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Rock Maze
  • Writer's pictureNeil

So ..... I got myself a new coat, some Jack Daniels and an Unexpected Friend

Thursday, am I on the way up? No, not really. The chemo gets more horrible each time. 4 down 9 to go (maybe). This cancer malarkey is not much fun. Today my skin has felt sensitive all day. I know the drugs takes a few days to gather steam but I get really frustrated. I just want to get on and do things.  It doesn't matter how I try to keep my chin up I’m never without a reminder of my fate. 

This morning I had some welcome relief. Lauren got in touch for a sunset chat. She was in the process of running one of her very successful picnics in Sydney. Today the customer booked a picnic because he was going to propose. I sneaked a look. What a nice way to wake up.

For the first few days of treatment it seems the drugs end up in my mouth. Very nasty indeed. Strong flavoured food, not necessarily hot spicy food, seems to help. I’ve also been experimenting with snacky things to try to takes the taste away with varying amounts of success. I’ve tried Cadburys Twirls (ok but limited success),  chocolate filled crepes (OK ish) Werther’s Originals (not bad), soft liquorice (not good), Kelly's ice cream (pretty good and it’s got no palm oil), Mini Magnums (good), biscuits (depends, but pretty good), red wine (challenging, I want it to be good but it’s not), Mini Cheddars (pretty good), fruit (all good), cheese and crackers (good but only if eaten with my pickle), Jack Daniels Tennessee Fire Cinnamon Whiskey (I’m not sure, I’ll try another). I didn’t think it would take so much effort and time to find palatable snacks but I’m up for the challenge. 

Yesterday wasn't a good day either. It wasn't much worse, I suppose, than a “normal” first Wednesday of my cycle but I’ll never get used to this feeling of crappyness. It was a double crap day. I was feeling miserable but that’s not all I was dealing with.

When I had my first operation, nearly 3 years ago it was followed by a brutal chemotherapy regime. But in my colourful shirt, cheerful manner, I stoically endured. I just hope you don’t go there it’s hell. Luckily back in the day, pre Covid, Tricia was always by my side. Not so now!

I think it was my second session (I had four sessions) when Tricia and I met another couple where “he" (let’s call him my unexpected friend) was facing the same reality. We quickly bonded. We arranged to meet on one of our “good days" for a coffee. We got along like a house on fire. Coffee, at the Boat House in Charlestown turned into Lunch and ran the risk of turning into afternoon tea had fatigue not set in. We live fairly near each other so we continued to support one another. Our treatment and prognosis was similar although my surgery had far less impact than his. Later that year, as a present to myself and because I hankered after some kind of sports car, I decided to seek out a boys toy. I shared my plans with my unexpected friend. Well what a surprise my unexpected friend was the proud owner of a MK1 Mazda MX5.  So I set about searching for one. By the June I’d found a bright red MK3 MX5. So now there was 2. A close friend of Tricia and I also had an MX5. His is a MK2 covered in graphics. Then there were 3. 

Three Mazda MX5s makes a road trip. So I book a few nights away for us all in a couple of contemporary houses in Brittany. I couldn’t resist. 

I’m not sure if my unexpected friend and his wife had taken their car abroad before but we had a fine ole time. Good food, good wine, good laughs and best of all good company. We were all busy making memories. 

Like me, my unexpected friend has tumours that are being controlled and slowed down by chemo. He is now at a different stage from me.  Now I hear his tumours are growing again. He’s facing another chemo cocktail.  Possibly more shitty than before. My heart goes out to them both. 

On a different tack completely, don’t forget we're off on a walk again next Thursday the 29th October starting from Lerryn at 10am. The weather isn’t looking brilliant. But remember the old adage from Alfred Wainwright.  “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing"

So .... I got myself a new coat. 

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