Baby Steps (SCT Day +32) – 9 January 2016 (Cancer and Me 66)

10th January 2016 2 By Andy Burrows

It’s now 32 days since I had my stem cells injected, and 17 days since I came out of hospital.

It’s nice to be prompted for another blog entry. Several readers have wondered why my blogging has tailed off. One person said it was like missing their favourite soap opera on TV while it takes a break for something like the World Cup. I am touched, if not a little bit surprised, that people care so much.

You’ll be pleased to hear that the reason for less regular blogging is not because of any serious problems. It’s only because there’s not much to say on a daily basis.

The good news is that (since about a week ago) my sense of taste is much improved, to the extent that I can now eat normally. I can’t say that my taste and smell is completely normal, though, as I still have the annoying smell – a bit like dirty dishwater – lingering in my nose at least half the time. But at least food isn’t quite as bland and I can actually eat it without feeling sick.

Consequently, the light-headedness is less of an issue now and I feel a little stronger. Again, I do still get light-headed when I stand up, and I do still always need an afternoon nap, but most days it’s nowhere near as bad as it was.

I’ve occasionally been out and about too, giving lifts to the kids. I even went to the local shop once last week. And a couple of times I’ve felt up to walking the dogs with Heidi.

The problem is that recovery doesn’t progress in a straight line and it’s slow. So the first time I went out and walked the dogs I ended up being really tired for the next few days.

It’s hard explaining to the kids that it will be a slow recovery. One of the younger ones asked me just over a week ago (during a game of Cluedo), “Dad, when are you going to get your spark back?” Personally, I never knew I had a spark in the first place! But practically speaking, I guess I know what they mean – things like needing help taking the outdoor Christmas lights down, having to leave Heidi to take the indoor Christmas decorations down, needing someone else to do some small DIY jobs, all because I haven’t got the strength or energy.

There’s no sign of my hair growing back either. But I guess I only lost it three weeks ago! Time goes so slowly. And it’s strange having no stubble on my chin even though I haven’t shaved for more than a week (I still shave once every 1-2 weeks just to get rid of the odd wisp of hair here and there)!

Apart from that I’ve spent my time reading, watching TV and catching up on paperwork and bits and pieces. The projects I’m hoping to progress with while I’m off work, energy levels permitting, are to publish two books (both being versions of my cancer story) and to get an internet business up and running. Let’s see how I get on with those!

My next targets in terms of recovery are to start doing some regular exercise to rebuild my muscles; and to reach the point where I can stop being careful with my diet and stop worrying about the risk of infection in crowded places. That will theoretically be around the beginning of February, about six weeks after coming out of hospital.