Friday 20th May 2016

A pattern may be developing. After my first chemo session I felt okay for a couple of days and then it was on the Friday that it hit me. I started getting all sorts of aches and pains and I struggled to finish my shift at work. To be honest if sick pay conditions were better I wouldn’t have been there but unless I take my chemo days as holidays I wouldn’t get paid for the first three and I really can’t afford to lose at least three days’ wages every month.

In the build up to my second round of chemo I had been preparing myself for it to be worse this time as I had heard that there can be a cumulative effect with the first round being not too bad but with subsequent ones getting progressively worse.

Having had my second round on Tuesday this week I was pleased to wake up feeling okay next day. By  Thursday I felt a little rough but not too bad. On Friday I woke up feeling hung over but I was sure I could manage work so I went in at 6am as normal and found that, very quickly, I was running behind on the task I had to do that day. My job that morning was to markdown the prices for foods on their sell by date that day. It has to be done by 10am and by 7am I knew that I just wasn’t going to make that deadline.

I was prepared for that possibility and was ready to explain that I was just tired because of chemo if anyone challenged me. However it didn’t work that way. As the day wore on I became more and more tired, but also more and more irrational. Instead of just speaking to a team leader to say that I was really, really struggling I decided to push myself on as I hate saying that I can’t do something. There’s a part of me that wants to be the guy who laughs at chemo, who makes it look like it is nothing, but that wasn’t happening.

Instead I became bad tempered and cantankerous, snapping at everyone around me. Luckily my team leaders and section leaders are a great bunch and I was given permission to leave work early. As soon as I received it I got out fast because I knew that if I didn’t I’d embarrass myself and create an ugly scene.

Because of this I’ve decided that I am likely to just take the days off for next chemo even if it means losing three days’ wages. However, hopefully I could be claiming Personal Independence Payments by that time so I may not have to worry.

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