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Rubbernecking, Nerve Damage & Finding Focus.

Over 3 weeks ago, while at Watford A&E, a nurse tried to take blood from the vein in my right arm at the elbow crease and instead of extracting blood, her needle made my vein plump up and excruciating pain radiated down my arm to my fingers. It bruised almost immediately and following this experience, my arm hasn't felt the same and in fact, has gotten much more painful as the weeks have gone by. Now I'm unable to straighten my arm without pain and cannot comfortably turn my arm palm side up without sharp bolts of pain that radiate from my bicep to my fingers.

As an artist with a fair amount of knowledge about anatomy, I'm convinced the injury in my arm has something to do with my radial nerve and after a lot of reading on the subject, I'm also convinced I've got a goodly amount of phlebitis. My cancer hotline nurses have advised me to wait another week so that it's at least a month since the injury occurred and then if it's still not improved, to then get in touch with them again to be seen by a vein specialist at the Royal Marsden to see what may have happened. It's a strange feeling in my arm - feels like a tight rubber band that you can kind of see through the skin as it's still got a deep bruise along with the puncture site. Veins are becoming a big problem as mine are not at all happy so it's good that I'll be getting a PICC line installed on the 16th of June as I know it'll help though I hope it's not too painful.

Aside from this vein issue, I've had almost no side effects since my 3rd chemo and really think the Chemo Mouthpiece has played a huge part! I'm so grateful to my lovely step-grandmother who was kind enough to send me an unexpected financial gift that helped me buy this Chemo Mouthpiece which has definitely improved my quality of life.

An interesting thing takes place when diagnosed with cancer and enduring painful side effects and coming face to face with your own mortality - for me it puts things in stark perspective of life & death and all the petty things we humans fight over seem so insignificant when the whole focus is fighting for your own life!

I mention this because I have some former friends and relatives who have severed ties with me in the past for various petty reasons and who I've noticed are reading my blog and apparently still interested in my ongoing healing journey as I fight for my life.

On the one hand, it's curious that they're still interested in me and on the other, I feel like the victim of a car wreck with strangers rubbernecking because they're interested in the gory details but not willing to speak up. So to those individuals, I hope you are able to put aside your pettiness to reach out and be civil and if not, please step back from this scene as I write this blog and share my healing journey to help others and to share with those who care about me because I want to be surrounded by loving, positive people.

Fighting for your life feels like being untethered in a space that has not yet got a foundation to build on so, in order to find focus, I've begun to vaguely plan what I'd like to do after I'm cancer-free which hopefully will by September (according to the doctors and my brilliant psychic friend, Robert Caruso). Planning even in a vague sort of way is slowly beginning to gather the foundation and stability that I crave and gives me a tether (sort of). The only problem is the pandemic which still surges on around me and I worry that by the time I've beaten cancer and can finally go out, that we'll be back in another lockdown. I hope not because as much as I've enjoyed teaching online, socialising online and doing everything online.....I'd love to join the rest of the tentative world in getting out in the world again.

My birthday is in October and I'm looking forward to celebrating somewhere fun with my family and friends around me and knowing that the new year will be so much better and more incredible than the last one....(with no pandemic or unexpected illnesses).

Fingers crossed (slightly painful) that this coming week my arm feels less like a tight painful rubber band!