The Shit Post Bullcrap!,Diary The 2020 Shitshow – Part III: The Long Road

The 2020 Shitshow – Part III: The Long Road

Diary Entry #8: May – August 2020

I promise I’ll get back to talking Bullcrap soon! I just wanted to tell this last part of the story.

Home Again!

When I first got home, it was like Jetlag. I was sleeping at odd times and tired all the time. It took a while for my digestive system to get going again, so I was taking it easy at mealtimes by keeping the portions small. One of my first meals at home was a ready made lasagne from Coles. Best damn Lasagna I ever tasted! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had way better Lasagnas. It was just due to my not eating anything for the past few weeks. My taste buds were going crazy.

I was sleeping on the couch at first as I didn’t want to disturb Fi and little bubba with the strange hours I was keeping. We were still in our apartment at that stage, meaning there wasn’t much choice in where I could sleep. Eventually life started to return to normal. I went from walking around the block, to taking bubba for long walks. I went from small portions to normal meals. My digestive system was a bit of a yoyo, but at least I could eat normally.

I’d been in touch with my dad. I couldn’t see him in person because we were still in a lockdown. He was recovering well. We compared notes and scars. (My scars were bigger!). It turns out that we were scheduled to start Chemo around the same time. Our treatments were different though. He was taking tablets, while I was going to be drip fed. My treatment was set to start just a month after leaving hospital, and last around three months.

I slowly went back to work, but it was hard. Both Fi and I were working from the kitchen table and looking after bubs at the same time. We were in lockdown in a small space, but thankfully things were about to change: We were about to move out to the burbs! 

First Chemo

My first Chemo was scheduled the week before the move, with the treatment finishing the day before moving day. After the operation the doctors had done some tests and found that there were 2 lymph nodes affected outside of the bowel. That’s not many, but it meant that the Cancer was at early Stage 3. Stage 2 usually doesn’t need Chemo. My Oncologist told me that we probably didn’t need to do Chemo, but recommended it just to be sure. I’m glad we did for peace of mind!

My treatment involved going into the hospital for a few hours while they pumped me full of radioactive drugs. During this time I’d eat sandwiches and work a little bit on Bullshit. I’d then leave with a little bottle of radioactive medicine attached to a port on my arm. The bottle was small container about the size of a baby’s bottle of milk.

I learned to really hate that little bottle!

This bottle would be attached for two days. The medicine would slowly drain out of it. Then I’d head back to the hospital where they’d remove it.

My first treatment went well. I returned from the hospital thinking: “This isn’t so bad, I can do this. Only five more treatments to go!”. That feeling didn’t last.

Unexpected Side Effects

While doing some packing that evening, I started having chest pains. Knowing that any chest pain wasn’t something to mess with, Fi called an ambulance. They took me to hospital, ran a bunch of tests on my heart and lungs. It was a scary time to be in the emergency ward. Aside from the usual chaos, there were Covid patients coming in. Some were in the rooms right next to me. My doctor had told me my immune system was currently compromised and that catching Covid during treatment would be very dangerous.

Yikes! Emergency ward after my first Chemo treatment!

The tests on my heart and lungs came back all clear. My Oncologist suspected it was a side effect of the medication. There were a list of 20 or so possible side effects, and that was apparently one of them. I left hospital late that night feeling okay.


The next day was moving day! I’m normally very hands on with a move, and was all set to go that morning. When I started to do some packing, I came down with the same symptoms as the previous night.

I couldn’t continue with packing! I had no choice but to leave my pregnant partner to manage the move. Fi’s folks came by and took me to their place to get some rest. That was a very difficult for me to do, but I in my condition, I was useless to do anything. I had to let go.

Unfortunately, It was a difficult move. The delivery men had trouble moving everything out of the apartment as the moving truck was parked far away from the lift. Fi couldn’t move anything in her condition, and we didn’t have much in the way of volunteers due to the lockdown just finishing. Even though the day started at 8am, it wasn’t until 6pm that the moving truck arrived at our new place! 

Getting On With It

After the stress of moving, we happily settled into our new place. I got into the routine of the good week/bad week with the fortnightly dosage of Chemo. I was working and cooking up a storm in the good weeks, and the bad weeks I was reading and bingeing Netflix. We had a spare bedroom that I’d stay in during my treatment weeks, as I had an inconsistent sleeping pattern. 

I was so thankful for having the extra space in our new home. While my sleep was all over the place, I also didn’t want to share the bed with an expectant mother while there was radiation in my system. We weren’t even supposed to share toilets for the same reason!

About a month into treatment, I had decided to take unpaid leave from work for a few months, as I didn’t want to spend my good weeks stressing about work and deadlines. We’d also entered another lockdown, so I became a babysitter for Bubs. I found my motivation and energy draining, so there was very little time for Bullshit. I wrote down the occasional idea, but I didn’t sit down at the computer for a very long time.

Loading up on the bad stuff!

As the treatment continued, my side effects became worse. I had extreme temperature sensitivity. (I couldn’t wash my hands in cold water). My sense of taste was numbed. Strangely enough my fingerprints had disappeared. Hmmm. Useful. A benefit? I considered a life of crime briefly, then thought better of it.

The chest pain was issue as well. It was the same side effect that I had that first week, but it got worse with each dosage. It meant that during treatment days, I couldn’t exert myself, or it would bring on an attack. Even just getting up to go to the toilet would cause this. Eventually I learned to just accept that was going to happen and stayed in bed those days. I got through a few good Netflix series during that time! When it was really bad, all I would eat was Chicken noodle soup. That helped!

Being in lockdown meant no visitors, which in a way was a good thing. Don’t get me wrong, I would have loved to have seen my friends and family, but with my immune system being totally fucked, it was probably for the best. That was the first winter I’ve ever had where I didn’t catch a cold. Another good thing about recovering during lockdown was that I didn’t have FOMO.

I really appreciate everything that Fi did during that time. She had just returned to work, was looking after our little girl and was pregnant with another little bubba on the way. With all that, she managed to take care of one big sick baby too!

Final Treatment

I counted down the weeks, and then the days until my final treatment. That was a good day! I had the bottle removed, plus the port in my arm. Winter was coming to an end and within a couple of weeks I was feeling almost 100%. The side effects had disappeared, and I had regained my energy and motivation. And, I was back working on Bullshit!

Hip hip, ho-fucking-ray!

My father got through his treatment as well. His chemo lasted a bit longer, but his dosage was lower meaning the side effects weren’t that bad. He had the Stoma for just over a year, and was relieved when it was finally removed. I bounced back quickly and felt normal after a few months. My fingerprints eventually came back too. Ah well. Dad took a lot longer to recover, but is feeling normal these days.

Now, it’s two years on, and I’m happy to say that my latest round of tests were in the clear. My oncologist told me that it is a really a good sign to see at the two year mark. The likelihood of it coming back is much smaller now.

Even though it was a pretty shit time, I’ve taken away the positives. I’m thankful that the cancer was discovered when it was, and that it wasn’t worse. I shudder to think what would have happened if I hadn’t had that test when I did! I also appreciate life much more and are so happy to be here to spend my days with my family.

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