Cycles and cycling

Yesterday marked the start of Chemo cycle no 6. A fun-packed day involving a picc line insertion (a tube that runs inside your vein from your forearm to your heart, used for chemo drug infusion), an x-ray to check the tube hadn’t gone awry and then a 3 hour Oxyplatin/ flush drip. I was nevertheless stoked to be awarded a bed on this occasion (usually I get stuck with an armchair).

Pretty it ain’t. Swimming and tight-fitting tops are out for a while with this lovely looking appendage hanging out my arm, whilst weekly trips to the nurse to have it flushed and cleaned are the order of the day.

Judging by the look on Sam’s face and the amount of blood on the surrounding paper towels, the insertion of this baby wasn’t particularly pretty either. However, with a vein in my right arm having also thrombosed after just one chemo session, I really don’t have an alternative option. And the good news is having the chemo administered via this means is a whole lot less painful than having the drip go through a needle in your arm.

I’m finding with each progressive session, the shopping list of weird and wonderful symptoms is starting to increase, not to mention the dormouse tendencies. The latest additions to the party are bone pain centralised in my rib cage and increasing hair loss (any products you can recommend, BASES hair team?). But on the positive side, I’m nearly there now – six chemo sessions down and just two to go. And my white blood cells appear to be actually going up rather than down. Just goes to show that a diet rich in fruit & veg (managing to get more of these back in my diet these days) and regular exercise do wonders for your immune system. Meanwhile my other blood counts are well above the critical levels so all staying well there should be no reason to delay my last two treatments on that account.

Enough of cycles and onto the cycling. Despite the rather forbidding weather prognosis, we only had one complete wash-out day in the Lakes (when Sam and his dad went down a slate mine and Ann and I took refuge in the car and read our books/ snoozed). We did however manage to fit in three lovely cycle rides to compliment our two and a half walks.

The first was to the amusingly titled ‘Cockermouth’. This ride marked the elevation of status of ‘Graham the Garmin’ from ‘hated bit of complicated of equipment’ to ‘actually quite useful if you can be bothered to put in the leg-work’. Sam and I don’t like to hold grudges, so Graham’s choice of stupidly steep path that led to Sunday’s epic up Skiddaw was forgiven and forgotten. Being both lazy and foodie snobs – Sam and I couldn’t be bothered with the thought of trekking to Keswick post-ride to pick up the remaining ‘critical’ ingredients for our evening dish of Spaghetti Bolognaise  – we left Ann and Les in our fine choice of café stop in Cockermouth to explore the Sainsburys opposite. Ten minutes later, jersey pockets stuffed with pancetta, mixed herbs and half a kilo of mushrooms (not what you’d find in the musette bag of a seasoned pro-cyclist, well not in this decade at least) we set off for home.

Taken on ride 2, this time to Grasmere

Our next trip was a gorgeous ride from Keswick to Grasmere, tracking the Thirlmere reservoir. Not only was the route extremely picturesque, it was pleasingly flat and involved a nice tailwind on the return leg. Another great café stop was complimented with a trip to the Gingerbread factory. Sadly our 6 piece bundle was exhausted thanks to enthusiastic consumption in Grasmere followed by concerted guzzling on the ascent of Cat’s Bells later in the week, so no souvenirs for friends and family I’m afraid. Ann meanwhile elected to purchase the quite frankly evil (in my opinion anyway) ‘Chilli and Ginger boiled sweets’. Les’ jersey in the picture below provides a fitting visual metaphor for what they felt like in your mouth. 🙂

Ann and Les on the return leg

The final ride of the holiday is best characterised as ‘the least flat flat route we’ve ever done’. After the week’s exertions, the advertised ‘beautiful flat route along the valley from Stavely with a fantastic cafe stop’ sounded quite fitting. It met the brief on two counts but thanks to a wrong turn up a ridiculously steep hill and a missed left turn (we can’t blame Graham on this occasion as he wasn’t turned on until later), the route turned out to be rather more strenuous than we were expecting. However, we were again blessed with a tailwind on the return leg and provided with the perfect excuse to gorge ourselves at the amazing Wilf’s café back in Stavely. Lemon & Poppy seed cake, the obligatory Sticky Toffee pudding and crumpets all round! All in all, a fantastic week with lots of happy memories to stand me in good stead for the fun and games of Tuesday. Sorry alien, you may have turned my life somewhat upside down over the last five months but you ain’t stopping me from having fun.

Unfortunately this appears to be the only photo I have of Sam from the trip. But it does at least go to show that he was an active participant in our cycling adventures and that, yes he is as wedded to his dynamo kit as ever 😉



8 thoughts on “Cycles and cycling

  1. Looks like all the coolest people ride, Ribbles, eh? Sounds like a perfect Nay & Sam holiday.
    Take that alien! 🙂 xx

  2. Hi Naomi and Sam,

    I’ve just returned from a mini bike trip up the hill here, early evening, in Cape Town so it was funny to log in and see your latest blog inc. cycling exploits.

    The other day I went for a ride and got chased by a Rottweiler. I thought do I a) make a break for it, but then risk a full out battle or b) go gently and not trigger an attack. I opted for b) but the bugger attacked anyway. The owners were most apologetic (great…that didn’t alleviate the pain one bit). One tetanus jab later it all seems quite funny.

    Anyway, great to hear you out and about and that your blood counts are looking positive.



  3. … being a bit squeamish, I tend to concentrate on the cycling and cake-eating bits of the blog – hope that’s okay? Spike. xx

  4. Hi Naomi,

    Re the hair loss, I understand it is a natural part of the particular chemo you are taking and should return once you are done. There is a product called Floriscene made by lamberts which I very good for hair loss which i used at one point when I was in a very stressful situation and my hair didn’t grow properly. Also, I know that thyroid levels drop with chemo and wondered if you could check that out with your consultant. You can take natural thyroid support if that is the case. Low thyroid is associated with hair loss and fatigue, lowered immunity and a host of other major issues. A cup of blueberries a day is one of the top rankers for cancer prevention and green tea, 5-6 cups per day. You can blend blueberries and other berries into a smoothie with yoghurt. Broccoli top ranker for helping with supporting detoxification pathways. xx Jill

  5. Naomi,

    It has been an absolute pleasure to read your blog. The best part about it is knowing that you are responding well to treatment and are well on your way to decimating the alien (although I do know that ‘decimate’ can be taken to mean ‘to take away a tenth’ which is not how I mean it here, I know a wordsmith like you would notice that!)

    It’s also been inspiring to hear about the experiences you’ve been having, from all of the cycle rides to getting married – congratulations to you and Sam!

    I hope that things continue to go your way and that soon you are as alien-free as you can be. But then, given your determination, there isn’t any doubt of that happening so I don’t need to attach the word ‘hope’ to that sentence.

    Best wishes,
    Allison and David Hood x

  6. Hey Naomi

    Good to see you had a good time in the lakes and I’m enjoying checking in on the blog – pretty inspirational stuff.

    I can also vouch for the quality of Wilfs Cafe in Stavely – the bakery across the way is also highly recommended! 🙂

    Take Care.

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