Sunday, 22 June 2014

End of chemo

Well, i have finished my chemo, and my line is out! It feels strange. I don't miss a plastic line dangling from my arm, but I keep acting like it is still there, (careful when I pull my sleeves up, etc). My hair has grown back and I had my first haircut in the past 6 months.

It is a good job that the line has come out, I had pulled it out by getting it caught of a number of items that I could of almost used it as a skipping rope. When the nurse puled it out, you prepare for the pain, in my head it had been tangled around my heart. It does not hurt and I didn't feel a thing.

When I talk to the nurses some make it sound like my chemo as not finished, and this is just a break. For my own sanity I'm going to see it as finished. 

In my last blog post I wrote about how I was in hospital with an infection in my line. Well they kicked me out after about 4 days. I did feel like I was just there for the meals as I felt fine. The chemo is making my feet and hands feel really numb this is getting worse and sometimes can be very painful. The side effects is also frying my brain. I forget what I'm talking about,  but when that happens I don't just go to the next subject, I try and remember. You can see it in peoples faces that after five minutes they really wish they had listen to the conversation as they may be able to help and remind me what I had been talking about.  After ten minutes when I remember, I realise why they didn't bother listening in the first place.  

I have had backache that has driven me slightly crazy. Pain is not just a sharp ache, but now a constant reminder that things are not, and never will be the same again, and it's impossible to ignore. 

I have another CT Scan this week, I am not sure when I am getting my results as they haven't told me yet. It doesn't matter how many scans you have, or what the results are, on each one It fill your head with anxiety. I don't want to do it! I have always been one of them people that stick my head in the sand for most situations that I don't want to do.

My last blog I wrote about living in the now. I know what I am about to say is hypocritical, but since my chemo as finished and I'm about to venture back in to normal life, I'm a bit scared. I feel like each step I have to tap with a stick to make sure the ground doesn't fall. Anxiety as become a normal part of my life. I catered for a party and the majority of people there where around 40. Due to my situation sometimes I feel so old. Then I see a group of people, laughing and dancing and enjoying themselves and most of them were about my age. I then realise I am not that old.  I know this type of thoughts are not my usual ones I write about on my blog, I also prefer the more upbeat, positive thinking self. But it would be also wrong to deny myself of these thoughts.

But distraction is for me the best medicine, and like I said my chemo as finished so it's now time to find more distraction and time to move on to the next thing. We have started getting more bookings for private events, and I keep pushing for more.


I am going back to work in a few weeks. I have also started to put some plans to work for my business.

But to say that the title of this blog involves the words "street food", I haven't really spoke much about it in these blogs. 

A few years ago I started my street food business.  I wanted to do something that involved the 3 loves in my life, cooking, eating, talking! And after a brainstorm session, I started Market Wraps. A market stall selling food that I had made, not knowing what street food was. I just wanted to do something I enjoyed.

At the start I never had a queue, I never really had a customer! The occasional pigeon seemed teasingly interested, but that's about it. This went on for months, I spent 40 pound on food, and never took anything. My business plan was not going to win me Business person of the year.

Leeds market decided to move one of it's twice monthly farmers market, and put it on one of the busiest streets in Leeds. This was one of the best moves for us. From there on we had customers! 

I see Market Wraps not as working. Rob and me knock ideas together and then put into practice, some work, some fall on miserably on there backside. I see it more as playing. Our menu changed, and we once put pulled pork on the menu, during an holiday we decided to risk losing our queues by taking everything off the menu and just do pulled pork, but make sure we do it to the best of our abilities, it worked and we got busier.  

A few weeks ago when I said to my doctor I want to work again, she told me I could occasionally work between sickness from my bed. Not capable to do much physical work I started to work on a business plan.

The bank, due to my situation have said NO! to a loan, so I have turned to a enterprise scheme. It was probably not one of the best ideas writing a business plan while I was off my head on chemo. I got to a certain point, realised that the idea would not work, went back and re-wrote it. This happened about 4 times, and when I got to the end and I had got the idea to work on paper I read at the bottom of the pre-formatted word document that I should only have wrote two a4 pages. I had written a book! One that involved drama, blood, tears, highs and lows!  And about 4 trees worth of paper. It took too much time to make it condense, so I sent it off. I think when they received it they thought it would not make any sense to read it, as it would cost more money in man hours to go through the business plan, than it would to just give the loan.... It worked!  I must admit I was surprised when I got the loan, and it has now put me in the situation where I now have to do something about it.

I have so many ideas what I want to do with Market Wraps, but it is impossible to do as I need a bigger kitchen to pull it off, so that's my first plan, and I should get the keys in a week or two for the new premises.

I am also had meetings with a marketing company to see how I can push Market Wraps out to a wider audience, I will write about is in the next few weeks.

My man made distractions battle with my anxiety, some days anxiety wins, but most days it doesn't. 

Yes the future makes me nervous, but with a switch of direction of thought, it also excites me.


Wednesday, 4 June 2014

What's next

It is 3am, I am not sleeping, and I am laid in an hospital bed. I have forgot how hospitals have a special way to see how you deal with sleep deprivation. I have had a infection in my picc line. A picc line is a tube that has been dangling from my arm that feeds chemo near my heart, and for the past 3 months this line as made it possible for me to have chemo without injections once every 2 weeks. Then just before my last chemo this has happened. 

I'm feeling ok now, but yesterday my temperature was up to 39, 39 is fever. Yesterday I laid in the hospital bed with my eyes at the back of my head acting like I should be in A&E on a Saturday night. When your temperature goes up and blood pressure goes down, you basically act pissed. Which when your temp falls back down and your blood pressure goes up to normal and you're back in the room, it can be slightly embarrassing when your not sure if you have been swinging on an  cancer patient next to you while trying to organise a singalong in the oncology department.  "Come on everybody! Always look on the bright side of...".  I apologised to the nurse, which, luckily I was told I had nothing to apologies for. Later on Rob told my that the only thing I was organising was the structure of a sentence, which I failed. 

As for the side effects, my hands and my feet feels a sensation like pins and needles, and also numb. I was told that after the chemo, feelings may come back, but also they may be permanent damage, not great if your playing Twister, but great if your trying to get away with the washing up.

So, my last chemo is coming, the tumour I had has been cooked and destroyed using the new treatment in London.  My doctor as told me I am his first patient that as had it, and let's see where we stand in 3 to 6 months, so what next, scared about the future? Well, I guess a little, but then I think about what I want to do.

And then I'm buzzing with ideas! 

Those ideas, I have already started to plant, and I'm sure that's another blog post.

I have always wanted to write about things I have learnt during this process as I know what is happening is, I guess is rare. But due to my brain been fried with chemo I know I haven't got my faculties to be eloquent, to be fair who am I kidding I have never been eloquent! Also I am conscious it may come across as been slightly pretentious. I have had THIS 'rare' experience so I know better!  I don't think I now know better, but I do think I now think  differently. But to say I now think differently, does that mean?   I now know better? No, due to me being still alive, I am also still learning.

So, the future? Well, I really don't know! I can use percentages and live scared, but two years on, I don't use percentages or probability anymore, so with that, I have only one thing, and that is the present tense, and personally that's not only magical, it's powerful. To totally fully appreciate the now. 

To live life in the now, and not fear the future anything is possible, I don't mean live life recklessly, but I do mean live life. Should I worry about something happening to stop my plans? No! What's the point, The only thing I should worry about is not acting on those plans now, as now is the only thing we have all got.

Of course there is always that voice, I think we all have it, unless it's just me! that voice that edits our actions, that stops us from doing things, that puts worry on our shoulders, and also that has the power to blind us of the now. But for me that voice doesn't place much worry about the future anymore.

I can see the irony, all those years of being healthy and well and at times worrying about the future, then suddenly you  have something to worry about and I then decided to stop worrying about it!   And with that, when I say I'm buzzing with ideas, those ideas have the space to grow, and be far more creative.

Now is the truth, now is really appreciating the conversation with our love ones, now is just stopping and looking, now is not only making that decision, but acting on it,  now is just enjoying the moment, now is saying, sod it! I will give it ago and try my best.  

I guess what I'm trying to say is, we all might as well make now the very best we can, because now is the only thing we have got.

Regarding that voice,  it may not worry much about the future, but it is still there and it still try's to edit. My voice right now even though It shouldn't is letting me worry how I am coming across in this blog, Its saying, most people loss there hair after chemo, you turns into Oprah! This suppose to be a blog about my experience, not "A road less traveled", but then turn that voice off and appreciate the now, and just think sod it, push the publish button.