Chemotherapy 6 – Vaccine 2

Last week was another busy week in terms of hospital appointments and nearly (or actually) falling over in public places.

We were in London Wednesday morning for my pre-chemo clinic, followed by a trip across London to receive my second dose of the vaccine in the afternoon. It seemed to make sense at the time to book the appointments for the same day, but in truth trekking into London, across London, two appointments, and then trekking home again was a bit much for my current energy levels (just getting up the stairs in the house is an achievement these days).

It was a bit of a rubbish day in general to be honest. With my current insomnia issues, mornings aren’t typically my best time (not that they ever were) – it’s difficult to be chirpy after two hours of sleep, followed by six hours of lying in the dark getting increasingly frustrated about not being able to go back to sleep. So I wasn’t exactly cheery at the early start to the day, and Sally wasn’t feeling too great either – a situation exacerbated by my ‘depressing’ choice of music for the journey (Puscifer, for anyone who is interested) – and the day didn’t really seem to improve from there. Just to help my mood I had my ‘near fainting experiences’ left, right and centre – in hospitals, car parks, a pub where we stopped for dinner, etc.

It’s not pleasant getting out of the car and walking into a busy pub, knowing that there is a strong chance I could collapse, especially if there are no seats available for me to fall into – which is exactly what happened at the first pub we tried. As we walked in it became apparent that they were having a Halloween party, and the place was pretty packed out with no free seats. As my head started to go the best I could manage was to cling onto a small shelf opposite the bar and attempt to stay upright. Fortunately a very kindly lady noted my predicament and directed us to a pub nearby that was serving food.

Once at the new pub and with food ordered, Sally and I decided that given our crappy day (and recent crappy times) we would take advantage of my Mum being around to babysit, and treat ourselves to a little holiday. After some thought we decided to stay in exotic Ashford for a night and go and see Skyfall. So we booked ourselves a room at the Premier Inn (which it turned out had a ‘work view’ for me – I could see my place of work from the window, for no extra charge!) and headed down there as soon as we could check in on Thursday afternoon. We spent the afternoon just lying on the bed, Sally reading and sleeping while I watched a few episodes of ‘Game of Thrones’ on my iPod. Which is pretty much exactly what I would have done at home, but it was just nice to have a change of scenery, and for Sally to have a bit of a break from the pressures of housework, looking after Saskia, etc.

So in the evening we went for a meal (nearly fainted again) and then to see the film. Which, I have to say, I think people have been getting a bit over excited about – it just seemed another formulaic ‘James Bond by numbers’ with a paper thin plot. Mind you, I am not exactly the biggest Bond fan anyway, so I am prepared to accept I am in a minority on this. Also I wonder if ‘chemo-brain’ played a part in my disappointment – I have been experiencing some memory issues lately (forgetting what I did the day before, etc). So towards the end of the film, I had literally forgotten what had happened at the beginning. So there may well have been an amazing plot, I just probably forgot what it was. It appears my attention span is becoming similar to that of a goldfish.

Anyway, upon leaving the cinema I had a fairly severe fainting episode. We decided to wait until everyone else had left before leaving to minimise embarrassment should I have an episode – which proved to be a very wise move. From my seat I managed to make it about five metres before having to cling onto a railing. As the episode got worse, and to avoid collapsing in an uncontrolled manner, I had to lower myself to the ground in the middle of the gangway in the cinema and lie on my back. Where I remained for about five minutes, before crawling across the cinema to sit on a step, and gradually moving to standing. While not particularly funny at the time, it is slightly amusing in hindsight. I was fully expecting the cleaners to come in and query why I was lying down in the middle of an empty cinema, but fortunately they didn’t.

So the following day (Friday) it was then back into London again to receive cycle six of my chemo. Fortunately this went relatively smoothly (Sally and I even managed to agree on the Red Hot Chilli Peppers for the journey), and with minimal fainting issues.

So that’s about all I have to report for now. Sorry if it’s not the most interesting update – but life currently consists mainly of hospital appointments, and lying down (sometimes intentionally, sometimes not so intentionally). Maybe next time I’ll tell you all about ‘Game of Thrones’, or why Puscifer aren’t at all depressing, if you wish?


Filed under Battle with Melanoma

10 responses to “Chemotherapy 6 – Vaccine 2

  1. Janine

    Hi Ben, thanks for the update, it is good to hear from you about how you are now I don’t get to see Sally so often. Glad you had a good night away, I think you should have tried to get a discount for the work view! Sounds like you are dealing with the fainting episodes with your usual courage and humour. Sending you our love, the Pommer family xxxxx

  2. Lindsay Macdonald

    Hi Ben and Sally, great to hear from you. I don’t care if you think your post isn’t interesting, it’s just good to hear from you! Lots of love and all the best, Linz x

  3. aigul

    Hey nice holiday guys! It just u spent five minutes on the floor in the cinema, could’ve at least looked for some odd popcorn! Waste of time….

  4. Caroline (Falconer)

    I second Lindsay’s viewpoint – I log in every week to share your news, good or bad, and when there isn’t a post it makes me anxious about you so please find the strength to continue to share.
    Love to you all

  5. Lynsey

    Hi Ben,

    Despite everything you are going through, you always manage to show an incredible amount of courage and humour. I know I have said it numerous times before but I feel like I want to say it over and over again – ‘you are an inspiration to us all’. Thank you so much for finding the strength to share your news with us.

    I can’t say that I have heard of ‘Puscifer’ so I am intrigued to find out more – am I going to get some stick for this? 😉

    Lots of love to you, Sal and Saskia

    Lyns xx

  6. Lovely to have an update and your amusing lying down interludes. Love and blessings to you all xxx

  7. Julie Hands

    Hi Ben, Sally and Saskia, echoing the others comments, it is good to hear how you are getting on. I admire the way you are both coping with what life is throwing your way. Glad you managed a night away, it is vital to spend time together, whatever you choose to do. Sending you all love and God’s blessings.

  8. Dear Ben and Sal and Saskia and Pickle, It was so great to get another post. I LOVE reading your accounts of your life. Your humour is unbeatable and it is a testament to the brightness of your spirit – something which cancer cannot remove from you. I too get concerned when we don’t hear from you so please keep sharing with us, even if the blog posts are short. Mostly when I read your posts, I am on the road somewhere with my blackberry so I cannot read the whole post and I have not figured out if there is a way to comment. By the time I get to my laptop, there are another few hundred emails in the inbox and I tell myself I will reply to you later when I can be still… That moment obviously never comes.:( Stillness is not my forte. 😦 So sorry that I have been so quiet. I know it must mean a lot when you take the time and the energy to record your experience and people actually respond – then you know you are not living in a vacuum and people actually care enough to witness your process and give it meaning. If it helps, I think about you all every day and wonder how you are being with the changes that are taking place in your body/mind/emotions and lifestyle. You are an inspiration to me. Often when I catch myself getting worried or upset about the ‘problems’ in my life (basically when things aren’t going the way I want and the way I think they should go 🙂 ) I turn my thoughts to you and what you are moving through and that helps me get my piddly challenges into perspective. Your challenge, but mostly the way you deal with it, has deeply impacted me and everyone I know in the English in Action office. In turn, the transformation that you have caused in all of us is impacting the ones whom we are close to in our lives. You have cracked our hearts open. You have made the world a better place by your presence. You are a shining badge of courage. I honour you and Sally and Saskia for being spiritual giants – what you have taken on to deal with in this incarnation is beyond profound. I am sending you so much love and my prayers for strength. Don’t give up, Ben. We are the wind beneath your wings. xxx Steph

  9. Jacqui

    Looking at the way Sas keeps trying to organise your CD collection I suggest that you go with what ever she puts in your hand when you leave next time ……I’m sure she has good taste! “Here Daddy, take this one”

  10. Ron and Nancy Wilson

    Dear Ben, Sally and Saskia,
    Glad as always to receive your last post Ben ,but sorry the week had been such a difficult one. It seems good that you and Sally had a night away.
    Hoping things have improved since you last wrote. Our thoughts and prayers continue to ride the waves over to the three of you.
    R&N xxx

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