Continuing progress

The last few days with the really high levels of heat have made keeping hydrated quite hard work, but so saying that, I seem to have managed better than in the past. Perhaps this is a case of just having more experience of dealing with it, or perhaps it’s just that I’ve been more concerned about the problem, and hence much more careful. Either way, I don’t seem to have had quite such a bad experience – I’ve been able to get to sleep each night (although up a couple of times each night, which is a nusciance) and during the day I still seem to have been able to get on with life, although I’ve been very strict over food/drink/medicines and keeping out of the sun as much as possible.

Having Wimbledon (and the Murray mania) to watch in the afternoons has been a big help, as that’s provided a good distraction during the hottest part of the day. I’ve also curtailed my exercise programme, and will pick up on the cycling again sometime this coming week once the effects start to diminish from the IV medications. I’ll still have the tablet-based chemotherapy medicines to cope with, but they don’t seem to induce quite such severe effects as the IV does. Perhaps that’s because I have to have the IV in a single hit, whereas the tablets are fed into me more gradually.

Meanwhile the tiredness is still there, and definitely worse than in previous cycles, though being able to actually get more sleep this time seems to make it more manageable. The lesson there looks like I just need to be more rigorous in managing my food/drink/medicines than I have in the past. In short, do exactly as I’m told, and not to improvise too much 🙂

The peripheral neuropathy has also definitely been worse than on previous cycles. It affected both my throat and fingers/hands this time. So, drinking a cold drink (lovely in this current weather) just hasn’t really been possible. It feels like I’m drinking an icy slush – most peculiar – and then makes my larynx contract, which makes me wheeze and my breathing less easy. Thank goodness for cups of Earl Grey tea which are refreshing, but still hot! Touching cold things with my fingers has actually been painful this cycle, and when forced to carry cold objects (milk from the fridge, for example) I quickly lost any sensation of how much grip I was actually applying. For a short distance the solution was simply to apply more “grip” than normal, but over long distances I suspect I would have started dropping things as the normal sensory feedback was overcome by the pain in the fingers.

The hiccoughs have turned out to be both worse and better than on previous cycles. The attacks have been much more severe when I’ve had them, but they seem to have been both less frequent, and much much shorter. On balance, I think I prefer it this way; it still leaves me time to get on with life, and actually sleep at night, whereas the continuous 4, 5, or 6 hour attacks I had on previous cycles just wore me down, especially when they ran right through the night. And again, I can tell that these are caused by the IV medicines – already after 5 days, the hiccoughs are starting to reduce a little in intensity. Hopefully another couple of days and I’ll be free of them.

So, on balance, it’s been better than I was initially expecting, though that’s possibly because I’ve been religious about keeping myself to a rigid routine that doesn’t make it worse for myself. And so far, maybe that’s the lesson to take forward from this cycle.

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