It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost two weeks since my first cycle of chemo. I’m still relieved to say I haven’t had any side effects. I noticed that I get a little more tired lately but that can easily have something to do with the weather as well as not sleeping a full seven hours most nights. So far also, I haven’t noticed any hair loss. For someone who loves washing their hair every day, it’s been tough switching to every three days. But it means that washing my hair is now quite a treat. Always a matter of perspective.
I had my first post-chemo blood test done this morning. Since this is the period of time where the immune system typically dips to its lowest, I was very curious to see how my white blood cells were doing. Many people who are going through similar experiences have said that it made them distrust their bodies. Especially those people who were living healthy lives, eating well, exercising etc. and yet their bodies still developed and didn’t pick up on abnormal cells.
I wouldn’t say that I totally distrust my body now. I’ve always been very body aware, which is part of the reason I thought something was not quite right when I first went for a check up but I do understand the notion of not trusting your body completely anymore. So with that in mind, I had no idea what to expect about my blood tests.
An hour later, a nurse came to review the results. Turns out that my white blood cell count is super high. It was 5 pre-chemo and is now at 12.9. This is of course partly due to the injection I had a week ago to boost the creation of white blood cells but according to the nurse, some people still experience a massive dip in the count during this particular time in the cycle. Very glad. It’s the little things these days I feel like celebrating and this is one of those.
It also means that I can trust myself about feeling good, feeling physically strong and mentally positive. We then had a chat about side effects. I wanted to know whether this experience after the first cycle is a good indication for what is to come during the 2nd, 3rd or 4th cycles and she said that yes, this was the case but that the drugs of course accumulate over a period of time. I also asked about hair loss. She said that without scalp cooling, most people start to lose their hair on this particular regime around two weeks after the first cycle. With scalp cooling, it varies so much from person to person. Some people keep all their hair over the course of the cycles, some people have some hair loss etc. Anyway, I guess I have to sit tight and stay positive. I had Reiki today and it felt like a very intense session. Struggled to stay away during some of it but felt that I experienced some things on a very deep level. Relaxed and quite tired after that.
So, it’s been a good week. My emotions have been a little up and down now and then but mostly up. I got fed up with my slow juicer (45mins for one glass of juice) and bought a Nutribullet. Having read up on juicers, I know that ideally the juice should be separated from the pulp and pressed slowly to preserve the enzymes but I figured that some juicing is better than none and if I can quickly prepare a green juice every morning before leaving the house, it’s better than no juice. Plus, it’s much easier, more fun and actually some of their recipes tastes really good – I like the consistency, even with vege like kale and spinach it’s drinkable and tasty.
I went to see the College of Natural Medicine (CNM) for a chat about their acupuncture course. As much as I would love to start in March/ April, I feel like I need some time to unwind, travel and some time off without having to worry about attendance levels and exams. It’s something I will look at again for a September start. This particular course combines acupuncture with naturopathy and I like that it has a broader feel to it than some other acupuncture courses out there. If I can coordinate studies with work, I should be able to complete it in around four years time.
Something about this experience is pulling me towards approaching health for others in a different way. There’s something missing in conventional medicine today. Everything seems blinkered and focused on cause and effect, fixing, patching, removing without addressing root causes or other relating factors. I can imagine running a small place somewhere by the water in future, somewhere peaceful people go to, somewhere they’re listened to, somewhere they feel well, feel good energy. Maybe with a relaxed café/ lounge bar next to it. Somewhere atmospheric both by nature but also designed to provide a completely chilled-out atmosphere. Good music – goes without saying.
In the meantime, I need to schedule some trips to have things to look forward to. The New York Times recently published its 52 Places to go in 2016, some beautiful photos and definitely inspiration. Talking of photos, I’d like to see if I can start some kind of photography project even if it’s just a collection for myself for the time being. We’ve seen some stunning sunrises and sunsets over the past week in London. Grateful for all these moments, for feeling good and for all the new experiences gained.