This Too Shall Pass

This last chemo session, only the second one of 12 has been wave after wave of relentless nausea during the last week.  It has ranged from what felt like mild motion sickness, just wafting around in the background, to  almost losing the last thing I had eaten.   It has been most unpleasant!  The anti-nausea tablets have been difficult to keep down and I will speak to the Chemo Nurse on Thursday to ask if they can prescribe me another brand.

My sense of smell has heightened to a level beyond my imagination.   I had two beautiful bouquets of flowers for my birthday and had to remove them from the lounge as the water in the vases, despite replacing it daily, hit me as I entered the room and made me gag.   The flowers didn’t smell too wonderful either – how sad.

Conversely my taste buds have plummeted in the other direction and everything has a peculiar taste and texture of cardboard.  Food has to be quite highly spiced for it to make any mark.   Even drinking caused a problem.   I am suppose to have 8 glasses of fluid a day, which proved tough when there is nothing to drink guaranteed not to make me feel nauseous.   Plain water sat heavy and even the Canada Dry Ginger Ale which did go down a treat was not working.  The green tea I had taken a liking to now tastes foul.   I am going to buy a bottle of Elderflower cordial with the hope that will hit the spot.   I am writing this on Day 12 and into my 5 free chemo days so feeling a lot better.

This brings me to This too shall pass a phrase to become my mantra.

My eldest daughter, Lizie, gave me a beautiful bracelet for my birthday with two engravings on the silver heart:

“This Too Shall Pass”  and “You are Loved” on the other side.

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This phrase is part of a proverb with the meaning that everything, good or bad, is temporary.    I will hold on the fact that everything bad is temporary.

The story behind the phrase goes that one day King Solomon said to his most trusted minister, “There is a ring that I want you to bring to me”.

“If it exists anywhere on earth, your majesty,” replied his minister, “I will find it and bring it to you,

“It has magic powers,” said the king. “If a happy man looks at it, he becomes sad, and if a sad man looks at it, he becomes happy.”

After many months Solomon said “Well, my friend have you found what I sent you after?”   The minister held up a small gold ring and declared, “Here it is, your majesty!”  As soon as Solomon read the inscription, he realized that all his wisdom and fabulous wealth and tremendous power were but fleeting things, for one day he would be nothing but dust.

This is a very famous phrase with a lot of history.   I  found a number of poems entitled “This Too Shall Pass” one of which was written by the American poet Helen Steiner Rice (May 19, 1900 – April 23, 1981) which I found hit at particular note.   I hope, if you have not seen this before, you will find this of comfort too when needed.

If I can endure for this minute
Whatever is happening to me,
No matter how heavy my heart is
Or how dark the moment may be-

If I can remain calm and quiet
With all the world crashing about me,
Secure in the knowledge God loves me
When everyone else seems to doubt me-

If I can but keep on believing
What I know in my heart to be true,
That darkness will fade with the morning
And that this will pass away, too-

Then nothing in life can defeat me
For as long as this knowledge remains
I can suffer whatever is happening
For I know God will break all of the chains

That are binding me tight in the darkness
And trying to fill me with fear-
For there is no night without dawning
And I know that my morning is near.

…Helen Steiner Rice

Friday Flowers 12 July 2013

Without an apology… more cornflowers!

These appear to be in abundance in my wildflower/cutting flower patch.   There is also a variety selection of poppies but they are not out yet.   You may remember that I mixed together half used seed packets from last year, which were from www.higgledygarden.com along with some other odds and ends.   I scattered these over the raised bed and just waited to see what happened, and this is what it looks like at the moment.   The Penstemon “Pensham Laura” are in a separate little bed at the front of the raised bed and were from www.crocus.co.uk

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Because it was a mix there was no sorting out of heights so the Cosmos, Calendula and Californian poppies are tucked in amongst the exceptionally tall cornflowers.  Just realised that it is a bed full of plants starting with the letter C!

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I know I used the cornflowers on Silent Sunday but they were macros, this is what they look like all together, with a frothy edging of Gypsophila.

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As this is intended to be full of flowers to cut and bring indoors, check out this little posy.

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A  chemo update:

I started my chemotherapy regime yesterday, Thursday 11 July.  It will be 12 x 2 weekly sessions and all being well with nothing postponed due to ill effects, the last one will be 12 December, a date marked in colour on the calendar.

Day one is a visit to the Day Unit at the local hospital for an IV infusion which should take 2 to 3 hours.   Unfortunately this first chemo fell on a date when no one was able to come with me.   This was no great issue because I soon realised this was something I wanted to do on my own and then I would know the ropes.   Friends have the next dates in their diaries so I will have company in the future.  It also gave me the opportunity to have a jolly good cry on arrival, something I could do easily without having to be brave and cheerful all the time.

When I am very nervous my hands go cold and this affected the veins in my arms.   Despite warming my left arm with a heated pad and several abortive attempts they had to resort to plunging my arms in hot water for 1o minutes.  Eventually they found a vein to insert the cannula and we were off.    Its peculiar stuff, Oxaliplatin, the main side effect being peripheral neuropathy and it kicked in quite fast.   I had cramp on and off in my hand and the skin on my arm was (and still is) very tender to touch.  People assure me this wears off after a few days, until the next time, when it can take longer.  I left the hospital with enough anti-sickness medications of one kind or another to stock a chemist, plus my chemo tablets, Capecitabine, to be taken twice a day for 9 days.  I have 5 free chemo days and return to the hospital on 25 July for session 2.  It won’t be long before I am in single figures, as my youngest daughter cheerfully told me last night.

I soon discovered how peripheral neuropathy can affect you.   On returning home I took milk out of the fridge and it felt like taking ice cubes out of the freezer.   This is clearly why everything and everyone in the know suggests having oven gloves by the fridge.  The second discovery was that drinking anything cold feels as though you are drinking pins, so it’s warm or hot drinks from now.   This chemo lark is a learning curve and breaking habits of a life time.   I found out this morning, not to drink the last of a cup of tea because it has probably gone cold and the drinking pins effect cuts in.

So far, so good though.  It is early days but I am not going to sit around waiting for side effects.  I am feeling slightly nauseous at the moment but that could be because it’s lunchtime and I am hungry, so I am off for some lunch.

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