Katie R
Posted by

Easter Musings About Hideous Chemo and My Weight

Katie R
Posted by
11 Apr 2015

Well my bloglets,

I wasn't going to put this on here, I was going to wait and see if a paper would be interested in publishing it, but I have decided that I want you to see it now and I can write something else if a paper is interested in me writing for them.  I wrote it nearly a week ago on Easter Monday.

I say I wouldn't change my diagnosis. And I mean it. Too much good has happened because of it. Sounds mental?  Well. I am a bit.

Today I am sitting in the sunshine writing this, remembering another sunny Easter weekend 8 years ago. I will forever remember this Easter as I felt so awful. Intolerant to the chemo I was on. Ignored by my consultant about the severity of it all. Just told to take more pain killers. More frequently. Higher doses. No you don't feel like that because the research says you won't and you should be feeling better than you ever have.

The pain. I can't describe it. In every nerve and muscle. In my bones. I could hardly hold a glass of water it hurt too much.

I wanted to die. To escape the pain. I had relief from it twice a day when I had a hot bath. One in the morning to get me out of bed and downstairs, then one again at night to get me back up to bed. This was my motivation not to be an ill person in bed. Not that the pain left at night. I would wake up every time I turned over. And take more pain killers. I was only on that chemotherapy for about 3 months. It felt like forever.

I was taken off them by an on call registrar at the hospital. I couldn't get the words out down the phone because I was crying so much. My sister took the phone and spoke to them. He said stop. Why are you still on them? I don't know who he was. He was responsible for me getting my life back.

This part I would change, to be able to come off that chemo when I first started showing intolerance not nearly 3 months later.

I'm a bit mental about my weight. I was fat as a child. An emotional eater due to emotional trauma. I now know what triggered it and have had therapy about it. I'm still working on it. Getting better though. My internal chat is kinder than it was. I still get annoyed with myself though when the hospital scales show I've put on weight. I hate them. Digital to two decimal places. So unnecessary. They don't need to weigh me. Well. At least I don't think they do. It doesn't impact on my treatment.

In a weird way I'm grateful to my diagnosis. To my cancer. I know. Weird. I did warn you. It meant that without trying I lost loads of weight. Down from a size 14 to an 8-10. About half a stoneish lighter than I am now. But without trying. It gave me confidence. Being thin. Not feeling fat all the time. Trying on clothes and they fitted. Didn't have to struggle to do up the size I had taken from the shop floor as I didn't want to admit to myself that I was a size bigger.

I had a photoshoot recently for an article. I was worried about trying on trousers for it. I have a bit of an odd body shape. All legs. Short torso and a high waist. Would the trousers fit? Should I have said I was a size bigger? Will I hang over the sides? They did fit. No hanging over the sides. I'm a size 10 for trousers. And yet. I still feel a lot of the time that, well, not that I'm fat, but that I could be thinner. And it's true. I could be. I have been.

After I came off the  hideous chemo and the pain began to fade I stopped taking the pain killers. I didn't realise my body had become addicted to them because they didn't work. Even though I was taking dihydrocodeine and ibuprofen about every 2 hours. They didn't kill the pain. So when the pain because manageable. I stopped them. Ironically. I don't really like taking drugs even though I have to take chemo daily. Anyways. I was a junkie going cold turkey. I spent 3 days vomiting, shivering, and also had awful diarrhoea. I now know why people get addicted to pain killers. I also went down to 8 and a half stone. I'm about 5ft 6 or 7. And I felt BRILLIANT!!!! You could see my hip bones, my stomach was slightly concave and that was bliss! For me. Apparently I was too thin to everyone else.

It was only temporary. After being able to eat again the weight came back and part of me, still, even 8 years later, strives to be than thin again.

The fashion industry and glossy magazines and Photoshop have a lot to answer for.

I have also recently put on a bit of weight which really annoys me. I was 9st for months and could eat what I wanted due to a stupidly stressful degree. Those days of a share bag of chocolate amongst other treats to keep me going are long gone. If I do that now. I put on weight.

I have been good with my running though and thought I had actually lost weight. Then got on the scales. Idiot. 9 stone 6 pounds. Not happy. I want to be at that magic 9 stone again. And I know that muscle weighs more than fat. And I know I should go by clothes not scales. I know all of this.

And yet.

But in some ways I think it's better for me to be concerned about my weight, no matter how ridiculous I'm being. And I know I am. 100%. Than to worry about other things. Like will I ever be able to come off the pill chemotherapy that I take. Daily.

With love and hope,



Hi Katie,

Thanks as always for a refreshingly honest blog although I'm not sure I agree with you about your weight as you're a perfectly normal size in my opinion. However I do take your wider point about the pressure exerted by magazines on woman to be a certain size and image obsessed.

I'm so glad that you're more comfortable with your new consultant. How is the new treatment going? What treatment are you on now? Hope you're enjoying the sunshine and thanks again for everything you're doing to help spread awareness and beat blood cancer.


Hi Andy,

Sorry it's taken me so long to reply!  I'm now on Bosoutinib (I think that's the spelling) on a fifth of the standard dose, 100mg a day instead of 500mgs, and I think it's going ok.  200mgs was a bit much and I started to feel side effects.  Check up on Tuesday so I will see what my conslultant has to say.