In my dance with the dreaded C word, strange things have happened. This journey isn't one on which the expected happens, simply by the fact that its nature is to be unexpected. No one expects to have cancer, especially young... so it would be nice if the proceedings happened in an expected way. I don't mean this in a 'how-is-the-treatment-going' and 'is-it-working?' kind of way.
There are some things that I have encountered in the past year on this 'journey' that just make me think in abbreviated terms "wtf!" Sure I expect being bald, and looking like an Argos Alien but some of these.... weird!
Peoples crazy views on chemotherapy
What do YOU think chemo is in all honestly? Something I found really strange when I started chemo was quite how many people thought having chemo was sitting in a big machine that makes your hair fall out. It was even strange to see reactions to the fact that as opposed to their sci-fi imagining, chemo was actually IV infusions, tablets and a lot of sitting around...
I'm pretty sure the Doctor Who machines that were being thought about were actually not too far from the reality of radiotherapy. Nearly the right treatment, better luck next time guys.
The even crazier side effects of chemo
We all know about the hair loss, tiredness and general feeling-like-crappiness but did you know about peripheral neuropathy or haemorrhagic cystitis? No? They sound scary but some chemo side effects are less harmful than plain weird. For example one drug made me go bright red.... like a lobster!
The strangest side effect I ever encountered was the effect chemotherapy had on my nails. We think that each course of chemo had during my original treatment would somehow effect the composition of my nails, because as my nails grew after chemo they would have a dark stripe grow out on them. My nails don't grow incredibly quickly so I could count how many courses I had had of chemo based on the number of nail stripes! You could basically age me, like a tree.
Raise your arm if you have nose hair. Well you do (even if you didn't raise your arm). Some nose hair is long prominent and demands trimming whereas for the usual Jane and John it's secretly there. Of course as expected, nose hair falls out on chemo, just like ordinary hair. What's unexpected is that this gives a runny nose. CONSTANTLY.
The stuff they do to make sure you are tip top (though you're obviously not)... This horrible weird crazy, bizarre test is the one thing that I have really been horrified at during treatment. I've had tubes stuck in me, vomited green stuff and hallucinated on morphine but this is the one thing that I've had an immediate strong reaction to. The 24HR Urine Collection. Skghskfjhskjfhksjfk. It is the grossest thing ever, and if people wonder what having cancer treatment is like, I KNOW carrying around and storing your wee in bottles is NOT an answer that would be expected to be seen. Although it is highly irrational to have such strong feeling about it but, I have standards. And storing my wee in a bottle and having to cart it around is not within them.
The power of fizz
Pepsi Max, is amazing. Not for its tooth rotting properties or 'HOW does it have no sugar?!' but for aiding side effects. After the pleasure of a lumbar punctures many people have agonising headaches. The popular carbonated drink as above stops those headaches or can aid in making them less severe. Magic.
This may be a silly and frivolous blog but perception is always seen as a powerful thing, and I think this blog highlights in the funny, strange examples of how a journey with cancer isn't a pre-set plot with two ending options. It is diverse, unexpected and so different to what is seen from the outsiders eye.
I hope with my tales of stripy fingernails, carrying bodily fluids and snotty tissues haven't put you off me for good - in fact, if you've enjoyed reading this, please share it on social media!
Let's be fair, I couldn't make all this up even if I tried.
You can read more of Emily's blogs about the life of a teen with cancer, find out more about her and get involved with her campaigns by visiting www.remissionpossible.org.uk<