What Kate Said

Six full days since I started chemo and the first side effects are creeping up on me. Gradually the feeling of nausea has got worse. Nothing unbearable as yet, but still not pleasant. I tried to convince myself it was not chemo related, but I went to bed Sunday night feeling sick, and awoke the next morning, still feeling sick. I mentioned this on my visit to the hospital yesterday, and have been advised to start taking the anti sickness tablets I have been prescribed now, before it gets any worse. The worst part is that the last thing you feel like when feeling sick….is eating, and yet I have to eat before putting more toxins in my body. This brings the total number of pills in the breakfast cocktail to ten! The second side effect is PPE, or Palmar-Plantar Erythrodysesthesia (hand and foot syndrome). Chemo drugs in the blood can sometimes leak out of the small capillaries, and the smallest of these are in the bodies extremities, i.e. hands and feet. As it is my left hand that seems to be affected, I soon worked out that the pressure from playing guitar (left fretting hand) is not helping and has aggravated the problem resulting in numbness and cracked skin. I was given cream to counteract this side effect before I started treatment, but it never occurred to me that I wouldn’t be able to play my guitar. This might be a minor setback to most, to me it’s the worst thing possible. OK so maybe there could be worse things, but I’m still gutted. PPE is a well known side effect of the particular drug I am taking. I’m reliably informed that udder cream is the best treatment, so if it gets any worse I will be giving that a try. I realise I am leaving myself open to all sorts of jokes and witty remarks here, but please feel free to have a laugh at my expense, just make sure you share them.

Now into the second week of radiotherapy, and so far no problems. It’s normal for the first couple of weeks to go by without any side effects, but expect them to gradually increase after this period. I’m now used to the routine and procedure. I know how many times the machine turns during the process, I know how many alarms sound when the radiation is being given, and I know when to expect the footsteps of the radiologists as they return from their safe haven. I’m even recognising people in the waiting area, chatting about our experiences and how we’re coping with our various diagnosis. Blimey, this cancer really has affected me, I’m being quite sociable ! For now, the worst part of radiotherapy is the need to travel to The Christie every day.

breakfast cocktail

Monday morning began on Twitter, the usual tweets about Monday morning blues, going back to work, end of half term and references to Blue Monday. It progressed, to New Order, Joy Division, Factory records and inevitably Anthony H Wilson. Just the mention of his name sends a tingle down my spine. In the 70’s and 80’s I had an intense dislike for the man. Probably the same feelings as many people in Manchester had. You have to remember this was the dying days of the punk revolution. Who was this posh talking, Cambridge educated man, and what on earth could he contribute to the music scene? Punk and Tony Wilson could not have been further apart on the spectrum. Yet 30 or so years later his legacy is as great as Humphrey Chetham, L S Lowry, John Dalton or John Ryland. Just take a walk around Manchester and his memory is embedded in the walls of so many buildings, some iconic, some hardly known or noticed by the passer by. I for one don’t need reminding, but it brings joy to my heart to hear people leaping to his defence at the mere hint of criticism. It is, as Twitter says…..What Kate Said. A few years ago there was an exhibition at the Urbis, charting the influence of Manchester music, and in particular The Hacienda. I am not afraid to admit that it brought tears to my eyes, particularly the poignant bouquet at the end of the exhibition, taken from Wilson’s coffin after his untimely death. Manchester’s re-generation is largely down to Wilson, he saw the future before anyone else knew it had one. In the depths of depression he could see what was at the heart of the recovery. What Thatcher tried to obliterate, Wilson nurtured, and sowed the seeds of what is now the great city of Manchester. He would be so proud of what Manchester is today. We don’t need a title to proclaim that Manchester is Europe’s permanent capital of culture.


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This entry was posted in Anthony H Wilson, Beating Bowel Cancer, Blue Monday, Bowel Cancer, Cancer, chemotherapy, Factory Records, Hacienda, Health, Joy Division, Manchester, Music, New Order, Oldham, radiotherapy, Saddleworth, The Christie, Tony Wilson. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to What Kate Said

  1. SWBVR says:

    I love what you’ve said about Wilson, the Hacienda, Manchester … I lived in the Hacienda apartments for 3 years, and was so proud of its legacy, so proud that I could mention it to anyone of a certain age in almost any part of the country and they’d go all glazey eyed and reflective. I however, wasn’t born until 79, and didn’t move to Manchester until 2001 .. I missed it all, but I love to hear about it from people who were there. I feel like I was born in the wrong time and place!

    Good luck with the rest of your treatment 🙂

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