March 9th, 2017 by Janine


IMG 1377 225x300 - Chemo Wk 1 – Part 2 – Piss Taker and Junkie

Medical Update:

FISH test – Myeloma cytogenetic analysis is an examination of the bone marrow cells to look for chromosome abnormalities.  It can be an indicator of likely worse response to treatment and lower life expectancy.


More low down:

Who knew cancer could be fun? Yes, it’s a whirlwind and it’s also a completely new project.  I always love the beginning of a project.  It’s the middle bit that’s hardest. Though somehow, I normally always find a way to deliver because non-delivery doesn’t really wash with me.  So, I have a new project: Understanding and Managing Multiple Myeloma.  I’m certainly not bored, there is so much to learn, do, research and action.  Using my brain and academic skills to work out a plan for handling this stuff feels great.  As Chemo continues, I add to my knowledge of how the clinical trial team works, how my Chemo works and how to get what I need from the hospital and hospital teams.

One of the questions that several friends have already asked is “how is Multiple Myeloma different from Leukemia?”.  Watch this space, I’ll do a separate post on this soon!

It’s been a funny old first week of treatment, especially trying to fill a ginormous container with my urine over a twenty-four-hour period and then, because I am not allowed to carry anything heavy, watching Steff literally ‘take the piss’ up to hospital for me!  Good to get rid of that, though urine seems to be a theme for the latter half of the week. I end up having to go to the loo every few minutes and begin to suspect I have a bladder infection. Oh yay.  Then when blood turns up in my urine too, I panic and think sh*t ‘this is not the start I wanted’; I said ‘smooth’ Universe please.  My first week of chemo is meant to be ‘smooth’!!

Thinking about the blood, I start to wonder if I had overdone the Tumeric.  After all, I had gone from barely using the stuff, to shoving it into everything because it is supposedly one of the best things you can do for yourself when fighting cancer.  (I’ll do a separate post re Nutrition later).  The previous day I’d added Tumeric to a green smoothie, drunk two Tumeric Almond Milk lattes and then had more in a curry.  I wasn’t in any pain when peeing, (phew) but the stream of red was rather disconcerting.

Anyway, it turned out Tumeric had nothing to do with it and I had managed to pick up an e-coli bug.  Lovely. Not.  Under instructions, I double my anti-biotic dose.  Still I was strangely relieved that Tumeric wasn’t the culprit.  The new Tumeric Almond lattes were meeting my need for a warm hot drink when out and about.  I have given up coffee and there are only so many mint teas you can drink before feeling like a herb.

I laughed when I got a Whatsapp message from Dad which was signed off ‘Live’ instead of ‘Love’.  Even good old auto text was getting in on this Cancer game.  Found myself singing to myself this morning, in a vaguely Nashville twang…”I’m killing cancer cells and saying sorry to the good cells that have to go with them”.

Discovered that two of my drugs are sitting in Lactose, something I’ve avoided for an age because I have been intolerant since a baby.  If I drink a glass of milk I end up with instant cold, phlegm and other nasties.  I talk to my consultant about alternatives but he’s keen for me to hang in there with them if I can; I resign myself to having a runny nose every day.  I do love some of the other drugs, especially the steroids.  Waking up with energy is such a novel experience for me.

Waiting to go into my second Chemo session, I send an email to a friend about all the great things to do and places to go in Italy near Naples and the Amalfi coast.  Fun reminiscing and good pre-Chemo therapy!


I start thinking about the lessons I learnt from when I experienced a road traffic accident (RTA) years earlier (an unlicensed driver drove into me from behind, pinning me from the thigh down under his car while I was on my moped and stopped at a red light).  I had rushed back to work far too soon after the accident and worried about everything else except healing.  I decided that would not be the case this time.  This is the time for self-care, self-compassion, for allowing time to receive treatment and recover from it.  This is also the time to ask for help (another thing I did not do during recovery from the RTA).

Who do I want to be through this Cancer journey?  How might this change as the journey continues, gets harder?  I feel Psyched UP.  I don’t feel like a fighter or like I’m in a battle – I don’t really relate to or like those words.  I feel accepting, practical yet intolerant of anything other than managing this well and giving my body the best chance to overcome this challenge.  I reaffirm I want to be clever, clear and calm through this, for as many days as possible, for as long as I can, because right now that is what feels right.

I pick up the fantastic book Mindfulness for Health: A Practical Guide to Relieving Pain, Reducing Stress and Restoring Wellbeing by Dr. Danny Penman and Vidyamala Burch.  I have often used this successfully when working with my own clients.  I search for great visualisation and meditation tracks on you tube.  I download Headspace, the mindfulness app.

End of week one

A social end to the week.  Catch up with lots of lovelies from my psychology programme and receive an amazing goodie bag including a mermaid blanket!  I manage to go the gym.  Exercise feels good.  I feel good, happy; like a 70s hippy on Quaaludes.  Then I noticed the bruises and tracks on my arm and laugh.  Other gym goers who may have noticed me stretching left right and centre probably think I’m a junkie!

IMG 1395 300x225 - Chemo Wk 1 – Part 2 – Piss Taker and Junkie

© 2017 Janine Hayward  All rights reserved.

Posted in Chemotherapy for Myeloma, Psychology for Cancer Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,