Friday, January 28, 2011

Short term pain for long term gain

I had an expectation and hope that maybe I will be one of the lucky ones and waltz through chemo with minimal side effects, but alas no. I have found chemo to be very tough and debilitating. The process of sitting in hospital for three days literally being pumped full with toxic chemicals was bearable. The following days were horrid and I think I ticked the box on most side effects. I didn't enjoy lossing abilities and sometimes control and felt I had regressed. I found it hard to stay positive and struggled to maintain that there was a good and therapeutic part with the treatment. In my chemo affected brain I just felt poisoned and pretty low, at one point I had a visual image of a soldier poisoned in the war planning to go AWOL. In fairness the positive does turn back on and for me within 2 or 3 days things started slowly getting better, drinking and eating started to get easier, the nausea reduced and eventually headaches stopped. After about 7 to 10 days from discharge I started feeling OK and apart from being very tired was relatively and progressively started to get better and better to your near normal. Chemo affects the brain and at times causing confusion and memory loss, now a couple of weeks on I can't actually remember what it was like and in many ways this makes it easier facing the next cycle.

Chemo affects everyone differently plus there are many different regimes, some less of more intensive. My experience will not be your experience.

This week we had a very positive meeting with our sarcoma specialist and he was very pleased with all the test results and my progress to date. My body is responding well to the treatment recommended and is eradicating the cancer from my body. So when in the thick of treatment and when not enjoying a specific procedure I need to think of the incremental value and that I am winning this war.


  1. It's great that you seem to be making good process, despite the shit Can't wait to buy you a beer sometime and hear your stories about how you beat Synovial Sarcoma.

  2. Keep fighting Gary!! We can't help you to beat it, but there's a lot of us praying for you. You'll beat this sucker.

  3. I still have some chemo brain. At art school I learnt about an artist in Glasgow who had memory loss and he used to begin each day by painting a layer of paint on a patch on the he had a start the day pattern. How romantic I thought. Now, as I find huge holes in my thinking and am suprised by something I am later told I have actually seen before I don't think romantic is quite the descriptor!! Anyway now the kind folk at home leave post it labels to remind me to do things...empty the bucket, feed the chickens, go to Wu Dao on Tuesday etc. But to help deal with so much loss and keep positive at times on chemo I imagined myself in a worse scenario. War came to mind for me too and I rationalised it would be worse for me to be in a POW camp and be isolated from family and friends or have had harm come to them. Then I could focus on the good stuff, the support and love from others which healed me on days when I did not have the strength to heal myself or indeed muster up the strength to get off the couch!

  4. Thanks for the supporting comments team. I managed to another and unexpected day in hospital yesterday, just a small infection in arm that district nurse was conceded about, they wanted to admit me overnight but we did a runner and it is looking a lot better this morning.

    Lynn, thanks for all your support and tips they have been really helpful. I also loved the DVD it's great hearing about other peoples cancer stories and how they endured the tough times, and not just survived but flourished. Congrats for finishing your treatment, hopping and praying that all your tests are clear and this is the end of your cancer journey. Looking forward to seeing all the inspired artwork that will follow.

  5. Keep going Gary. I agree with Norman, if anyone can beat this sucker it is you! We are watching your progress from Sydney and it is great to hear that your Specialist is pleased with your progress. Our thoughts are with you all the way.

  6. A friend had this quote on her facebook page, so copied it, I like it. ‎"Be patient and tough; one day this pain will be useful to you. — Perfer et obdura; dolor hic tibi proderit olim" -Ovid


Thanks for your comments Gaz