I realise the last post was a little bit lacking. I was tired, and I knew I had to write it in order for me to be able to write this one. Which I hope will be better. But then the last time I slept was Tuesday night running into Wednesday morning, so who knows. I’m still ‘up’ from the steroids post Chemo Day #4. They gave me the same stuff as they have the last three times before it, but for some reason, I’m still awake. I don’t feel like I’ve been awake for two full days either. I feel like I would on a normal night at this time. A bit tired, a bit ready for bed, still having things swimming around in my head, while I sit in bed watching tv, buying dresses on the internet, waiting for my other half to come home from a function for work he couldn’t get out of and that I didn’t think he should try to get out of for once. So…
Chemo Day #4 was a Good Day.
It went really well. I’d sat for my bloods the day before; I had the Aprepitant in my bag because I’d collected it the week before; I went in for my radiotherapy at half past eight in the morning, and then I was in the clinic waiting for the doctor two hours before my allotted time – and was seen within ten minutes because no one else was waiting. I was a little bit nervous going in for two reasons. The first being this bruise:
It appeared from nowhere the week before. Well, I think I slept with my hand on my arm the night before it appeared. it didn’t hurt, but I figured it wouldn’t be a good sign.
The second reason I was a little bit worried, was that I woke up feeling a little bit crappy. I’ve spent the last three days since the weekend… wait, it’s four days. It’s Thursday. The last four days since the weekend trying to fight a chest infection. I knew I’d get something; I always do and it’s always a chest infection. I get them all the time when I’m not on medication that shuts down my immune system so of course I was going to get a chest infection now.
But it’s okay, because I seem to be fighting it regardless. I was worried that it’d show up in my bloods and my white cell count would be too low or I’d be too poorly and have to take antibiotics first or something and this last cycle of Cisplatin would be withheld for days or a week and I’d have to go through another week of all of this. But no. I saw the doctor, she said my bloods were good. She took my temperature and it was normal. She listened to my chest, my sides, my back, and everything sounded clear: so she gave me the all clear for cycle four. She commented that my hb levels were high enough to be high for a healthy woman, but that my potassium levels had dipped, and so she wanted me to eat more bananas, more chocolate, more coffee (excellent!). But no greens whatsoever, and no fibre. Fibre is my enemy at the moment, for the side effects I’m not mentioning on here but anyone having to have pelvic radiotherapy knows all too well.
So by half past nine, I was finished at the clinc, I’d ticketed my electronic prescription with the pharmacy and was on my way home to sleep for the rest of the morning. A personal record for timing. I don’t think I could have done it any better.
What was even better though, was that after my nap, while I was putting my shoes on ready to leave to return to the Chemotherapy Unit, they phoned me to tell me I could come in early for the treatment, which was already nicely scheduled for 14:00 – so by the time I drove to the hospital they were ready to hook me up and I got started at 13:30 with no waiting in their tiny waiting room.
I took a photo to mark the occasion, and then had my complimentary sandwich, yoghurt, coffee, and lemon barley water in my super-comfy Chemo recliner while I waited for C to turn up to keep me company. When he arrived, he brought cake which made it even better.
And then I was finished by 17:30, and we were home in time to feed, bathe and put to bed our little boy without disrupting his ‘normal’ schedule. It felt brilliant. To be able to have the one last cycle go without any hitches, without having to sit around in the hospital all day, without feeling poorly and having to find a corner somewhere to cower or sleep for a while.
There should be a guide out there for people about to start treatments. There should be a guide that tells new patients about the delays they might expect at the pharmacy and how to get around them. About how they can give their bloods up to 72 hours before they have their Chemotherapy, so they don’t have to give bloods at the clinic before they can get in the queue to see their doctor. Because it has made such a big difference to me mentally, the last couple of weeks where I’ve figured out the ropes and have been able to streamline the day, been able to go home for a good chunk of the potential waiting time. Been able to turn up and just get going. And then, get going home.
Reading this back, it sounds like I’m telling you that Chemo Day #4 was a breeze. It wasn’t. Remember I have a chest infection and I’m coughing up green goop. I’m having ‘bathroom issues’ I’d rather have at home and not in public restrooms. And the extra special early start makes the Tired part of all of this even more of an issue. I really had to drag myself out of the car and into the hospital. I walked at a snail’s pace down the hallways, all by myself because C has to get to work (he’s already late by the time he drops me off and has another hour in the car to go, and my mum is dropping our boy off at school and won’t be along for another hour and a half at least). I still wanted nothing more than to get to the next stopping point, the next waiting room, the next seat. It’s just the knowing that I was taking the easiest route through the day that makes these things stand back as opposed the stand out in the day as Bad points. Like they did the first week, when I cried my way through the whole fourteen-hours-in-the-hospital day.