It has been a very trying week. After being in hospital to get some more fluid drained off, the next day we go to see the oncologist. She is frustrated. There is still no news on the plueral fluid but we all agree to go ahead with the chemotherapy. I will also get a referral to and ENT specialist as I have so much pain in my osophaegus which no-one can seem to understand. I am already sleeping propped up at night and still taking a mixture of pain killers to help dull it. The phlebotomist who takes blood is not the usual one and he seems obvlivous to the fact that inserting the needle in and pushing it around under the skin actually causes a lot of pain. After fifteen minutes of so of this, he hands me over to a colleague who gets into a vein on my forearm straight away. There are 2 research nurses waiting to take extra blood but the vein will only give enough for the basic tests so they fade away like sad vampires.
Thursday sees me in the chemo suite for the first time in a year. I am starting with Herceptin which has to be loaded. This means they deliver it over an hour and then I have to wait for 6 hours to see if I have a reaction to it. Firstly, getting a canula in is a major job and they use a vein in one of my fingers which is a little painful. I feel fine after the infusion although that feeling gradually fades away. By the time Mr Mason arrives at 5pm, my blood pressure is shooting up and my heart rate is high. A doctor is summoned. She has to take a full history which takes some time and I am constantly monitored. The unit has emptied out and apart from 2 patients who are waiting for transport, it is just me, Mr Mason, a doctor and nurse. The doctor asks for some bloods to be taken. I feel so ill and it takes quite a while for the nurse, who should already have left, to get anything out of me. The doctor rings the on-call oncologist who agrees I can go home if I take some blood-pressure medication as soon as I get in. We finally get home at 8.30pm
Friday I am back in the suite and they are very unhappy about trying to canulate me again as Docetaxel is not something they want to put in a vein that might burst. The nurse takes around 45 minutes to get a canula into my next finger and it is strapped down as firmly as possible. The first drug, Perjeta, goes in over an hour and I manage to sleep through it. After that, we have to wait for an hour to see if I have any reaction to it which, thankfully, I don’t. Then the anti-sickness meds go in and finally Docetaxel. Somewhere around 5pm I get a visit from Ms Cantini and Mr Tozer who have been to the radiotherapy unit. I also get a visit from Steve, the unit’s administrator, who tells me he is leaving during the middle of next week to go temping. He had seen my name and remembered me from last year and I feel so touched he has come to say goodbye. Steve was the person who was so witty during the ‘Dont’ call her Beryl’ incident nearly 2 years ago. You’ll probably have to delve into the archives for that one.
We eventually leave the chemo suite at 6pm, tired and just weary of the whole thing, My appetite is not great at the moment so we stop at Tesco Express to buy some eggs and, a current favourite, trifle. Scrambled eggs and trifle slip down easily so they are currently on the menu quite a bit. Mr Mason gets some fish and chips from our favourite shop as he is so hungry and I know he is tired. He is always up earlier than me and is also decorating my office in addition to doing all the housework and walking Dog. It’s such a lot for him so fish and chips is the least I can do. He breaks off a little piece of fish and puts a few chips on a plate and that’s enough for me. I take a raft full of drugs and then get into bed. I am so physically and mentally tired, I just need to get into bed and stare into space. It’s such a lot to take in but at least we’ve begun the treatment which I am glad about. The oncologist did say that if I tolerate Docetaxel well, I may be able to stay on it long-term. Hmmm. Not so sure how happy I feel about that but we’ll have to see how things go. We are hoping to treat this as a chronic condition but won’t know if that’s possible until after we have a couple of treatments under our belts.
So were basically doing OK and looking forward to visits by two separate groups of friends next week. It’s not going to be an easy road this time, not that it was last time but last time we had hope of cure and this time that’s not possible. Sorry, a bit gloomy this time but that’s probably all the drugs and I know I have loads of people routing for me and that feels good. Thank you.