I started back on the chemo-style shots a few weeks ago.
To give them their full title they are TNF-Alpha treatments and mine is adalimumab.
I took part in trials of the very first TNF-Alpha blockers that came to the UK (Infliximab) and I'll never forget the day, a few weeks into the trial, when I found myself standing in a Post Office queue realising I actually felt well.
It hit me like a wall. I felt OK. No pain? Check. No need to rush to the loo? Check. No nausea? Check. No crushing fatigue that makes standing in queues a Guantanamo-level torture? Check. After gingerly running through possible symptoms and finding none, I started looking around me at the others in the queue in some kind of trippy shock. I don't exaggerate. Looking back, I think I flirted with some kind of full on mental breakdown that day.
As the wonder subsided I started to feel angry. Furious in fact. Did "normal" people feel like this all the time? Really? I'd been ill since I was very young, so I knew no different, but all I could think of in that queue that day was what are you all doing with your lives?
If I had that kind of energy every day, that total freedom from thinking about pain and nausea and malnutrition I'd be climbing mountains or trekking through South America! I'd be dancing til 4am, whirling and twirling until the sweat made my make up run. I'd be Happy! Oh, surely, people who feel like this every day, people who are free are never unhappy! Why would they be? Why would the old lady behind me be moaning about the price of her gas bill and the man at the counter, why would he be so grumpy all the time? Why?
(**At this point I should point out that I live in Retirement-Central and clubbing was probably a little beyond most in the queue, but I don't claim I was feeling rational - far from it.)
In those few moments I realised just how precious life is. Every last second is a gift and if you're lucky enough to live it in good health, you are truly blessed.
Unfortunately, it's common to build up anti-bodies to TNF-Alpha treatments and born-under-a-lucky-star Suey has managed to do so each of the three times I've started on the treatments. But.....oh but, those few weeks where I feel just like everyone else. Where I can bake bread and tidy up and dance!! Where I can just be carefree! Not think about four hourly pain meds or weighing up chores against energy. Where I don't have to have a little internal cry every time my kids ask to go to the park!!
And you never know, this time it might last. This time it might give me just a few weeks longer. It might keep me feeling just like everyone else. But I can't imagine it any more. It's been too long and I've been let down too many times. If you see someone looking at you strangely in the supermarket queue, her eyes full of wonder, you'll know it was me.