As I’ve mentioned on this blog I had a bit of a run in with Lymphoma back in 2006/2007. Well here we are and ten years have passed so what’s changed in this time? LOTS! But more importantly what has changed within me, the survivor?
Well I’m cancer free, and I have issues related to my treatment that have effected me both physically and mentally. It’s more of the mental health that are my biggest problems.
I have issues with certain parts of the treatment I received, namely Radiotherapy and the high dose of Methotrexate. It was the latter that causes me the most trouble. But why? this is the question that plagues me still. There’s no logic in why I feel the way I do, but if the mind was this simple to question then my issues wouldn’t exist! The issue of Radiotherapy isn’t one of a mental issue but that of a physical. I suffered from burns to my tongue, throat and neck, and the healing of these wounds took longer than it would if my body wasn’t so run down. Today the effects of those burns has affected my taste due to about 2/3rd of my taste buds being removed!
All through this I’d lost my ability to smell, I originally thought it was due to the necrotic tissue that had physically blocked my nose. However several months post radiotherapy and my nose had almost cleared up, but not a hint of my sense of smell was going to return any time soon. 😡
Then finally in 2013 we got around to doing what was planned for 2006! (but only one!)
Gosh how time passes quickly, as it didn’t seem that long ago that I was on the front line for treatment. How I dreaded each chemotherapy session due to both the physical side effects as well as the mental breakdown within me as time passed. All the trouble I had after the 2nd, 3rd & 4th cycles of chemo when my remaining immune system was falling criticality low that required hospitalisation. Then the news after the 4th chemo session I relapsed and the cancer tumours started to expand causing my face to be stretched and the intense pain associated with this. Then to be subjected to 6 weeks of radiotherapy (a delicate procedure due to the location) Having a fibreglass mold of my face created as to hold me in the correct position when placed under the linear actuator so that the cancer was hit and not anything else. Also losing weight (almost 1/4 of my body weight) and the associated feeling of being weak and also feeling the cold weather conditions like I was exposed in -20°C without the appropriate clothing! Dealing with the high dose of Methotrexate that all up had me hospitalised for almost 11 weeks in total…
Jump forward to now…
Out of work (disability pension) low self esteem, not good in large crowds and elevated anxiety (something I never had trouble with) long periods of depression with flashbacks of certain procedures that were either painful or generally not pleasant. That continuous question… Why did I survive?
Clearly the latter is the worst part of all as it consumes me, sometimes to the point of… Well you can make your own opinion of that!
So sometimes it’s hard to be truly happy that I’m a cancer survivor (although those who are close to me share a completely different view) Certainly the person who I once saw in the mirror has changed considerably from the one I knew prior to all of this..!