I’m aware the title of this blog post sounds like a future Adele album; but heck I’ve made it to 55. Today is my birthday. What’s more, I know for sure today is my birthday, because Jenny has confirmed it. I thought yesterday was Monday, which might have been my birthday, but I had wondered whether that was 12th, which it was, only it was Sunday. Since I’ve not blogged you up to date you’ll doubtless be as confused as I am about this ramble.

The effects of brain radiotherapy, most dramatically a deep sleepiness, have hit. So I spend most of my time asleep, about to drop off, or wondering where I am. My belongings, socks, glasses of water, food, are spread around the house, put down in odd places. It’s like coming off nights and going food shopping, which only a shift worker will understand. I once lost my purse during one such expedition, searched all over at work and home and called places I might have left it, before giving up and cancelling my bank cards. Before happening across the purse a week later in my fridge.

I can’t describe how my mind feels, but the photo of gorse represents it precisely.

I’m not sure if this is somnolence syndrome, but I’m certainly sleeping overnight and then for at least 6 hours in the day.

It might have been ironic to wake up dead, but today I awoke and fair leapt from my bed. Not through a surge of energy following a good night’s sleep and the thought of a birthday lunch later, but through diarrhoea which I’ve had for 3 weeks thanks to the chemo. I had a celebratory early breakfast of two loperamide, buscopan, and the king of bottom blockers, ondansetron, in preference to my current mainstay cyclizine which is a bit of  dozy medication. I’m going to try splitting my steroid dose and taking half at 12 today in the hope I’ll wake up for lunch with  the extra revs and make it through without collapsing face first onto the plate.

I feel pretty strange about my birthday. I’v never been a great one for traditional birthdays. My 50th came in the weeks after breast cancer when I was trying to get fit to return to work after mastectomy, so I pretty much ignored it.

Do I want to celebrate? Watching the obsequious pomp and sqaundered austerity money going on the Queen’s birthday makes me as sick as a dose of Temozolomide. I’m no royalist, though I don’t think Gloriana is a bad person, I just find the fawning and borderline jingoism hard to stomach. Yes give the old bird a party, with people she knows and wants to be there. Then forget the nonsense about her constitutional role and let her retire with her horses and her gin to live off her vast wealth without any top ups from us.

I think I can empathise with how 90 year old Queenie feels; knackered and wanting to be left alone.

Clearly I can’t yam a cheeky glass of Prosecco, three ginger tea is more my bag nowadays.  But if I’ve blocked sufficiently and the preprandial dexamethasone works its magic I should be able to remain alert enough to eat a pub lunch and maybe even hang onto it till the evening.That’s the plan.

I feel abandoned this week, having been into Derriford every weekday for six weeks, suddenly I’m adrift till 6 July when I see Dr Sarah for my review. I’ve been unable to get hold of the specialist nurse, and have done my own research and tweaked the meds accordingly, knowing I can always call the ward if I need to. I spoke to my GP too, who’s researching some other meds for the colitis which has well and truly kicked off after the chemo. It’s such a difficult thing to manage because each medication has effects, the treatment has effects, and they all pile up and interact like a fracking exploration, leaching into the groundwater, undermining geological faults and kicking off earth tremors.

Sometimes in the morning I forget what I’ve taken half way through.

So happy birthday to me, hurray. Another arbitrary milestone on my journey towards death.

I hope to post the second catch up blog this week, although I’m struggling to structure it.  So, I’m through the first big treatment block, I’ve made it to 55, and I’m thinking about what to do next. All will become clear once my brain’s recovered a little more.