Too many walls have been built in between us. Too many dreams have been shattered around us. If I seem to give up they’d still never win. Deep in my heart I know the strength is within.

Audio version of this blog: Audio version

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Before I write a blog I always read the previous one first so that I can remind myself what was going on.  I write every three weeks, so you might imagine it wouldn’t be that difficult to remember.  Sometimes three weeks feels like 3 minutes and other times, more like 3 years.  Sometimes when I read back to the last entry it feels like I’m reading something from a different era and other times I can’t believe it was three weeks ago because it feels like yesterday.  Time is a funny old thing. I usually sit down to write and worry that not very much has happened, but normally, once I start, it feels like a lot has happened, so I need to remind myself where I left off last time. That’s a really long way round of sharing that I just realised in my last blog I wrote “I am not overly concerned about Corona”. Which in hindsight is probably the most ridiculous thing ever written.

In the space of three weeks I have gone from mildly concerned to being told if I get it I’m done for, thanks to my chemo blasted immunity. I’m sure everybody felt the same wave that went something like; mildly interesting to this is serious, to this is inconvenient, to holy shit we are all doomed. There are still days when I find it completely unbelievable and have to control the rising panic. This is scary stuff.

Also in that time frame I have gone from thinking it’s OK to go out for occasional walks with friends to being worried about leaving the house at all.  I saw the busyness in open spaces over Mother’s Day weekend.  Every day I watch hordes of people ambling, jogging, pushing babies, walking dogs up and down the tow path – the tow path is not a wide area and these people are not protecting themselves or the vulnerable.

Having stage 4 cancer and being on chemotherapy puts me in a high risk / vulnerable category.  I am doing my best to be a responsible citizen, as well as look after myself, by trying to interpret and follow the government guidelines. Initially I thought I fell in to the shielded group and was expecting a message or letter from the government.  It never came and I assumed that this was because I had fallen down a private/NHS hole. I went back to the guidelines and it seems I don’t fit the criteria anyway.  So I am not in the group that has to stay in for 12 weeks and can only open a window.  Whilst that might sound like a good thing, it means I won’t receive the support afforded to that group. Support such as prioritised supermarket deliveries, which would be pretty handy for a single girl, living alone, germaphobe. Fortunately I have brilliant friends and neighbours who are keeping me stocked up with supplies. I’m very lucky that they are all so kind.

I feel like I am quite well placed for isolation.  The last few years has been quite a good warm up to this.  My treatment has meant I have had to practice social distancing for quite some time. I don’t underestimate though how difficult it will seem to everybody else.  It’s not unusual for me to have to spend big chunks of time by myself.  Which is fine, I am totally happy with my own company, I quite like myself, as it happens. But my God I shall miss the hugs.

My plan to keep myself sane is online yoga and pilates classes, lots of reading, listening to the radio, binge watching Netflix, playing online quizzes and games with my nearest and dearest, having lots of video calls and frankly I’m not sure when I will get time to do any housework. I bought a pom pom making kit. I will be regularly giving myself mani/pedis. I will do some more writing.  I have decluttering to do.  I also recently purchased a new piano keyboard, so I will be channelling my 10 year old self and making sure I build in time for piano practice.

There is a lot more that could be said about these current circumstances, but I know we are all a bit sick of it already.  There are far more qualified people than me to whinge about it. I will move on, but my final statement on the matter for the time being is this; when your timeline is limited the absolute last thing you would choose to do is lock yourself away from your family and your friends and stop doing all the things that you love to do that keep you sane and healthy.

Treatment wise there is little to report. I am stuck between chemo treatment 8 and 9.  I wrote last time that I had forced a longer break after 8 to ensure I could spend some time with family. I also wanted to try to get through a cycle without needing a blood transfusion, so a 4 week break between cycles is what I pushed for.  I am probably slightly psychic because my delay strategy played out well given that I was able to do what I wanted to do in March before the lock down arrived.  However, this is also a case of being careful about what you wish for. When I went back for chemo 9 my bloods were pretty good by my standards, but not good enough by anybody else’s. Whereas before I would have been treated, due to CV19 they refused to treat me because they need my white blood cell count to be considerably higher given we know it will drop off after treatment. They told me in no uncertain terms that I must not get corona. At that point they told me to go away again and come back the following week to test the blood again.  Instead, we very quickly moved to plan B. I am now going for an MRI which The Prof will review.  Based on current status of my tumours he will make the call: to treat or not to treat.  As I understand it, he will decide whether it is safe to continue with a chemo break, or whether there is no choice but to continue with the chemo, thereby putting me at risk of becoming seriously ill if I get the virus.

Who would be an oncologist having to make decisions like that at a time like this?  It takes a braver soul than mine, that’s for sure.

I have written before that The Prof offered me a chemo holiday and that I turned him down.  Maybe he also has a strange means by which he gets his own way. I was coming round to the idea of a chemo break.  This would have included travel, spending time with family and friends and I was also in the process of planning the mother of all parties.  A chemo holiday to sit in my flat by myself and worry about when I will run out of tea bags, is not my idea of a fair deal.

The good news is that because it’s now approaching six weeks since I had chemo, I feel really great.  With the sunshine this week I even have some colour in my cheeks.

One of the reasons I pushed chemo 9 out was to make sure I could spend some time with GozFam in March.  It was extremely fortuitous that we picked the last weekend that it would have been possible, before the world went mad.  We booked what now seems to have become an annual trip to Bristol. In order to play it safe, we cancelled the busy town centre hotel as well as all meals in restaurants.  Instead we booked an Airbnb, stayed in and had take-aways.  We had one treat out which was afternoon tea with my second cousin and a new member of our family. We stayed in the village of Clifton and it was truly fabulous, such a beautiful place with lots to offer.  GozFam had a very Goswellian weekend, there was cards, games, singing, dancing and laughing.  There was also an incident at the zoo, but the less said about that the better.  I look forward to going back when normality is restored.

 

I have managed a few walks in the last few weeks.  I love to see Spring appear and slowly but surely wake the planet from it’s wintery snooze. Those walks will be few and far between for the time being, but I shall get back to them as soon as I can.  In the meantime I am so lucky to have my balcony, a tiny space but I have a few pots bringing me joy.

Many weeks ago I wrote another article for Jennifer Young’s Beauty Despite Cancer website. It’s a summary of everything since I was first diagnosed, you can find it here if you would like to take a look (I didn’t choose the title!): Abigail’s article

My instinct is that a lot will happen in the next few weeks and before I write again.  It will feel like a strange and alien time, and it may be the longest three weeks we have ever known.  Please try to stay sane. Sending love, light and strength.

Above all else, do what you are told and don’t buy too much toilet roll.

Also, feel ya boobs.

Please remember it’s Save Our Soles, not Save Assholes.

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Big Love xx AG


Too Many Walls : Cathy Dennis 

Wish on a rainbow is all I can do.
Dream of the good times that we never knew.
No late nights alone in your arms.
I’ll dream on. Living in wonder, thinking of you.
Still looking for ways to uncover the truth.
You’re so young is all they can say.
They don’t know,
If I could change the way of the world I’d be your girl.
Too many walls have been built in between us.
Too many dreams have been shattered around us.
If I seem to give up they’d still never win.
Deep in my heart I know the strength is within.
Watching the others chances drift by.
They’ll never discover these feelings I hide.
Deep inside I’m falling apart.
All alone with a broken heart.
Thinking in silence is all they allow.
These words still unspoken may never be found.
All these dreams one day will be mine.
They cross my mind.
My time has yet to come. Until then.
Deep in my heart I know the strength is within.
Too many walls have been built in between us.
Too many dreams have been shattered around us.
If I seem to give up they’d still never win.
Deep in my heart I know the strength is within.
Too many walls have been built in between us.
Too many dreams have been shattered around us.
If I seem to give up they’d still never win.
Deep in my heart I know the strength is within.
Too many walls have been built in between us.
Too many dreams have been shattered around us.
If I seem to give up they’d still never win.
Deep in my heart I know the strength is within.

 

6 thoughts on “Too many walls have been built in between us. Too many dreams have been shattered around us. If I seem to give up they’d still never win. Deep in my heart I know the strength is within.

  1. You’re right Abigail, it’s a lovely time of year. I’m really glad you’ve got your balcony and your pots. It so wonderful to see the new life continuing to grow through all this. I even found that some of last years geraniums had survived. I’m now nurturing them for cuttings. Love the idea of Pom Pom making. Love Marion xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Abigail, I thought I’d share this after reading your blog. You can register on the Gov.UK site as a person to be shielded so you will benefit from the support you deserve. Take a look, it takes 5min to complete. You should also ring your council’s COVID19 support helpline who can arrange emergency food parcels & collection of other meds you may receive via your pharmacy. Xx

    Like

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