** I wrote this post at the beginning of May but didn’t get around to publishing it. Better late than never! **
The surgeon who did my back operation has said that he wouldn’t be surprised if I am permanently on painkillers. The surgery was very invasive, and caused a lot of trauma around my spine. In an area that has a lot of nerves, it’s logical to expect that painkillers would be on the cards long term. Except, for me, I don’t want to take the painkillers. I don’t want to take Morphine long term, for no other reason than failure to stop taking the painkillers is just that - Failure.
I know this is completely illogical. I know there are no prizes for not taking painkillers. For grinning and bearing it. But I don’t want to be reliant on them.
Slowly, I’ve reduced the Morphine and instead of being on 130mg twice a day, as I was before my surgery, (enough to knock a grown man off his feet), I’m now on 10mg twice a day. I’ve also stopped taking Gabapentin for nerve pain, and Naproxen which is similar but stronger than Ibuprofen. Two weeks ago, I tried to swap the Morphine for Codeine. Previously, I’d taken it before with no problems, but this time it gave me an incredible headache. I managed a week on codeine before I relented and went back to the Morphine. Unfortunately, my Headache didn’t get the memo and I’m still suffering with the headaches. Hopefully with time, they’ll get better. Of course, it doesn’t stop me thinking that the Cancer has come back. I’ve developed a bit of hip pain too, which is annoying. I have a scan in 4 weeks so all will be clear then. I’m not bringing it forward…what happens happens.
Every so often I find a photo and I try and think when it was taken. Was it before the Shit hit the fan? Or was it in the period before, when life was normal? When it was straightforward? I sometimes forget than Felix was only 5 when I was diagnosed the first time. 5 - only in Year One. Imy was 7, and in Year 3. So small. Like yesterday, but forever at the same time.
Try to think back to what you remember about being in Year 1. What about before that? It breaks my heart that my kids will have there childhood memories tainted by Cancer. I shouldn’t have to explain to my eight-year-old boy that there is no Stage 5 Cancer. Stage 4 is the highest it goes. No-one goes from Stage 4 Cancer to nothing, even though technically I have No Evidence of Disease, it basically means the cancer cells aren’t big enough to be picked up in a scan, and that the treatment regime is keeping everything under control. It can turn on a sixpence, and I could be on chemo before you can say “My Goodness! What rotten Luck!”
So as life goes on, we’re planning our holiday in Norfolk, Felix’s birthday, shortly followed by Imy’s and then Ross’s. Busy, busy. Live is for living.