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).
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.
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. 🙂
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.