Photos copyright: Maggie May
I feel that I only got to chemo four by the skin of my teeth.
It was delayed by one week and I also felt that I was being dissuaded from carrying on. When I asked a ward nurse about this, she said that they were trying to give me a way out if I felt I had had enough, as I was suffering a bit because of my white blood cells being depleted and my digestive tract being so upset following chemo 3. However, they didn't reckon on my stamina and my belief that I am a fighter and that I won't give in.
You might well be getting heartily fed up with me writing about cancer related things all the time but I feel that as one in three of us will get cancer at some time in our lives, that I want to somehow or other, help take away the stigma from a once feared word and let everyone know that they can talk about it and that hiding behind fear, or avoiding it, will not make it go away.
I went in to Oncology early morning last Tuesday and had a full blood count taken straight away and found out quite soon that my white cells had perked up to a very good reading. I then had to wait for liver and kidney function tests that would take an hour and a half.
I chose a good vein to have the cannula put in to, one that hadn't been violated before because it does cause pain for weeks afterwards and theres no way that I would let them use the same vein twice. I had my pre chemo drugs put in right away.
The liver test reading came back and proved to be a bit low, but the doctor said that I could go ahead with chemo as long as I get another reading at my doctors in a week. I cannot get my head round that as surely this chemo will make it worse, but never mind perhaps there would be some treatment I could have. Anyway you can see that I did get into chemo four by the skin of my teeth.
I knew that if I took photos on the ward that might upset everyone, so I decided that I would take pictures for you to see when I went to the toilet. Reading that back I realise that statement could be taken the wrong way and I want to make it perfectly clear that I was NOT going to take a picture of me on the toilet but I wanted to take photos of the chemo bag and pump. The chemo is pumped in by electricity and when I go to the toilet, I have to pull out the wire that connect to the main socket, from the back of the pump and cancel the ensuing alarm. The pump then continues to work using a stored battery.
I have to then try not to tangle the long drip tube that trails everywhere or yank out the cannula in my right hand. That would definitely start the alarm up into action. Everything I do is with my left hand and seems very clumsy.
We are encouraged to drink masses of water throughout the sessions of chemo so we all seem to trundle to the toilet many times. I am on the ward for about six hours and I do find it a puzzle that I come back from several toilet trips and find the alarm is quiet and that no tubes have tangled up, and yet when I am sitting quietly reading a book, the alarm goes into spasms sending nurses scurrying to deal with it even though I don't feel I have done anything to upset it.
The time seemed to pass OK. Felt sleepy and had lots of naps. I really hope that I didn't snore at any stage.
The one depressing thing that I found this time round was that I saw more quite young people having chemo and some were only in their teens or early twenties.
That is something that I am grateful for....... this disease did not hit me while I was young.
I am at present, feeling tired and weary, itchier than I have ever been in my life...... to the point of pain and my digestion is all upset. No sign of chemo brain so there's always something to be thankful for. I had a few visitors today and it was sunny. Good to look at through the window.
I promise you that I will write a different kind of post next time. Something that will be fitting to Spring.