Day 53

Acupuncture.

I feel dozy this morning, not really getting enough sleep. But I feel good. No aches no sickness.

Spend a couple of hours working on lymphositehp bringing the diary up-to-date and reviewing the early pages, putting in some photographs and tidying up the text. It’s shaping up, but I’ll ask Ali and David to have a look at it before I make it more widely available. I’m not sure how it will read to others, I’m really doing it for myself, because it helps me rest and gives my mind something to concentrate on in the morning which feels positive. It’s useful to me to record what’s happened, it’s very easy to forget. But like all diaries there is an undertow of vanity which I feel uncomfortable about. Though in the end it’s about communication, and letting friends know what’s happening.

At 11 I go to see Annie Hatfield the acupuncturist. Jane McL has set this up, I’m using one of her appointments. And Saz has also recommended Annie. I’m interested in the effectiveness of acupuncture in countering some of the impacts of the chemotherapy. We discuss where I’m at and what’s happening, and Annie suggests that she may be able to help balance the flow and pulse of blood in my body giving support to that beleaguered system, and may also be able to help with sleep.

The acupuncture session itself is relaxing, and I enjoying the peace of it and the pace of it. I live first on my back on the bench and empty my mind, and eventually close my eyes. Any moves around me quietly and places small stainless steel needles in position on my arms lower legs ankles and belly. It’s very gentle, I barely feel a pinprick. It’s nothing compared to the needles in the hospital. At intervals Annie moves over to her desk and consults her notes. She occasionally quietly talks to herself but I can’t hear what she’s saying. I like the sound of it, it’s as if I can hear her thinking.

After a while, Annie says she’s going to apply some heat through to the needles, and she takes some mugwort I think it is out of the bag and rolls it into little balls which she places on the top of two of the needles. She then lights these mugwort balls and they smoulder filling the room with a musky aroma which I quite like. After a while the warmth moves down the needles and into my shins. I can feel a tingling in my left foot and I’m aware when I think about it of the other needles. Are they tapping into and influencing the energy channelling through my body? I’d like to think so, I hope so. I’d like this to work. I’d like to think that there is more to well-being than chemicals and drugs, there must be there just must be.

I turn over, and only works on my back and spine. I could almost fall asleep. It’s gentle and warm. My right leg jumps a couple of times which I think is part of the nervous disruption caused by the chemo chemicals, what’s called peripheral neuropathy in medical terms. I was warned about this by Dr Kruger, and all last week my right arm and two of my fingers and my right leg have been aching and jumping.

We agree 2 follow up dates each midway between chemo sessions. It seems to me that I’m battling on two fronts, one is the underlying cancer and it’s effects on my body, and the other is the impact of the chemo chemicals. It seems a good idea to avoid the time when the chemicals are exerting their influence most strongly.

And will the acupuncture help? I like to think so, it certainly helps from a psychological point of view, it’s about taking some control and about countering the chemical onslaught. All I can do is try it. And monitor it to see if I think it has an effect.

On the way back home, I call in to my GPs surgery and pick up a prescription for pH testing. I’m interested to check the alkaline balance in my body. I also begin the process of getting copies of all my medical records from December 2012 when things seem to have started to go wrong.

I also call in to Morrab library where I’m delighted to find that they keep back copies of the Cornishman which I will be able to retrieve and make scanned copies of the articles relating to the storms in January and February this year so that I can add them to the seafront forum website. Excellent news.