Chemotherapy cycles completed – what a release!
So yesterday saw me at the chemo unit for what I hope is the very last time. Before setting off I decided to bring the highly skilled nurses a gift. But what? They are given so many chocolates, cakes and biscuits and they really shouldn’t be eating too many of those (but the nurses in our chemo unit do actually buck that trend, being mostly slim). Flowers? Not allowed in hospitals. Books? No idea what they like, and yesterday’s nurse (Grace) told me she never has time to read, being completely shattered at bedtime.
So I hit upon a basket of fruit. I scoured the supermarket shelves for suitable items and came up with this.
Grace had quite a lot of difficulty finding a decent vein into which to pump the drugs. This is partly because they try to use a different vein each time, and I’m running out of suitable ones, plus the fact that only my right arm can be used. My left arm is forbidden territory due to the fact that since the operation I have lost a lot of lymph nodes from that area. In fact, I will always have to be very careful about damage to the left arm – blood tests, insect bites, scratches, sunburn: I have to avoid them all. My veins are also getting a little bit hardened, and I feel an ache where they run up the arm. I believe there’s a cream I could use and I shall ask the pharmacist for advice here. The benefits of a PICC line are clear, and had I been having more cycles, I would surely have had one.
Eventually the sister came along and after two more attempts, found a suitable place. All in all four needles were stuck into me until the cannula could go in, and the locations are starting to bruise up nicely.
Stephen didn’t come this time. We decided that he has so many business travel commitments that he really didn’t need to add yet another long-haul flight to the UK to add to his stress. I have been coping very well with the side-effects. It was great having him here for two of my cycles, being squired around to my various activities, and he enjoyed meeting up with his South Coast friends again. He hadn’t seen many of them for years. When he comes over it’s usually to London and no car. Having a car gave him the freedom to catch up with so many mates.
Last week I attended a Zumba class. I had so much fun that I immediately booked three more. I shall even try to go tomorrow, despite the tiredness and the dry mouth. Exercise is very important, as is rest, and I’m trying to get the balance right for me.
On Monday I needed to have a blood test to ensure that my antibodies had built up sufficiently to withstand the fourth cycle. I had an early appointment and was seen quickly. But how stupid! I had forgotten my blood form. I had to drive home, pick it up and go back. Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait too long for the second attempt. I am getting a bit forgetful these days. Old age? The effects of multiple medical appointments? Who knows?
My next step is to recover from the chemotherapy (a little holiday in Devon will help) and then a three-week course of radiotherapy. I have an appointment with the consultant who will look after me for this, so I shall soon know when and where this will all take place.
After that I may be able to relax and start to thank everyone who has helped. I’m mulling over some ideas.
My hair should start to grow back towards the end of May. I’ve saved on hairdressing bills recently but am looking forward to Jo teasing my new head of hair into shape.
My next post will be placed into the “post-chemo” category. I sincerely hope that my musings have helped anyone reading this who is at the start of the journey. I admit to being scared before I started, but it’s a fear of the unknown. Once I started the fears (but not the anticipation) evaporated. And if you are not on the journey yourself I hope that every one of my 1669 followers has learned something about cancer treatment. I realise that I have got off lightly. Lots of people suffer more than I have. But then lots of people are with me in the “let off lightly” camp.
I shall keep blogging because I have a way to go. I hope you will stay with me. And thanks for following me thus far!