. I am so grateful I feel like joining a gospel choir.
Wrote some bits the other day. Did not post as I did not want to scare my bladdicts. And people are so kind: if you post something a bit tragic, they all turn up with donuts and eclairs (Lesley), flowers (Jim), lemon drizzle cake (Karen), biccies (Vicky), messages galore, a fresh wave of snail mail containing an Inuit healing symbol sticker (thanks Luke!). Which is all jolly kind and lovely, but I am sorry that people had to respond to what must have seemed like a cry for help. And I have loads of help, I don’t need more help. The awful thing is, though, when you are in the thick of it, help cannot even help.
So anyway, now you can read it as you know I am safely through it. Phew. And I apologise to seasoned veterans of low moods, but you have to understand that for someone whose default setting has always been happy/delirious/giddy with good humour, my change in emotional health constituted a crisis.
‘So I’m not gonna lie. It’s been awful. Feeling sick. Sick of food, sick of blog, sick of life. They go together.
I realise that whenever in life I have felt a bit crap, I could always make myself a nice boiled egg with salt and pepper and lovely chewy granary soldiers and a cup of tea. I have always enjoyed a wonderful appetite for food and life. Now food and even water can not help. Tea? Ugh. They do not comfort. They make you feel worse.
I expected this to lift. I am never down for long. Honestly, I am irrepressible and bounce. But it has not lifted. Friends have tried to help. Donuts and eclairs from Lesley. Belgique with Arulesh and Lesley. Ponies and breakfast with Debbie. Baroosh with one Tina and veggie burgers with the other Tina. Coffee with Juliet and Karen. Prezzo with Jaki. Green tea at Cath’s. Supper at Sabine’s. But all this did not get rid of it. Nothing can take away this shivery despair.
I keep seeing that even if my nodules happen to be OK, other people’s are not and will not be. We are all one suffering mass. The boundary between myself and others from present and past has disintegrated. How hopeless did Nanny Rene feel when cancer was getting her? How did Mike Ullmann feel when they told him he had only a few weeks? Fergus probably felt worse than this all the time, apart from when he was on a high. I’m so glad he at least had those highs.
This is a page from my book of plants which Fergus borrowed for his horticulture course. You can see his handwriting top right.
The close up of the handwriting looks like this:
The oncologist could have said I have twenty five large nodules in my lungs. What would I have done then? It’s random what they are going to say. We are not in control. I told Arulesh about this and she said ‘Hester, we are never in control. Of anything.’
I used to know this. I used to like it almost. The random nature of life was funny and threw up fun times. Now I’m just scared of it.
I have been moping about, crying. I have no control over that either. Tears just plop out of my eyes. Very strange. The cancer is not a joke anymore. The shock and energetic reaction to that has worn off. I am really in this thing now. I am re-mourning Ferg and other dead friends and relatives. The garden is bursting with Forget-me-nots. I look at them and creep back to the sofa with my blankie.
I can’t get out of it. It’s not lifting. For some reason, this nodule thing has been a big blow. My psyche has been hit hard. And I’m dreading the next FEC already. I know why that clever woman doctor made me do T-FEC instead of FEC-T. FEC-T would have made me despair from the start.
I just wish I could get out of it. Will phone Xynergy Superfoods. Will go to Scotsdales Cancer Centre for therapy. Will phone Kate’s Yoga for Cancer woman. Need to redouble efforts. Yet I feel burnt out, like I can’t do any more. Even like it wouldn’t be that bad just to give up.’
See now why I did not want to post that? The Stiven Family Postcards alone would have broken the Postie’s back.
I suddenly realised maybe it wasn’t the nodules making me feel like this. Maybe it was a FEC side-effect. Most side-effects are physical. You expect physical, so you might miss mental.
Anyway, somehow I understood I was being stupid to put up with it. There are things you can do. I phoned the homeopath. (Actually, next time, please someone remind me to phone the homeopath.) I left a message on her machine: ‘Jane…. The Valley of the Shadow of Death is upon me.’
She phoned back quickly. ‘Hmm. I think you need some Arsenicum.’
‘That makes sense,’ I replied. ‘I feel like I have been poisoned.’ Arsenicum is made of Arsenic. That nasty red stuff, Epirubicin, looked like a serious poison and the chemo nurse treated it like one. He didn’t take his eyes off it for a second.
‘We’ll go in with a 1M,’ she suggested. ‘I’ll give you some 10M to take if it doesn’t do the job.’
Wow. 1M is already pretty strong, that is, very dilute. For the more mental levels you need a higher dilution. She could tell I had gone pretty mental, don’t know how lol.
I took the remedy on the way home. It’s easy as popping a tab. Under the tongue. Knew I had to go to bed when I got home. Felt deep inner recesses of the body start to unfold. Felt my mind kind of cave in on itself fractally until I was a long way in. Saw myself suspended in the dark void with a platinum grey object gleaming just in front of me. F*** knows what all that was about but felt like I was glimpsing something tres important.
Had another Arsenicum 1M before bed and slept all night. Woke up and gingerly waited for the gloom to descend. Cautiously expected tears to plop. So far they have not. Janet and David turned up saying they wanted to take over the kitchen and cook things. We chopped aubergine and courgettes and made guacamole with garlic, mango, coriander and chilli. Sat outside with a fire into the night. Janet understands everything, as she is a cancer survivor and has been there.
I am cautiously welcoming a return to life as I know it. Had breakfast of scrambled eggs from Ali’s hens. One was massive, brown and speckled. One was small, bluish, smooth. Janet added crushed tortilla chips and chilli. Mmm. With guacamole on the side. (for breakfast, I know, very odd. In Colorado they eat a lot of Mexican.)
Went to the ponies with Janet. Brushed them and gave Princey his scratchy scratchies and necky rubs. He gets special treatment as he is 35 and probably on his last legs. Walked with Janet to my special beech tree which has a huge shady canopy and a pond. We picked wild flowers and cow parsley.
BTW on Friday I asked the vet about the nodules. She says nodules can be left behind after a simple chest infection and that there are many benign reasons for nodules.
Am still shaken, still feel a bit wobbly but I can see clearly now the rain has gone. Am feeling my way back into my voice, as it had completely deserted me.
I have learnt a new sum:
Nodules Shock + Red Poison + Sudden Changed Hormone Levels due to Chemo = Depression.
Took me a while to get, but it’s not hard, that maths.
Exciting News Flash: my friend and flute pupil Claire had her baby last Sunday: Agnes, 7lbs 5oz. We popped round to give her a squeaky giraffe and she is the most adorable, beautiful baby ever.