I am really finding this hard. My girls returned on Friday, faces lit up with excitement at the thought of half term holiday and I can't do anything. I can't sleep because of the steroids until four or five in the morning and when I get up around ten, I am like a zombie moving around the house. I feel completely and utterly inadequate; I can't cook, clean, wash, get in their favourite foods, play games with them or have the energy for anything beyond lying around. And yet, when I do get into bed, my bones and joints ache so badly from the chemo that I can't sleep again. I am so frustrated, so angry and so tearful.
The tiredness that their school has engendered has made my daughters weepy as well and everytime they cry, tears fall from my eyes too onto their heads. The grey clouds outside mean that the lights have to stay on inside the house and the constant rain falling onto the windows is like a physical reminder of the monotony of time...
This is difficult. I am so low, so tired, so drained. I do summon up the most basic resources from my body to get dressed every day, go downstairs, talk to the girls before collapsing in bed again for the afternoon or going to the hospital for blood tests. Certainly, my blood cell counts are low. Chemotherapy doesn't just attack cancer cells but all rapidly reproducing cells in the body including hair cells and blood marrow cells. This means that as well as the hair, my white blood cell count is down which means that my barrier to infection is non-existent.
This, my dears, is not a life. This is a drudge, a waste of energy. I am not a wonderful, caring, lovely, all encompassing mother with my arms open wide for my darling babies, I am a ghost, a bald spectre who is barely moving around the rooms, whose path barely disturbs the flow of air.. I am not influencing my surroundings at all, not giving anything back to my dear lovely children and I feel the dearth, feel the lack of energy and power.. What lesson am I imparting? How am I teaching them what a parent should be?
My family though have been fantastic. My mother has been round every day and taken the girls out for various outings and my brother has let them loose in Central London today. Their step grandmother took them out for supper last night and a marvellous friend took the outdated contents of my freezer, cooked them and returned to me so we would have food...
When will this end? Will it end? When will the real Minerva, the brave, bold, courageous one reappear because I don't like this one. I don't like this mockery of her, this pale shadow that feels inadequate, stressed and tired all the time. Please, please, let me sleep.