On Friday I found myself in Barbican library. Once again I had time to kill after my third blood test that week. My platelets and haemoglobin counts had bottomed out and my doctor's were discussing whether to give me a transfusion or not. In this dead time I could have wandered around the shops looking at things I didn't need and couldn't afford, but I was knackered so went to the Barbican.
I looked out at the Brutalist towers and central pond designed by Chamberlain, Powell and Bon, and shivered. It was meant to be a Utopian post war living and arts space, but ended up a confusing jumble of walk ways and imposing towers. It's supposedly the highest concentration of wealth in the country as the flats here offer unrivaled access to the trading floors of the city and a nice Waitrose. Unlike the other famous Brutalist pile The Southbank Centre which does it's upmost to be welcoming and open, the Barbican always seems closed off and uninviting. This is a shame as it has a brilliant concert hall, cinemas and a great library, with a fantastic music section. The brutal concrete towers matched my mood though, dark and uncomfortable.
I'm in between chemo sessions two and three now. What's called the hard yards. I'm constantly tired and irritable. Sleep at night is disrupted but does mean I'm listening to a shed load of podcasts. Days are spent shuttling to and from hospital for appointments and then trying to remember to eat while trying desperately not to fall asleep face first in to a pie. My hair is all gone, but that's ok as with my hoody and media glasses I look like about 75% of the blokes wandering around Farringdon clutching an overpriced coffee. My taste buds have also changed making drinking out of the question. I tried a pint of Pride in the Holly Bush in Hampstead and it tasted like bitter soap.
The treatment itself is bearable though. I'm in hospital for four days at a time. The drugs are all intravenous and with my Portacath fitted in my chest, my arms are being saved from cannulas and my veins from collapsing. All I have to do is to remember not to turn over on my front as I sleep as the needle can be easily knocked. This happened the last time I was in and it freaked me out as liquid was leaking all over my chest. Luckily it wasn't any of my chemotherapy, but just some saline.
I'll not know if all this grief has been worth it until I get scanned after this weeks Chemo session. I'm desperate for a break from this Brutal regime, but we'll just have to wait and see.
Currently I'm.. Listening to Stormzy 'Gang Signs and Prayer'..Reading Miranda Sawyer's 'Out of Time'... Watching SS:GB