Birthday Cheer: Hard To Be Cheerful When You’re On A Cancer Unit

It’s my 24th birthday tomorrow. There was a time 7 months ago when I didn’t think I’d see my birthday, then again at the time I don’t really think I did want to see my birthday. Now I am not so sure. I still have days where I wish I was dead and that the attempts had worked, but then I have other days where I am prepared to give life a go and see if it can throw anything nice at me for this year!

As my birthday occurs in mid-June I always see it as the mid-point of the year and therefore give myself time to evaluate the year I have had so far on my birthday. This year however, will be different. I am not going to look at the last 6 months, I think it is fair to say that we all know that the events of 2009 haven’t been great. The New Year started badly and so far hasn’t improved that much.

I saw Jane and Dr Mc yesterday. I was perfectly honest with Dr Mc and said that I felt my mood had been slipping over the past few days. He decided that adding an antidepressant to the valproate would be a good idea. He asked me if I had  any suggestions. Of course I lept to the idea of venlafaxine, for the weight loss reasons, but when we rationalised the last few antidepressants I have been on it does seem the best bet. Reboxetine didn’t have much effect on me until the dose was increased and then it sent me manic, duloxetine was the one I was on at the end of last year (and made 3 suicide attempts on and ended up hospitalised), me and the SSRIs don’t agree (everytime the dose is changed I have a mood swing) and I am still deemed too much of a risk to be given a tricyclic. Therefore I am back on venlafaxine, at a ridiculously low dose of 75mg/day.

Jane was very helpful and helped me to realise that I need to let all the people who I promised favours to when I was manic down gently. I hadn’t realised how much I had taken on when I was manic, and of course now I am not then I don’t have the energy to complete all the favours I offered so am going to have to bite the bullet and let them all down. She was as positive as ever and reassured me that I was coping admirably, even though I disagreed with her on this front.

I’m currently sitting on the Teenage Cancer Trust unit (they treat up to 25 year olds) and will be until Friday afternoon. What a way to spend your birthday – being pumped full of cytotoxic drugs that make you feel sick. Mind you, they also make me feel very drunk without the actual alcohol, so it’s all swings and roundabouts! My sister got me both the Ashes to Ashes soundtracks for my birthday, so I have some great 80s cheese to listen to which is always a relief!



5 Responses to “Birthday Cheer: Hard To Be Cheerful When You’re On A Cancer Unit”

  1. eccedentesiast Says:

    Happy birthday for tomorrow lovely. Hopefully next year you won’t be spending it on a cancer unit. You’ll be out and about having party poppers popped at you and lots of smiles being smiled at you. Take care, here for chatter whenever and if ever you want. xx

  2. Tiger Says:

    Hope that tomorrow, regardless of the fact that you’ll be on a cancer unit, is wonderful. you deserve it! ❤

  3. Alison Says:

    Happy Birthday Ruth, regardless of where you are, make the most of it, enjoy the music and sing along like no one’s watching. x

  4. Amy Says:

    Happy Birthday Ruth!
    I hope you enjoy the album, dont forget to put track 14 on, after all its Happy Birthday by Altered Images…. If you have the same one I do. I totally own that CD, well the one with the blue and orannge sky. lol

  5. Tom Says:

    At least you’re on a TCT ward – my son at 17 had to go on a baby ward for 6 months then at relapse at 19 go on a adult (i.e. geriatric) ward for a second round of chemo. The TCT wards are marvellous.

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