Getting through those dark days

I can’t tell you how glad I am to say goodbye to these last few weeks, which might sound like an odd thing to say when time is against me and should be treasured but it has, without doubt, been the hardest I’ve had since my diagnosis. Both physically and emotionally.

Halfway through March, and midway through my 3 month treatment break, I started to feel the familiar pain in my liver area previously controlled by the chemotherapy I was having. Chemo, if tolerated well, will actually help manage a lot of the symptoms and for me personally, it was an absolute godsend in that respect.

Then I began to experience the familiar pains I experienced prior to diagnosis, in my lower back, left hip and leg. I began acupuncture at this point and to be fair, it really did help ease this discomfort, if only for a few days.

*Acupuncture is definitely a beneficial therapy that I will be continuing with so if you haven’t tried this before, it may be worth considering looking into it further as a way of relieving symptoms from both cancer and treatment.

At around the same time, my appetite not only dwindled, but completely disappeared, leaving me weak and nauseous.

My much treasured and energetic 3-4 mile walks, were quickly replaced with a stooped shuffle around the house. The dramatic and swift decline was frightening, not only for me but for my family also. I did something I swore I wouldn’t….let the fear engulf me. I lost interest in just about everything. I no longer watched inspirational videos to encourage me in my cancer healing. I stopped reading informative books to boost my health and I struggled to be around anyone. I just wanted to be left alone.

Obviously, low times happen to everyone and if you are dealing with a cancer diagnosis, are an expected part of the journey. I’ve had many low days, I accept that they will happen and I try to be kind to myself, knowing that better days will come. However, weeks of relentless pain, being confined mainly to the house/sofa really took their toll and I began to fear they would never end…in fact, at one point, at my lowest, I wanted it all to end.

The pain, the fear, the weakness became too much.

Thankfully, as the sun and warmth appeared, so did my spirit. My appetite picked up and although I am still struggling with the pain, I found amazing support from my GP, who spent plenty of time with me to go through a pain management plan, a thorough examination, an explanation of what is causing the pain as well as my concerns over the “care” I am receiving from my oncology team (that’s a story for another day) offering to act as my advocate, corresponding with them should I need her to. I left the surgery feeling elated, confident and with some new level of control.

I’m due, finally, to start a new treatment, Pemigatinib (sold under the name of Pemazyre) in the next few days and hopefully this will help blast the new, aggressive cancer cells that have recently been found in my liver as well as all the others and I can start to feel more myself again. (post on Pemigatinib to follow)

One thing that I did find useful during the last few weeks was meditation and if you are struggling right now and have not tried this, I really do encourage you to try. It took me a lonnnnng time to “get” it and if you think it’s not for you, do stick with it. There are some amazing guided meditations out there and I will be adding a page, eventually, of ones I have found really useful, whether that is for reducing stress, helping you to sleep or helping you to adopt a positive mindset….and more.

If you are struggling, feeling lost and/or fearful, it’s completely normal. Be kind to yourself. Access support, whether that is from loved ones, your doctor, counsellor or an organisation such as Macmillan Cancer Support

Hopefully, for me, the tide is turning!

How are you or a loved one coping?

Are you struggling?

What have you found helpful when dealing with the low times?

I would love to hear from you.

Much love and strength

Megan x

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