The dark days of the double chemo are over and the subsequent first single cure (number 8 in the series of 12) is now active in my body. Sometime at the end of September, the last course of chemotherapy will be administered, after which an MRI and CT will determine what this long series has brought. At the end of next week, at my request, an exploratory consultation will take place with one of the surgeons. Although we still have no idea which interventions can be useful from a medical point of view, I would like to review some if-then scenarios. I suspect that the impact of some scenarios can be large and it helps me to take time to prepare myself.
Meanwhile, I’m walking on clouds. One of the known side effects of this chemo process is neuropathy: toes, soles and fingers can tingle, become numb or painful and the scalp can suffer from cold. In some patients the effect has been shown to be temporary, in others permanent. The soles of my feet were the first to act, they started to tingle cheerfully, and I am now also starting to notice it in my fingertips. Not a problem in itself, as long as it stays at this level. The prospect of mobility problems due to the lack of feedback from the soles of the feet and especially not being able to type properly or play the viola worries me a lot. There is no acknowledged cure for it except delaying chemotherapy or lowering the dose. However, both trump cards had already been used for me because of the low blood values. I am therefore happy with the support of the pain specialist in my network who is exploring a new approach with me.
It is becoming clear that in this special year, with the help of a growing team of all kinds of inspired experts, I am learning more and more about the miraculous and ingenious workings of the gifted body and our mind – and about the cooperation between the two. The reason may not be pretty, but it is fascinating and meaningful.
Although the content of my days is currently strongly influenced by treatments that may or may not take place, I start the day in a fixed way, namely with a warm greeting to the last two lashes on my right eyelid. These black hairs, which I have come to call Harry and Harriet, have been ignoring the chemo for months and are stubbornly staying in their place. They seem to want to confirm the sweet messages on all the cards, presents and apps I still get (thanks!!!): i.e. ‘hang in there, we’re in this with you’.