This week has felt such an odd ball of emotions, achievements and discomforts – which although difficult, show work in progress is under way.
Sunday – Whatever I’d done to my right leg on Saturday it grumbled all of Sunday too…just not as badly. I did everything except ice it…only because we didn’t have any. I was sure of it being sciatic and brought on from standing in one position so much on Friday, tightening up too much and then probably not warming up enough on Saturday before I ran. Plus then the strain of 14miles on it. It wasn’t even lunchtime before I decided that Monday had to be a non-run day too.
I pottered down to the garden and back but that was as far as I went all day.
Monday – Thanks to the soreness still in my leg I took the day off running as planned and did a good intensive upper body workout in the morning instead. I wore my compression socks all day to help things along and went into the City an hour earlier for a slow walk around the Botanical Gardens.
So much was blooming and the air scented with blossom, I soon forgot about my leg and realised that the further I’d walked the better it had been.
I missed my bus home by seconds due to over an hours delay in radiotherapy, so walked back to the Botanical Gardens for afternoon tea. To say I was tired when I got back was an understatement but I’d had such a lovely day, and was a lot more positive about the whole right leg issue.
Tuesday – I ran for the first time all week and while tender, my leg wasn’t as bad as I’d imagined it may be. I ran to recover pace…currently 8minute kilometres. Usually running gives me a huge boost but I felt very low and emotional all morning, in part concerned about the afternoons bone density scan and actually getting home again afterwards due to my appointment time.
I had my day 12 review and broke down on the radiologist and then again on my radiotherapy team. All of them were amazing and supportive, comforting me and trying to help me see the positives and achievements I’ve managed…especially the fact that given I’m so far in and my skin is as yet unmarked by signs of what the radiotherapy is doing.
I had lunch in Starbucks…they don’t seem to mind you eating your own food aslong as you buy one of their drinks! Again, an odd type of comfort and just being in somewhere warm watching the world go by was a huge help.
My bone scan in the afternoon went smoothly and speedily…I travelled early to make sure I didn’t get lost and got to the department just after 2pm. With not being due until 3.40pm I popped to the main hospital and sat with an Earl Grey for over an hour before I went back – then kicked myself when they called me in just after 3pm and said how quiet they’d been all day. My scan lasted 10 minutes and was focused on my hips and spine, then samples were taken of urine and blood. I should hear back in 4-6 weeks if there is anything that needs to be discussed.
I didn’t get home until just before 6pm and felt drained, almost to tired to cook but a night by myself and a run due Wednesday morning, meant it was a necessity.
Wednesday – I awoke more positive and with a determined mindset. Wednesday is usually hill training day but with it being cut back week and my leg still playing up slightly, it was sensible to do a zone 3 run but with a little more undulation than Tuesdays. It went well and I was 8 minutes quicker, kept my cadence high and felt good throughout.
With not needing to leave for hospital until noon I packed my lunch and then set about baking – little rose and cardamom buns, something small and delicate for us to nibble on, plus a batch of bread rolls.
On arrival at radiotherapy I found out I was in LA4 for the first time – I did warn them of my first time in a machine curse, they laughed it off and then the mouse system went down! The technical team were called and things took that long I ended up back in the waiting room.
This marks my half way point with radiotherapy, it feels strange that just over a fortnight has gone so quickly. I celebrated with a hot chocolate at Smorgas and felt fantastic.
By the time I’d got home I ached in my breast tissue and felt really tender, but there was still no visible redness to my skin.
My biggest highlight of the day was having tea out with my work colleagues. As much as it feels like only days ago it’s really been a very long time since I’d seen them in mid-November. It was so good to catch up and take time out together, we never talked ‘shop’ once and while we did talk treatment, but we also talked houses, puppies, horses, hiking and sporting events! They made me feel normal, useful and part of regular life and I look forward to seeing them again soon.
Thursday – My last run of the week before my long run and my leg did really well. I managed my ‘beast’ hill and coming down there was no harsh pull in the nerve. It left me feeling confident for my weekend long run.
Aktiv Against Cancer were marking the date with an Aktiv Day…raising funds and awareness for physical activity to be made more of a fundamental part of cancer treatment – to help reduce unwanted side effects, such as fatigue, nausea and sleep problems while increasing endurance, strength and energy. Their work is happening in the US but I ran thinking of their message and all that my own activities during my treatment is doing beneficially for me.
It makes me sad that I’ve come across those who have been discouraged by their oncology team from trying to keep some level of the physical activity they did before active treatment. Hopefully we’ll see a future here in the UK where the benefits are recognised more and people are advised on an individual basis to their own ability, and not generically.
Given my radiotherapy time I managed to have a “do a double day” and attend spin class. It feels uplifting to finally be able to do everything the others are doing and it was a great session…my legs were warmed up by my run and I felt a good burn throughout but no pain.
Radiotherapy went really well but by the time I was coming back I could feel my scar lines, a burning sensation which is bearable but unpleasant. Laid in bed that night without any support was uncomfortable for the first time.
Friday – Upper body and core strength training started my day at 5.30am sharp. My radiotherapy appointment meant an early bus but time on arrival to walk the museum gardens. It was chilly but refreshing and there was only a few of us walking through which made it feel really special…it was also still quiet enough so that I didn’t feel as if I was walking in the City.
I managed to grab half an hour for coffee in the window seat at Starbucks…chance to people watch, listen to everyone elses day starting and get in a few chapters of my book!
Once changed for treatment the lack of support meant the burning feeling in my scar line was back. I explained to the team that it oddly reminds me of the post surgery sensation I had.
Most radiotherapy for breast cancer finishes at three weeks, therefore they carried out my briefing regarding what my extra two weeks worth will entail. It will be more targeted treatment, so instead of treating the whole left hand side area, it will target the smaller area in which my cancer was found. This may well mean more sensitivity to my scar line, a higher potential for blistering and skin irritation…occurring anything from within a few days of starting, to up to a fortnight post treatment. All I can do is as I am now – moisturising the area, keeping as healthy as possible, eating and hydrating well and resting when needed.
I had great plans for getting off the bus early to go for a circular walk at the Longshaw Estate, but by the time I’d finished with the team I just felt exhausted. It was good to get home, have lunch and spend an afternoon reading and resting.
Saturday – 3yrs of living together!!! I’m not sure where that went and, for those that know of our spare room of doom, why I’ve never tackled it!
My long run in the morning was actually my last short long run…the oddity and brilliance of ultra marathon training. My cut back week finishing with a nice 10K and what a run. Yes my sciatic nerve was a dull ache in my bottom most of the way but I had no pain. I also just ran to feel and took time with hills and quickened my pace when I felt able. This gave a great balance to my run and I got home feeling strong and capable of more. As much as I want to run to a steady, achievable pace I also know I want to ensure I can achieve speed where needed, so I felt immensely proud when I looked at my split times and realised I’d hit my old running times on three of the ten kilometres – one midway and two consecutively near the end, without pushing myself.
We headed to Buxton mid-morning for the Museums new Hoards exhibition, with pieces on loan from both the Salisbury and British Museums. As keen history nuts it was a huge must see and was great to be able to enjoy the exhibit together.
My other proud achievement of the day was driving us to Buxton and back. Fatigue from treatment had nearly stopped me from driving towards the end of chemo and in the first month afterwards. Since then journeys have been short and sometimes have felt a struggle. I’ve felt saddened by the loss of independence and the need to rely so much on others and public transport. To be able to drive both ways after my run and walking in town was a huge undertaking, and showed just how far my body has come.
The afternoon was taken a lot more at leisure. Resting and reading, just enjoying each others company as, thanks to work, we won’t see a lot of each other over the next week.
Sunday – My recovery day and a day to myself, at the moment being taken slowly as Sunday mornings should be. I’m sitting with coffee scenting the air, my feet up and the morning light streaming in on me…but I have plans for the day, so here’s to a few adventures!