I turned to Mariacristina. “You know, cuore,” I said. She raised an eyebrow, perhaps aware of the imminent musical plagiarism to which she was about to be subjected.
“I would walk 500 miles…” I began.
“Not with those chicken legs, you wouldn’t,” she replied.
It was a fair point. One of the consequences of the time I spent in hospital recently, as well as the relatively sedentary lifestyle I had at home before and in between those visits when not feeling 100%, is that my legs have gone from the strapping 1st XV winger’s thighs in which I used to take such pride to puny Size Zero model legs (and no, I don’t shave my legs, it’s just that the hair is very blonde so you can’t really see it very well).
That’s a slight exaggeration, but they’re definitely not very strong. As a result, I’ve had to cut down on my jaywalking (I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to break into a jog to reach the other side when a maniac driver accelerates towards me) and – to Mariacristina’s delight – relied on taxis more than usual to get to bits of Streatham that are not just around the corner. Having said that, I’ve been doing my best to exercise my legs and make the most of the world while there’s no treatment going on.
Excitingly, that’s included the cinema (12 Years a Slave – haunting; Wolf of Wall Street – fun); Tiger restaurant for Vietnamese/Thai/Chinese with my ever-wonderful father and Sue (a small gesture of thanks for all the help and support they’ve given, most recently bringing me home from the Royal Free, mending our shower fan and ironing all my shirts); the Hideaway Jazz Café for a yummy brunch of eggy bread and bacon and a delicious hot chocolate (I even walked there AND back); and the local Railway pub for great burgers. Then, to top it all, after watching the rugby and celebrating a friend’s 30th in a pub on Saturday, on Sunday Mariacristina took me to the magnificent Hawksmoor on Air Street – fabulous from starter to dessert but I was particularly excited by the steak. It’s exciting not to be neutropaenic – I even got my thinning hair cut!
Another side effect, this time more directly from the treatment I’ve had, is that my fingers are still tingly. This is a known and expected consequence of having vincristine chemo, but that doesn’t make it any less annoying. I have bad circulation to my hands anyway, which combines with the lack of full, normal feeling in my fingertips to make my hands feel a bit disconnected. I’m usually quite good with fiddly things such as buttons, but recently I’ve had to ask other people for help with opening cheese packets etc. It has given me an excuse to buy some fingerless gloves, though, which belie my status as a home-owner but at least help keep my hands warm while still allowing me to type etc. The tingly effect should wear off, but it shows no signs of doing so yet.
Other than that, I’ve not much to complain about. My general blood counts are holding up well, although some craziness with my liver function has left me grateful I haven’t been back on the beer – but also given me a reason to stop a couple of my meds, so I’m on a pretty light pharmaceutical regime, too.
Life’s pretty good, all in all!