Ok so here we go and its time for the blow by blow account, of whats referred to in the cancer world as Cycle 1, or in lay mans term the day they shoot you full of chemicals that attack the DNA of your tumour. Who Knew (I didnt)….
I will admit now that this post is more personal than professional, and that on occasions I will be venting my emotions rather than being tehnical. We have time for technical whereas emotions wait for no one.
This is actually Cycle 1 of 6 Cycles.
It starts with a meeting with a consultant in Haemotology who has just been passed an extensive file by the ENT consultant.
If you ever have to do one of these meetings, just remember you are dealing with a professional whose job can consist of giving people some pretty bad news, and as such never ask the question that I asked, which was what would happen if I don’t have treatment? They stop writing, put down their pen as if they have just realised that they are perhaps dealing with an imbecile, they swivel around to look at you, with the answer you die.
Rachel and I now laugh about that !!!!!!!
At this stage its perhaps better to give you a rough timeline because my treatment contrary to what some media outlets would make you beleive, during Covid has moved so incredibly fast. Perhaps I just got lucky or perhaps this is actually just how fast and how incredibly efficent my local NHS actually is.
I believe its the latter and our NHS is just super effecient. In a nutshell from the day of my first ENT visit and including two full biopsys, numerous endiscopys, two MRIs and a pet CT scan, plus countless blood tests in less than 9 weeks, I found myself outside the cancer unit of the Royal Berkshire Hospital last Friday the 10th of July.
When I got the final letter explaining in black and white what I already knew I did what I think the vast majority of us would do and started my research on Google.
This is definitely a double edged sword and one that I cannot now say I would recommend. Perhaps I am as useless on google search, because the information I got back just seemed to darken my mood and outlook even more than it already was. Don’t get me wrong cancer deserves its bad rap, its a devious insidiuos disease that takes on many forms and it destroys your body and mind if not caught and treated.
What I would recommend clients of cancer do is talk. The first thing Rachel asked me to do when I told her, was that she made me promise to keep talking. Talk to your partner talk to your family your friends, work colleagues and to a charity such as Macmillan. Its true the more you talk about it even if you hear the same thing twenty times its ok, just keep talking because eventually it will seep in, the light will come on and the negative will become a positive, those dark clouds will crack and you will see a chink of light!! Its when you start to see a way out of this crap.
An absolutely amazing man said to me on the week before cycle 1 started, Liam life is not just, but life just is. While you are sitting there feeling down, dejected and guilty and every other negative emotion that you can imagine, you need to remember that although it may not seem so but life goes on. My kids have not stopped smiling they have not stopped playing, Rachel has not stopped loving me because I have cancer nothing has actually stopped since I got cancer, life goes on and you need to stand up and say fuck cancer I am getting on with my life as well.
When my son can write these words I have no excuse.
So when I sat there in the cancer unit on July the 10th and we had difficulties getting a needle in my vein and the cancer team were saying sorry I said I dont care dig into that vein because I need this treatment so that my life can go on as well.
And when they warn me about the side effects of my treatment I also say Fuck it who cares, I shall get through it with the love and help of my family and friends because I want my life to go on. Cancer will not kill me, it will not beat me or my family.
So I am now 9 days into cycle 1
Yes the day in the cancer clinic was hard. Yes the following day was rough. On the Sunday I dug out a load of soil and put in a load of patio blocks which was a mistake. Yes the steroids are hard work, they wreck your sleep pattern, make you feel weird and when you finish those you inject platelets for five days into your stomach and yes the anti nausea tablets actually make you feel sick. There are three other types of pills that you have to take, for at least a week but all in all Cycle 1 has not been that bad for me. I know its only cyle 1 and in a few more cycles I may not feel this chirpy. What I am trying to say is that we are all individuals and that we will all have different paths to walk during treatment, but if you can at all stay positive then I am hoping that this path will be flat and not all uphill.
This is where food can help. I shall try to help myself through this and doing what I love, in doing so hopefully it will help you. Together we can do this and win.
The following recipe breaks my golden rule of no sugar, but we all need a treat every now and again.
Love you, stay smiling and stay strong, I apologise about my use of impolite words but I will not change them, there are occasions when I feel the need to say it FUCK YOU cancer!! in fact I recommend shouting it at least five times really loud. Go ahead try it put on some music really loud and just do it five times and empty your lungs until you nearly collapse.
Now lets cook some sweet delights that we can load with vitamin C.
Rachel’s Madalenas (That she cannot cook) but loves them.
Here we go, here is the original recipe, followed by the healthier version.
2 whole eggs
100g castor sugar
Juice and zest of one lemon
100g SR flour
100g Soft butter or melted
Dash vanilla essence.
5g light brown sugar
Makes about ten small tasty magdalenas
(1) Beat eggs and sugar until white light and fluffy.
(2) Fold in flour alternating with the melted softened butter
(3) Finally pour in lemon juice and the zest of the lemon.
Put in a small cupcake mold or a magdalena mould if you have one, then sprinkle a little of the brwon sugar on top of each, although if you use my glaze recipe below perhaps leave the sugar off.
Cook for 10 minutes at 200C
These are lovely with either tea or coffee or just a treat after lunch.
Here is the healthier version of the above recipe its also easier in so far as all the ingredients minus the poppy seeds can just be mixed together using a hand blender as its a wetter mix.
40g of caster sugar
20g of Maple syrup
1 Lemon juice and zest plus keep the shell for a syrup later.
80g SR white flour
20g SR wholemeal flour
100g of soft or melted butter
5g poppy seeds (high in fibre and B vitamins plus they look great in the little cakes and add a nice nutty taste)
So easy peasy here
(1) Put all ingredients in a bowl or jug and whizz with a hand held blender or use a whisk and do it by hand but watch out for lumps.The when you are finished with the blender just pop in the black poppy seeds.
(2) As above put your mix in the Mold of choice and cook for 10 mimutes at 200C
So I like to glaze both of these with a vitamin C mix that also uses Maple syrup which is a natural sweetner and also a natural antioxidant.
Shell of the juiced and Zested Lemon.
40g of water
100g of maple syrup.
Combine all three in a pot bring to the boil and then remove from heat immediately and allow to cool for ten minutes and then spoon over Magdalenas as the come out of the oven.
Dont be shy with the glaze when the little magdalenas are hot, they will soak it up and when they are cool enough to eat enjoy the lovely fresh lemony aftertaste.
Hope that these work out for you and dont worry if you eat more than you should as they are small and you need a treat every now and again.
Thank you and if you wish you can have a look at the just giving page and do a small donation to our selected charities or simply enjoy the recipes.
Take care and stay with me and we will get through this.