Chemo Day 1

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The lazyboys and the loo’s
No, the chairs aren’t electric – that’s my laptop cable running across the floor!  I was conveniently located next to the unisex loo’s – I asked for the same spot next time because with all the fluids they pump through one’s body – I was going every 20 minutes! Very counter productive if you’re trying to work….

Beeping visitors
Anyway, it seems most people were reading or having a nice social morning (the lady on the stool is visitor).  Bianca and Nige came to visit me, which was great fun. It also helped speed up time.  My session was just over 5 hours.  The machine beeps every time a bag empties, then the sister has to hook up a new bag.  I’m getting two types of chemo medications plus bone strengthening medication plus fluids with supplements.

Fighting carpets
I was hooked up to a machine which I had to cart around with me to the loo and to the coffee area.  The coffee making area is there where you see the large couch. It’s tricky enough getting into that area with the drip machine but lo and behold, some clever cat has placed a thick pile carpet slap bang in the middle.  Do they not know that thick pile carpets and the wheels of a drip don’t get along?  I stopped coffee as soon as I noticed my loo intervals shrinking….

The Sister and The Size
The place is really big, I didn’t count but it must have place for about 30 patients and they come and go all day.  We all have our time slots and the place is divided up into areas. There is a sister for each area.  She runs around all the time hooking up new bags or doing her admin here behind me.  (She’s the one who took the photos.)  She sat with me and once again went over all the possible side effects. There are so many, it boggles the mind. Problem is, chemo not only attacks affected cells, it attacks (almost?) all your cells.  I received reading material explaining all the drugs I’m receiving.

The Process and The Pain
The process starts off with the nurse putting a warm beanbag on one’s arm to warm up the veins. (Every week they’re going to alternate the arms.)   Then two tourniquets are applied and the needle inserted while you cringe and you try to read the fine print on bottles 500 meters away and your toes curl so much your might damage your shoes….. no it’s not nice. Ohhhhh and then there is one bag of medication that hurts so bad when injected – makes one’s hand hurt and I cried out to the sister a couple of times, then she changed the ‘medication to fluid’ ratio and we put a warm beanbag on my hand. The sister has to often come past to check that the fluid is still flowing and that there are no blockages.


The Good the Bad and the Ugly
I worked through the reading material and of course I have 101 side effects to watch out for and each one is ‘reportable’ – I received a list of contact numbers.  Ready?  Obviously the nausea and tiredness most people know about, then there is the possible liver and kidney damage (one has regular blood tests throughout the chemo process to check white & red blood cells and state of organs, that sort of thing), damage to hearing (which can be permanent!), numbness or tingling in fingers and toes, blood clots, taste alterations, no resistance to infection, bleeding (internal or other), breathlessness, flu-like symptoms, constipation, diarrhea, feeling weak, temperature, chest pains, swelling.

So far, touch wood, on Day 1 I have no symptoms. I received a course of anti-nausea pills to take over 3-5 days.  Only someone (in his wisdom) decided to add some cortisone to my drip (his reasons were explained to me but hmm I can’t remember), which reduced my sleep from 12 hours (last week during radiation) to 5 hours last night.  ‘No it’s such a small amount it won’t have an effect.’ ‘No the radiation is such a small amount it can’t make you sleep more.’ 🙂


Kissing Cousins
I must apologise to friends and family but I’m no longer going to kiss and tell, I mean kiss and hug! I have been warned that my resistance to colds and flu and general germs will be almost nil and that I have to be very careful. Dr Google says people are contagious 1 day before they start showing cold and flu symptoms.

The Egg remained in place
Bianca and Nige asked me if I’m okay for lunch. I said yes sure, I packed in my usual lunch of greek salad and egg. The immediate response was ‘Egg? You mean you’re going to eat a hard boiled egg – HERE?’  Needless to say, the egg made it all the way back home!

Next steps
If all goes well with my bloodtest on Tuesday next week, then I’ll have a +-1.5 hour session next week.


More treatment

Radiation was delayed because of a broken machine but started yesterday – completely painless, 15 minutes in total.  For another +/- 10 days. It’s my second round of lung radiation (besides the brain radiation I’ve also had). But the left lung is the primary site of the cancer and it’s been spreading from there (mestastising).

My new mantra

Lung radiation starts Monday 11 April for 8 days.  According to my oncologist, I should not experience side effects and each session is a quick 15 minutes from start to finish.

I learnt the above affirmation from Emile Coue by reading Mind Power by John Kehoe, a very powerful book.

Besides my painful back (round about the shoulder blades), I have no complaints and can function as normal.  Hope to post more photos as I get going with radiation and chemo.