Last week’s post looked at the grim side effects of chemo . This week it’s time to be a bit more positive and show all the amazing things you can still do when living with cancer!
Don’t get me wrong, living with cancer is HARD! But us warriors still have our good days and I always say that the down days just make the up days that little bit sweeter.
Recently, following my 9th round of chemo, I was lucky enough to be granted a week off treatment by my oncologist so I could go on a snowy holiday to Austria. So here’s five things I did last week, even though I have cancer:
1. FLEW ON A PLANE
This might not sound a big deal, but I have previously been told it’s not safe for me to fly due to the blood clot in my lung. On a previous holiday to Switzerland at Christmas, we had to embark on a 13 hour train journey instead of flying!
Thankfully after 3 months of blood thinning injections, the clot has shrunk and my oncologist said I could fly again.
I felt incredibly nervous about getting on a plane! The whole time we were in the air I worried that the blood clot could have moved, I was anticipating feeling pain when we landed that could signal something was wrong, luckily, all was fine and I was worrying about nothing – phew!
2. HAD MY HUSBAND FLUSH MY PICC LINE
Every week, I have a lovely nurse visit to flush my PICC line (a line in a vein in my arm where chemo drugs are administered) with saline. This is to ensure it continues working so that meds can be put in it and blood can be taken out.
It is a medical procedure, and I’m not going to lie, I was really quite nervous about my husband (a non-medical professional) being let loose on it!
But, we were advised by my medical team that it’s necessary both before and after flying in a plane. This is apparently because the change in air pressure could make my existing blood clot move or change. I had no choice, and my husband was only too happy to step up.
It’s a fairly simple procedure, but involves lots of needles, vials of different saline, and syringes being attached to my line. It meant travelling with lots of medical paraphernalia and a sharps bin. Despite having a doctor’s letter to explain it all, I was so convinced I’d be challenged over it at security and I knew I would just burst into tears if this happened!
Luckily, again, I was worried about nothing. Security was fine and actually the hardest thing about the whole thing was trying to find a bathroom or changing room in which we could set up our mini chemistry set! My husband had been well-trained by the nurses and all went off without a hitch!
3. WENT SNOWBOARDING
I’ve been snowboarding for ten years now and it’s one of my favourite hobbies. The exciting feeling of strapping on your board, careering down a snowy, crisp mountain with the wind in your hair – there really is nothing like it!
The sheer exhilaration is a surefire way to make you forget all your worries in an instant and for me, it’s the perfect temporary antidote to living with cancer.
On the first day we hit the slopes I felt strangely emotional as I zoomed along with my friends, feeling that adrenaline rush that I love. Cancer stops you from doing so much and when you finally get the chance to do something you absolutely love, it can be strangely overwhelming!
Was I scared I’d fall? Yes. Was I scared someone would crash into me? Yes. (They did! Multiple times!) Did I let it stop me? No way! Because cancer has stopped me doing too many things over the past couple of years and if I’m feeling well enough to do something I enjoy, you better believe I’m going to grab that opportunity with both hands.
4. JUMPED OFF A MOUNTAIN!
Paragliding is something I’ve wanted to do ever since I’ve been going on snowy holidays and this time, along with my sister-in-law, surrounded by the beautiful Austrian mountains, I decided to go for it. It was utterly amazing!
Cancer makes you realise that you never know what life is going to bring your way. It arrives in your life and knocks the wind out of your sails but I believe it also teaches you to live your life without regret.
Living with cancer has made me face my fears and it made me leap off that mountain because, who knows, one day I just might not be able to.
5. DRANK ALCOHOL WITH MY FRIENDS
I am not a big drinker and as a rule, I never drink when I’m on chemo as I feel my body has enough toxins to try and process, without me putting more pressure on my liver.
But après ski is a huge part of the snowboarding holiday experience and I felt so grateful to be able to sit on top of a mountain, with the sun on my face and a glass of prosecco in my hand – just like a normal person!
Living with cancer is one of the hardest experiences I’ve ever had to face. But I hope this post shows just what you can achieve and enjoy when you’re going through treatment.
If there is something you love in life, you can still go for it! Okay you might do it slightly more slowly and cautiously than before, and you might pay the price for it later (once I got home from this holiday I could have slept for a week!) But always remember you’re alive, life is for living and there is so much wonder in the world, get out there and see it.
As always, sending love and hugs to my fellow warriors, we’ve got this!