Sunday, 13 November 2016

.........and we are off...

So here w are, very much in the chemo rollercoaster yet again.   This one, as usual is a 21 day regime  Todayis day 13 - and I'm still alive.   Thats always a bonus - hey?   So, whats a 21 day cycle then?  here goes, the best way i can explain things.  i am having a drug called GemCarbo, which is made up of Gemcitabine and carboplatin.  Carboplatin is my best friend, this is the drug that undoubtedly has kept me on this planet for the last few years, and horrible as it is, i would have it everyday on my cornflakes if i needed to!  Anyway, back to 21 days, On day -1, so the day before treatment, i have to have blood tests done too, just to check that i am in healthy position to have the chemo, theres no point having it,  if its going to ouch me over a healthy edge where i can't fight infection or anything else that comes my way.  then on day 1 i go to the hospital and have both drugs administered into the shiny new port i had put in, in the right hand side of my chest. this is due to the fact that all of my veins are shot, totally collapsed due to the damage from all of the chemo i have previously had.  This actually is a relief, having a port in, or my piece of lego sit is affectionately known.  within minutes of sitting down in the chemo suite, once my name, agrees, DOB, hospital number have been checked, the first round of drugs are already going in.  This first round, is a small amount of saline to make sure all the tubes are working and then some anti sickness drugs to try to keep the nausea away.   Tis particular chemo is given over an hour and a half, followed by more anti sickness and then a final flush of saline to clean everything through.  so the whole process takes less than 3 hours, which is manageable, both for me and my partner in crime for the day.  I am very lucky that i have a number of friends who are willing to come and spend that time with me and make the experience as stress free as possible.  So, thats day 1 done, i go home, knackered, but with the knowledge that the steroids i have been given in my "take home bag of drugs" will disrupt my sleep for at least the next 3 nights. i find these nights quite hard, i can lay inbed, my mind racing, aware of all of the things i could be doing, thoughts like "ooh, i could get up and make a cheesecake" but then my body is like"oh, oh, your going nowhere" and refuse to get out of bed.  Its so frustrating, but I've been  in this situation enough times to know not to fight it, nt to wind myself up, just accept that this is life for the next few months, just enjoy the rest! I managed to go to work on Days 2 and 3 and for this i am very thankful. i woor with me truly wonderful and supported people some of whom i class amongst my closest friends. Its good to be at work, keep some normality and try to tire myself out to enable a good nights sleep.  That bit doesn't necessarily work, but i try!  Friday was day 4, after being awake through mot of the night, i didn't wake up until gone 10 am, which is great and helped me catch myself up.  I don't work fridays, so for this week i had booked myself a bit of a treat.  A drum lesson - yes, a lesson to play the drums.  this is something that i have wanted to do for many years, but never had the confidence to do, but i just figured, if i don't do it now, then i never will.  Amazingly, there is a music studio less than a mile form our house, offering drum lessons, so i booked myself in and off i went.  Now, I'm a totally honest person, and i would never kid anyone that i have a single ounce of rhythm, so this could be interesting.  The hour passed in a flash and i had an amazing time, i can't rememebr that last time i had to concentrate so hard, but i really enjoyed and am ready or the challenge.  Friday night then was a takeaway from the local indian (at this point, I'm very happy to report that my appetite is still very much alive).  Onto Day 5 - Saturday, two world for this day - write off.  A day of lying on the sofa, saved only by boxsets on Sky.  our first choice is Scott and Bailey, never watched it before, so its got to be worth a go.  the good things about these days and boxsets is that it also get Shaun having down time too.  So we had a greta day, slowed out on a sofa each, Ralf curled up with me just in our own little world.  We should have gone out to a friends on the Saturday night, but i think pretty much my lunchtime i had decided that that was a no go,  there was no way i had the energy to get bathed and dressed and out and then be bale to actually converse with people, so sadly we cried off, but then with that came the relief that the decision had been made.  This ie=s where i plan to do things differently this time, previous chemo, i would just plod on with plans, nit wanting to be beaten, but I've finally realised that its only myself getting beaten if i continue to try to do everything.  this time, its all about relaxing.  Day 6 Sunday, a lot better than day 5, i felt more awake and my body wanted to work alongside my brain a bit more  - and i also had the boost of Lucy coming home for a few days too. Sio we just had another lazyish day.  Monday i felt "almost normal" and sent the day at work, ready for Day 8 - second chemo day.  This is pretty much the same as day 1, all the same drugs administered in the same way. The following days then followed as they had done the previous week.  so a couple of days at work, than a weekend of not being so good.  Our wonderful d=friends Georgina and Peter with Dan bought us a lovely tea round last night and spent a very gentle ebvenubg with us, which was great.  More and more now, to me time is so important, time with people that matter, making memories and having fun. So, now its Sunday, i feel okish, lethargic but ok. But now i have 9 days before the next round of chemo, so thats none days of feeling stronger each day and building up my strength before knocking it back again with round 2 of chemo.
With any chemo regime, you get sent home from the hospital with the obligatory list of side effects. Woohoo, so what i have i gt to look forward too?  Amongst others, flu like symptoms (not yet), a rash (oh, yes), headaches (oh yes), aching joints or muscles (not yet),  feeling sick (oh yes), loss of appetite (not yet thank god!), breathlessness (going uo stairs), Tiredness (in abundance), sore mouth (not yet, but get ready McDonalds, your milkshakes are lifesavers), Constipation (yep, nice), Diarrhoea (yep, just after conception, for what seems like forever!)  So, wow, what a few months we have in store, but I'm ready for it. Bring it on, I'm ready for the fight.
Going back to memories, the day before chemo started, i fulfilled a life time ambition of riding in a hot air balloon.  What  day, spent with one of my bestest friends 2500m up in the sky. Thank you Emma,  it was just amazing, so I've shared a couple of photos with you.
I hope that you enjoy reading this blog, and it helps make some sense of what goes on in the life of a chemo patient, and how, pretty much like an F1 team, it is about teamwork.  I couldn't cope with what my life is if it wasnt for my wonderful husband and kids, my sister on the end of the phone, my friends with their constant stream of texts, people feeding us and being with us and supporting us.  You are all ace. xxx

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