After my first bit of chemotherapy I developed a minor infection. Now I was about to experience just how ill someone with a very limited immune system can get.
Thankfully my second lot of chemotherapy went really well. The nurses gave me the same combination of anti-sickness and anti-inflammatory drugs that worked for me on the last day of my previous treatment. I wasn't sick once and was able to function as a normal human being throughout.
Then when my counts came crashing down I remained fine for well over a week. Things were going so well that boredom became the biggest battle. I would watch DVDs kindly donated by friends, and television in the day ward, but there are a lot of hours to kill in a day.
For most people, including myself, reading would be one of the few joys of having so much free time. Another cruel side-effect of the chemotherapy is that it can affect concentration. I found this made reading a really unpleasant experience.
I was so bored that I was almost excited when I got my first temperature. It was only very mild to begin with and, to be honest, the first two days were pretty good, I felt fine but just needed to sleep more.
However, things rapidly deteriorated. I was having horrific night sweats which were so bad my bed needed changing three times on some occasions. My fevers raged for hours with my body temperature just short of 40C (104F) - if it's any help the nurses' charts only run up to 40C.
During these times I can remember attempting to speak and just burbling gibberish. I had to wear a Darth Vadar-like mask to help get the required level of oxygen into my system and calm a violent cough.
I can hardly remember the five days that passed after that night. People came to take my blood and check up on me but they were just brief blurs, lost in hours of perpetual fevers and sleep.
Throughout this difficult period the doctors and nurses were wonderful to me. I remember waking up some times and one of the nurses would be stroking my arm or just really keen to see how I was feeling. It was incredibly uplifting being supported in this way.
Anti-biotics were tried but generated little response. The doctors then switched to anti-fungal medication which slowly began to make a difference. I can remember one of the doctors explaining how strong these tablets are.
He said: "In a minority of patients this drug can cause temporary blindness.
"If this does happen, don't panic, it's completely transient and will only last for a couple of minutes."
Thankfully my eyesight remained throughout.
We never really got to the bottom of what actually caused my pneumonia. It was explained to me that the lungs are dirty places and all of us breathe in fungal spores that surround us in the air. A normal immune system should be able to fight it off.
Then I went home again to recover further, devour shameful amounts of food, and prepare for my third cycle. Unfortunately, things didn't quite work out as expected.