Tuesday 21st, my second drip chemo session done and dusted. It all ran pretty similarly to the last one: we allowed a stupidly conservative amount of time to get to the hospital and arrived stupidly early; we rock up to the cancer DTU unit feeling smug and organised only to be told that they’re running late and can we please go back to the waiting room; after further probing it turns out that ‘late’ means ‘at least an hour behind schedule’ and we end up at the League of Friends café drinking tea and eating belgian buns 🙂 Not that the delay bothers us in any way – it’s not like I was planning to rush off and play a set at a rock concert when I got out of the hospital.
1. A chemo session is not the best occasion to begin a new book, especially if said new book is so painful to read that after 69 pages of self-enforced persistence, you feel like throwing it across the room, except you’d probably do some serious damage to people that could really do without adding head injuries to their current list of medical conditions. You then resort to reading the summer editions of ‘Woman’ magazine, which tell you in good faith how a healthy diet of lots of fruit and vegetables and regular exercise will cut your risk of succombing to cancer by 3 billion percent and you also feel like throwing that across the room, but again resist due to afore mentioned reasons. You then come to your senses and remember you have a devoted loving boyfriend sitting in the chair opposite who is considerably more mobile than you and duly send him off to equip you with a newspaper. Note the smile in the picture above 🙂
2. Two hours of Oxyplatin drip makes you very very hot. This feeling is exacerbated by the fact that the drug makes you hyper-sensitive to cold drinks (your throat basically closes up), so the only fluids you can take on are hot beverages. Wearing a tight woolly jumper which can’t be removed because of the needle in your arm and then spending 2 hours sweating profusely is not the way forward. Next time I will remember to wear a hooded top and leave the thermals at home.
I was told that the side effects you experience in round 1 are pretty representative of what you can expect for the future rounds – with the caveat that you’ll of course get more tired with each round and your skin tends to get drier and sorer with subsequent courses of treatment. Certainly this seems to have played out for me – I’m still very fortunate in not seeming to feel nauseous and the hair seems to be staying firmly in place. Once again I have the super-sensitive pins & needles hands and face and can’t tackle cold beverages without my throat tightening but last time this had faded by about day 4 and I’m hoping the same will hold true again. I have to unfortunately go back to taking the dreaded steroids for a few days but on a ‘ramping down’ dose (4 down to 2 down to 1 and then 1) so just a few more nights of insomnia to bear. So all in all, really no drama at all.
Once I’ve got three more courses under my belt I get scanned and they decide whether I need the last three. This week I discovered that – of all places in the bowel to have cancer – apparently the upper bowel is your prime choice because they have lots of it to work with when they operate. Which in layman’s terms means better recovery and no need for bags and other external ‘digestion devices’ post-operation. Nice to know.
Treatment aside, I’m continuing to keep myself amused by getting lots of fresh air and sharing good times with my mates and family members. Haven’t even broken the shrink-wrapping on ‘Interactive Mountain Biking for Xbox Kinect’ yet so I must be keeping busy!
As always, thanks everyone for your well wishes and your lovely gifts. They really brighten up my days. So far so good indeed 🙂