Today I’m back under house and bed arrest. White blood cell count is low, but thankfully not critically so. Another infection and another 5 day course of antibiotics.
The previous plan of having more fills more frequently, has temporarily been thwarted. No more fills until all the infection has cleared. The lack of lymph nodes to help drain away any nasties and the lack of a healthy immune system due to the chemo drugs, are the usual suspects. My plastic surgeon says any infection near the surgery site needs to be controlled quickly, so I need to let her know by tomorrow if it has not cleared significantly, she may need to consider stronger drugs. She explained to me that if an infection continues and there is pus involved internally, the area will have to be cleaned out, the expander will have to be removed and the process started all over again. My heart sank.
I am therefore listening to doctors orders and resting, especially with chemo looming next week. I have movies and series to watch and two willing sausage dogs to keep me company.
I am beginning to understand exactly what a mind game this all is. I thought that being young (in oncology terms of course!), and strong before starting this process would ensure I would get through surgery and the treatments pretty easily. I used to say to Pete how sorry I felt for the older people undergoing treatment; they all looked so frail and exhausted- how on earth did they get through each session? How lucky I was to have youth on my side. But yesterday I saw an elderly gentleman being given his chemo drugs at the Cancer centre – I realised how looks are so deceiving. Here I was, probably 30 to 40 years his junior, on the outside looking robust and rotund, especially by chemo standards, but feeling as frail and exhausted as he looked.
When your entire body turns against you, it’s only your mind and spirit that can possibly see you through until your body is able to catch up. And that has nothing to do with age.
“Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that’s true strength.” Unknown
“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.” JRR Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
“you never know how strong you are… until being strong is the only choice you have.”
― Cayla Mills
“I feel like myself, strong and weak at once – allowed, at least for a little while, to be both.”
Veronica Roth, Allegiant
“There are so many ways to be brave in this world. Sometimes bravery involves laying down your life for something bigger than yourself, or for someone else. Sometimes it involves giving up everything you have ever known, or everyone you have ever loved, for the sake of something greater.
But sometimes it doesn’t.
Sometimes it is nothing more than gritting your teeth through pain, and the work of every day, the slow walk toward a better life.
That is the sort of bravery I must have now.” Veronica Roth, Allegiant