Cabbage Patch Kid

I’ve been feeling pretty horrid for a few days, with a constant, generalised headache and a face so swollen the sensation departed. The nearest description I can find for my face is a Cabbage Patch Kid, with sunken features tacked into overstuffed material (though in my case it’s red rather than white). My ankles and feet have also been puffy, so that the ligaments and tendons usually visible have vanished beneath over-proved dough.

I’ve been trying to sleep lying down with two pillows rather than semi-recumbent, and yesterday my left eye was swollen almost shut and I struggled to read through the blur.  Since that’s the side I sleep on mostly, fluid retention seemed the most likely cause and so I banked up the pillows again last night with the result that I came to at 6am feeling three-quarters alive and with no headache. My cheekbones are almost palpable beneath the swelling, which has been hard as bone for weeks, like celebrity implants that jut a good 2cm from the originals. They’ve reduced by half I reckon. I peer at my ankles, half expecting to see footballs where the facial fluid has sloshed downhill, but they’re  not far off the scale. So where’s it gone? I didn’t even wake in the night to pee. Cue Kardashian empowerment selfie of my bum… except in my case I fear the curvaceousness has merely inflated the twin cheeks of my steroid babies; one is perched above my stomach, and the other atop the abdomen.

IMG_3091Yesterday, I was invited by my former colleagues at the Tavistock Times for afternoon tea at the Horn of Plenty. A lovely afternoon chatting over quantities of lovely cakes and sandwiches, whilst admiring the view over the Tamar valley. Even our famous gourmand reporter was unable to polish off the last of the scones, jam and cream, and the steroid hunger failed me too. Thank you all for a lovely afternoon.

I heard yesterday that the treatment starts next week on Wednesday with a start of treatment review, and what’s called an onset verification or dummy run. Then on Thursday I start my six week radiotherapy and chemotherapy; the final appointment will be on the 8th June. It was a relief to know it’s coming, but I’m pretty apprehensive about the whole thing. It’s a bit like taking on an Iron Man but without the enjoyable parts to look forward to, and it’s largely out of my control. So I’m making the most of the remaining days, finishing off admin and planning some mini adventures.

Macmillan

A word about Macmillan, whom I don’t mention often enough. I went into the Mustard Tree Macmillan Cancer Centre at Derriford soon after being diagnosed. Since then I’ve had regular phone calls from the staff in both Plymouth and Tavistock. They’ve called when they know I’m waiting for news, they check up on appointments. I’ve had expert advice on negotiating the emotional and practical, benefits advice, and they completed and sent off my DS1500 form so I needed only to answer a few questions on the phone.

Tomorrow, I have an appointment with a Macmillan specialist who will help me with my radiotherapy worries and we’ll work on how to get through the treatment. Following that, I’ll see E who’s the first nurse I met. My Mum has also seen a counsellor to chat through her worries. There’s so much support there, and it helps that it’s not bound up with the emotional entaglements of family and friends. So if you are affected by cancer, do get in touch with them.

 

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Author: wildwomanswimming

Wild Swimmer Wild Woman Writer Hill-Walker Dog-Lover

6 thoughts on “Cabbage Patch Kid”

  1. Someone far cleverer than me once said something like no one knows how strong they are until they have to be strong. You’ve found oodles of mental strength dealing with Hunt and I’m thinking you’ll discover a whole lot more as you take the next steps through 6 weeks of radiotherapy, especially with the support you’ll receive from that department. Like so many others, I’ll be thinking of you. x

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  2. I’m sorry you’re feeling so terrible. I can’t imagine. Swelling is so so uncomfortable. I have to say, the side by side of you and the cabbage patch kid did make me laugh out loud though. You don’t look like one, but having been on steroids (although probably not quite the quantities you’re taking) I can imagine the you feel like one. Good luck with the upcoming start of your treatment.

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  3. Hey, CP Kidda, I’ll adopt you. So day 1 of radio/chemo done and dusted? No doubt you’ve blogged with updates since this one. (I’m lagging behind, though, and playing frantic catch-up with all things email/facebooky.) Shall go hunt down. Hunt. Shit. The bastard gets everywhere.

    Speaking of which, Freya (my DD), showed me a wonderful new CassetteBoy edit of the said C and his take on Junior Doctors. Made me howl – mostly with laughter but inwardly with rage, too. How does the man sleep at night?

    Nice to see Macmillan get their due accolade, meanwhile. For every C/Hunt out there, there’s a dozen or more of life’s natural nursemaids quietly unpicking his stitches of destruction.

    Big hug to you xxx

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