On Wednesday 4th March I had my first round of chemotherapy to kill off the possibility of any of the aggressive breast tumour, removed from me in January AKA Bob the Bug! Nothing prepares you for chemotherapy at all. The coronavirus was already establishing itself but it didn’t worry me – at that time. On Sunday 8th I started to feel hot and by Monday morning my temperature was not dropping below 37.9. So I ended up in hospital in isolation. Chemotherapy in a nutshell kills the rapid growth of cancer. But it kills bits of me too. Including my neutrophils.
What are Neutrophils?
So these are white cells that help your body fight infection. Little White Soldiers. Mine had to leave the battlefield when they got washed away by the chemotherapy lowering to 0.7 which meant, that my body was vulnerable. And so off I went for 4 days of isolation and IV antibiotics while outside the coronavirus is taking on momentum. My risk is elevated to infection and we are in the middle of a pandemic – my timing has always sucked.
We also needed to get my temperature down from 37.9. But on it’s own unaided by paracetamol.
Up until this point during the cancer diagnosis it didn’t make me feel ill. Yes there was the surgery but apart from tiredness I had felt much worse with a cold virus. This was the first time during cancer that I felt ill. And with that vulnerable, lonely and afraid. This was not going to make me feel better right? So, I set myself a goal to keep occupied and use this time to help my mind. I have EUPD and PTSD – this I will talk about with you another day but, it can mean that I find managing my emotions very challenging when ‘stuff’ happens and here was I in the middle of a lot of ‘stuff’! What I didn’t want most of all was for my daughter and family to feel any fear for me and that shook me back into the room – the room of isolation.
Outside of my window were daffodils in the hospital grounds. Now these flowers are both gutsy and beautiful and well underrated. They come up in the freezing and dark weather of winter. They push through the frozen soil year after year to be chilled and blown and they still do it. The first flowers to come through the dark months to bring that yellow ray of colour along our verges.
And so I set out to have that attitude to it all and asked people to post pictures of yellow flowers and daffodils on social media.
Within a few hours my timeline was filled with yellow flowers and the odd baby goat! Each one brought a smile to me internally as well as externally. The sun shone in my little room of isolation and plastic aprons.
Through this beautiful act from my friends I was able to smile through and find so much from that room. So much love and hope that no matter what was going on in lives there is always room to find a smile. And we share that smile and then someone smiles back.
And our smiles will be more infectious and more courageous than any virus.