Ever tried to climb out of a ball pit? You scramble about with the grace of a baby elephant and just when you think you’ve made it out your foot slips and you fall back in! You are probably thinking what has this got to do with a blog about cancer. Well the ball pit analogy describes how I feel about my treatment at the moment. I can see the end goal but it keeps moving slightly out of reach, I get near the top of the ball pit but I keep falling back in!
I should be at the end of cycle 6 but I haven’t even begun it yet, the first delay was due to my red blood cell count being extremely low resulting in me receiving 2 pints of blood via a transfusion to boost my chemo induced anaemia. I am extremely grateful that I could receive this transfusion thanks to blood donors, I have now received which I think is karma for being a donor that ultimately saved my life! Please donate if you are able to❤️. The following week my red blood count had increased by my platelets were too low so once again treatment was delayed. It’s such a blow every time treatment is delayed and it takes it toll mentally as well as the physical effects that the chemo is having on my body. Delays are quite common especially toward the end of treatment as the body gets tired of cumulative effect of all the toxic drugs. This is why your blood is checked before every cycle to keep monitoring how the body is coping.
I also feel a lot of guilt that I have a moment of self pity regarding my delays, there are cancer patients out there that don’t have an end date for treatment and they will be on chemo or some form of treatment indefinitely as maintenance for advanced cancer. I only have 8 cycles to go through, don’t get me wrong it’s tough as hell but there are people going through 20-30 plus cycles, numerous operations and procedures. So yes I have my down days as I have to cancel plans and rub out dates on the calendar and the end moves that bit further away. But I allow myself to feel what I need to as it’s relevant to me and my life and on World Mental Health Day I want to say it’s ok not to be ok, sit with those feelings but then get up and ask them to leave. If you are newly diagnosed or even been on the chemo journey a while there is a wealth of support out there. The online community on Bowel Cancer UK website is a great source of information and support. Similarly Macmillan can point you in the direction of support in your area. Today I had confirmation that my counselling through the charity ‘coping with cancer’ can start in a couple of weeks and it’s come at a good time. Whatever you are going through there is always someone willing to listen whether it’s a friend down the pub, a family member or a professional but don’t suffer in silence, talking about our mental health should become a normal conversation without taboo, progress is being made through some amazing awareness with charities such as Heads Together but it’s up to us to open up. As I’ve said before this blog is my outlet and it really helps but it will never replace human conversation with my nearest and dearest. Have a wonderful day 😘