A catch up - chemotherapy cycle #5

Since blogging in depth on my mum's chemotherapy cycle #4 in my daily chemo diary blog post series, I wanted to catch you up on cycle #5.  Well, this cycle was a lot less dramatic in terms of hospital admissions but was still not without its drama, and emotions were still fraught.  The IV drugs my mum has administered during her treatment are aggressive on her body and after 4 continued cycles and a 9 hour major operation, has had a cumulative effect which is draining and tiring.  I recently read a humorous story posted on line which describes chemotherapy and cancer perfectly.  I haven't been able to find the source to link directly to it so I'm re-posting it here.  I'd be interested to know who the original creator is.


One day, you’re minding your own business, you open the fridge to get some breakfast, and OH MY GOD THERE’S A MOUNTAIN LION IN YOUR FRIDGE.
So you take off running, and the mountain lion is right behind you. You know the only thing that can kill a mountain lion is a bear, and the only bear is on top of the mountain, so you better find that bear. You start running up the mountain in hopes of finding the bear. Your friends desperately want to help, but they are powerless against mountain lions, as mountain lions are godless killing machines. But they really want to help, so they’re cheering you on and bringing you paper cups of water and orange slices as you run up the mountain and yelling at the mountain lion - “GET LOST, MOUNTAIN LION, NO ONE LIKES YOU” - and you really appreciate the support, but the mountain lion is still coming.
Also, for some reason, there’s someone in the crowd who’s yelling “that’s not really a mountain lion, it’s a puma” and another person yelling “I read that mountain lions are allergic to kale, have you tried rubbing kale on it?”
As you’re running up the mountain, you see other people fleeing their own mountain lions. Some of the mountain lions seem comparatively wimpy - they’re half grown and only have three legs or whatever, and you think to yourself - why couldn’t I have gotten one of those mountain lions? But then you look over at the people who are fleeing mountain lions the size of a monster truck with huge prehistoric saber fangs, and you feel like an asshole for even thinking that - and besides, who in their right mind would want to fight a mountain lion, even a three-legged one?
Finally, the person closest to you, whose job it is to take care of you - maybe a parent or sibling or best friend or, in my case, my husband - comes barging out of the woods and jumps on the mountain lion, whaling on it and screaming “GODDAMMIT MOUNTAIN LION, STOP TRYING TO EAT MY WIFE,” and the mountain lion punches your husband right in the face. Now your husband (or whatever) is rolling around on the ground clutching his nose, and he’s bought you some time, but you still need to get to the top of the mountain.
Eventually you reach the top, finally, and the bear is there. Waiting. For both of you. You rush right up to the bear, and the bear rushes the mountain lion, but the bear has to go through you to get to the mountain lion, and in doing so, the bear TOTALLY KICKS YOUR ASS, but not before it also punches your husband in the face. And your husband is now staggering around with a black eye and bloody nose, and saying “can I get some help, I’ve been punched in the face by two apex predators and I think my nose is broken,” and all you can say is “I’M KIND OF BUSY IN CASE YOU HADN’T NOTICED I’M FIGHTING A MOUNTAIN LION.”
Then, IF YOU ARE LUCKY, the bear leaps on the mountain lion and they are locked in epic battle until finally the two of them roll off a cliff edge together, and the mountain lion is dead.
Maybe. You’re not sure - it fell off the cliff, but mountain lions are crafty. It could come back at any moment.
And all your friends come running up to you and say “that was amazing! You’re so brave, we’re so proud of you! You didn’t die! That must be a huge relief!”
Meanwhile, you blew out both your knees, you’re having an asthma attack, you twisted your ankle, and also you have been mauled by a bear. And everyone says “boy, you must be excited to walk down the mountain!” And all you can think as you stagger to your feet is “fuck this mountain, I never wanted to climb it in the first place.”

This describes our journey perfectly and I can tell you that we are currently at the steep incline approaching the top of the mountain.  The 4-5 days after chemo are difficult for my mum in terms of energy levels and fatigue.  She was exhausted to say the least.  I won't lie, when I'm at work or watching tv and I hear someone complain about how tired they are from staying up all night or have a sniffly cold, I feel my blood boil.  Fatigue is for my mum, having to sit on the sofa and look into space with no distraction .  Lack of energy is having to pull yourself up the last stairs because you don't have the energy to walk up a staircase.  Tiredness is not talking because it takes too much energy to form a sentence in your brain.  But there was no admittance into hospital and for that we are sincerely grateful for.  This feeling lasted approximately 5 days.  My mum is typically like other mother's, she does not like to lie in bed all day and does what she can, when she can so there is always some movement from her, alebit slow.  There is still some neuropathy in her fingers and toes even though the dosage was reduced for chemo #5 and when we saw her oncologist, for a follow up, the doctor confirmed her dosage would continue to be reduced.  Chemo #5 has also been a time when we have started to talk about "life after chemo".  There have been two amazing days out that I want to dedicate to separate blog posts as I want to cherish the memories.  A few months ago, a few weeks ago, days out were a distant dream but 2 days out during cycle #5 have shown vast improvements in my mum's confidence.  Health care providers are great at follow up care in terms of physio, follow up appointments but have completely missed the damage that hospital admissions, treatment, an incurable illness can have on confidence.  



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