April 23, 2018
23rd April 2018
We are on an Easter break in Dorset. I am cycling from Durdle Door, down to Lulworth Cove, then up past Corfe Castle and out along the hill-top range to Studland Bay. From the top I can see right across Poole Harbour. It’s beautiful, hilly and challenging, but the reward for the ups is always the view and the freewheel down the other side. I meet Amanda at Studland for coffee in the sunshine, then cycle back to Durdle Door. Odd that the hills seems a little steeper on the way back…
These are strange times. It’s sometimes quite lonely in this hinterland between chemotherapy and doing nothing. I’m feeling my way slowly but with a sense of urgency. It’s a huge effort to stay focussed and resolute – I don’t always.
Most days I read something about nutrition and trying to survive cancer. I buy far too many books, piles of which taunt me as I move round the house. I have found some good reliable sources online, and some informative and generous specialist groups on Facebook.
I get advice from a naturopath, so I daily take a dandelion and burdock decoction (liver flush), digestive enzymes (stomach repair), and several food supplements. I take a teaspoon of Bicarbonate of Soda in water (“for Bubbly Batters!”) to add oxygen, and a few drops of cannabis oil every night, (to shrink the tumours, hopefully). The only side effect of the oil is a deeper night’s sleep, and slight tiredness during the day, so I nap most afternoons.
My diet is zero sugar, very low carbs, lots of fresh/organic veg, and a little fruit. No starchy food, nothing processed, nothing ‘white’. Pasta is wholewheat, rice is whole or wild. We have rediscovered polenta and quinoa. I take plenty of flax and olive oils, and I’ve been advised to cut down from twelve eggs a week to four.
Manda is with me all the way in finding new foods and recipes. Much of our diet is heading towards vegan, but without giving it a name. I still eat fish and some chicken, although I need to know it’s provenance. If I’m out to eat I’ll avoid chicken altogether. I snack on mixed unsalted nuts, and sip on water with fresh lemon throughout the day. Trying to stay alkaline is key, and the lemony water converts to alkaline in the stomach. I’ve bought litmus papers to check the acidity of my urine – that’s not too nerdy is it?
It’s hard going.
Despite all these good intentions, I do fall off the wagon frequently. I meet a friend in town for coffee and I am seduced by a Pain au Raisin. It is delicious. That’s definitely a black mark right there. I vow never to do that again – yeah, just like last time. Sympathetic friends will say “Go on, enjoy yourself, it’s only one, it won’t do any harm.” But how do you know? Does one Pain au Raisin set me back? By a day? A week?
I know I’m being hard on myself, but I have no way to measure how well I’m doing. I had a huge wobble recently after a visit from a well-meaning hospice nurse. They don’t tend to encourage, they just nod in a way that says ‘you carry on if it makes you feel better but you’re deluding yourself.’ So I ended up questioning everything, thinking it’s all a waste of time, and feeling a fool for even trying. Bring on the cakes and biscuits!
I’m back on track now.
In case you don’t know, one of my biggest pleasures is cycling, and I’m so grateful to be able to don my MAMIL persona and set off to do 30 or 40 miles quite comfortably. I’m back on my summer bike now, my beautiful Cannondale SuperSix Evo, and in glorious sunshine last weekend I rode, with a good cycling buddy, a 65 mile sportive starting in Milton Keynes and coming south into the hilly Chilterns. All the indoor turbo-training sessions I’ve done over the winter are paying off.
That’s it for now. We have an exciting few weeks ahead of us, Ellie’s wedding is coming up fast. I have my suit, I’ve written my speech, and my shoes are polished. We are good to go!
On the way down to Dorset, we stopped at a surreal little place – a Reptile and Raptor Centre. Lizards and birds of prey to the layman. I think reptiles are a bit creepy, so I was pleased to have plate glass between me and them.
The Dorset coastline, which we love, and The Gang, who we also love 🙂