Updated: Oct 12, 2020
I'm not going to lie. I thought I would skoosh chemotherapy and be able to continue with my daily life. Work, referee and even on occasion go out - however, we were about to see just how wrong I was.
As with all of my major life events, I need to have a Nando's at some point to settle the nerves. On Sunday 4th August, I decided to do just that. That night I was surrounded by 15 of the best boys you could ask for, and it is a day that will last long in the memory. We even got a good garlic bread day - not one of those days its rock hard and burnt! Result! Shame, Binnie got shown up by Matthew and couldn't finish his full platter...
On Tuesday 6th August, I rocked up at the oncology ward prepared to take on the world. They put a cannula (a thin tube) under my skin to give me the chemo through. It took around four hours, and I received four drugs;
I was also onto a winner with ABVD as it means my hair would only thin, and I would get to keep the majority of it.
I successfully navigated through the four hours and was feeling remarkably well, albeit a horrendous shade of green and with a painful arse from the Bleomycin injection. I got home and had some chicken dippers, followed by a trip to Falkirk with my old man - it looked like my plan to get on with life was a go! I took a short nap that afternoon and when I awoke that's when everything started to go wrong...
"Chemo" is such a horrible word. Its sound is harsh to the ear, and it is spat out the mouth like a bullet from a gun. Ironic really, because it is both harsh on your body and feels like you have been shot...
I started being sick, twice, so I ended up back in hospital that night to get more ant-sickness drugs. While there I joked with my mum; "I can feel the difference in the lump already." A sarcastic comment, but she could see a real difference and that it had shrunk! A big relief. We got home late at about midnight. The next day, I felt nauseous, and this continued until the Friday morning, where my mouth was agony along with every bone and muscle in my body - comparable to getting 1000's of bone marrow biopsies at once... The GP came to the house and prescribed me a mouthwash to numb my mouth to allow me to eat without the flavours of the food burning my saliva glands. The weekend only got worse with pain and my mouth - I struggled even to do my favourite thing...bath. I still made it to the football on Saturday to watch a game, but I wish I didn't bother. At this point, I really could not see myself managing to do this another eleven times. It was hell on earth.
However, by the following Tuesday morning, I was fine. Exactly one week after starting the chemotherapy I felt good and so far my hair had not thinned, another bonus. Over the next week, I went into work a few days and worked from home the rest. I went out a walk most days managing 4km in around 40 minutes. By Monday night, it was almost as if I forgot how bad the preceding week was and I was ready to do it all over again.