Could it possibly be that I can spy a tiny wee glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel? I am now 60% of the way through my radiotherapy treatment and it seems to have given me a bit of a psychological boost. It was helped by the fact that when I saw the consultant, as I do every Friday, he said my mouth and throat were very good compared to how patients usually are at this stage (all I can say to that is, I really, really pity them, because my mouth and throat are achingly raw) - somehow, that made me feel better too. I mentioned that I am having trouble sleeping and he gave me some sleeping tablets to try - I am not a fan of sleeping tablets but I must admit, I took one last night and slept straight away and like a log, so I shall continue to use them while I feel I need to. We talked about my skin (red but I'm doing the right thing by massaging it with E45) , my dry mouth and gloopy saliva (not much to do at this stage other than keep sipping iced water) and my difficulty eating - he recommended taking a couple of painkillers half an hour before eating to see if that helped.
The nausea is still there but I haven't been sick for over a week, although there has been a lot of what we call in Scotland "the dry boak" - where you retch and retch and, painful though it is, nothing comes up. It's a classic example of putting in a lot of effort for no result!
Anyway, back to yesterday. Came back from hospital, had a rest and then Neil was off work in the afternoon so the two of us went down into town, because for once I felt hungry so we thought we should capitalise on it and have lunch. We sat in the sun outside our local Italian and I had a few forksful of risotto and a couple of mouthfuls of spaghetti carbonara - tasty and filling. I had lost just over 3 kilos over the past week so I guess my stomach has got used to having a bit less food. I wouldn't recommend the radiotherapy diet to anybody, though - it's a bit drastic! Today all I have been able to eat is a few mouthfuls of ice-cream (Ben and Jerry's Strawberry Cheesecake, I think) - normally I am not an ice-cream fan, but it slips down easily and soothes my throat.
It was our son's birthday yesterday but we couldn't do the usual thing of going out for a family meal because I wasn't up to a chatty, family meal out, so he ended up doing his thing with his friends, our daughter did an overnight babysit and Neil and I stayed in watching tv. I feel guilty that my illness and treatment are having such a huge impact on our family life. I couldn't even get out to buy birthday presents for our son but had to ask our daughter to pick up things for him. I know it's not the end of the world but it is one more example of how things I used to view as normal are anything but at the moment.
Still, and to get back to the opening thoughts, I can finally see a bit of light at the end of what is a very long tunnel. It's a wee speck at the moment, but it will get closer and bigger over the next couple of weeks. Why, this time next week I will be in single figures! Then it's a romp towards the finish line. In Marathon terms, Monday is my Mile 17 moment, so my Runners World pom-pom wavers are gearing themselves up for a virtual shake and shimmy :-) In honour of the occasion, I shall wear my Runners' Arms t-shirt to hospital on Monday. For those of you thinking of running a marathon, I can highly recommend the Mile 17 pink champagne stop, inaugurated at Flora London Marathon in 2007 and repeated every year since - the last 9.2 miles just fly by! I can't have the pink fizz this time, but I can definitely have the pom-pom shaking!!