Today was my sixteenth zap of radiotherapy, fourteen to go. On Wednesday I have a sleepover in the Western for my second and last chemo. I’ve been feeling ok, not doing anything really, resting and some gentle pottering about the house, well, nobody dusts my Goblets but me! Actually, nobody else ever dusts in this house! My Goblets do look a bit stoory, but they can keep.
I've been sitting with purpose, now that Mel has a granddaughter, I've dug out my knitting patterns, one wee pink cardi done, a white lacy matinee jacket and matching bonnet done, now I working on a lilac cardi with daisies embroidered up the front, the last time I did these it was for Erin nearly eighteen years ago.
I have deliberately been taking it easy, reserving my strength for the last haul, also I don’t want my blood count to go down, if it does, my treatment will be postponed and I don’t want that.
Over the last couple of weeks when the doctor looked in my mouth, she could see it looked a bit raw with a couple of ulcers, the radiation causes this, and asked how many painkillers I'm taking. I answered none, she replied that I would be soon, and when I saw the dietician she said the same. I still haven’t felt the need to take any but I will when I feel it’s necessary. They don’t know me or that I have honed my discomfort management skills over nine WHW’s, five 24hour races, around thirty “wee” ultras and over thirty marathons. Also it’s not the level of pain that matters but the way you think about it. When running you can’t expect to reach the finish without some physical grief, it’s all part of the adventure. In 2007 my first thought when I heard that Jane Tomlinson had passed away was “pain is a luxury for the living” and when completing the luxury of a big ultra, the more pain the more alive I have felt, it is a privilege. The discomfort from my treatment is good, it is all part of the curing process.
At the start I compared my treatment to running a big ultra and on Friday Pauline said “That’s you coming in Tyndrum.” I totally disagreed, running the WHW isn’t easy but it is loads more fun. This is different and I'm using all the skills I've learnt through running, like eating when you don’t feel like it. Eating is a chore and a lot of things now have an awful metallic taste, coffee is ok but tea is only ok if I put sugar in, something I would never normally do, everything has to be soft, but I'm making sure I'm getting all the nutrition I can, if I want my body to be strong it has to be fuelled even if it takes me an hour to eat a bowl of pasta! Soup is a favourite, although I’ve always made my own, I’m also buying cartons of fresh soup for variety, is it just me but when I make a pot of soup there’s usually enough to feed the street. I'm restricted with fruit, it nips a bit, the last time I had a glass of fresh orange juice it felt and tasted like a mouthful of barbed wire. I was told I would lose weight and it is part of the challenge to prove them wrong.
My treatment should finish on the 31st May and I have a goal for soon after, I entered the Skye half marathon months ago and it’s on the 8th of June, just a week after. I might be cutting it fine but I don’t doubt my determination, I won’t be daft and if I'm not able to do it I won’t but if I can walk/jog it in around three hours or so I will. I've been going up for it since 1993 and in 2005 it was very special, it took me around two and half hours that day, it was my 100th half marathon and just seven weeks after I had the brain haemorrhage and hopefully this year will be just as special.
I will look after myself well for the next three weeks; Pete is doing a grand job too. I want to get to the end in the best shape I can, I'm going for a knock-out in the final round.
Hands up, chin down.