The day after…

In ‘the chair’

So I thought I’d just give a short update after my treatment yesterday, and include a little photo too (just to show I’m not making all this up!). That’s me (obviously) sat in the chemo chair there with, my temporary friend, the chemo pump attached to my arm.

Anyhow, in summary all went well, although as predicted it was a long day.

We had to wait around for quite a while in the morning for all my various tests and results, but eventually they all came through. Apparently my blood results were ‘beautiful’ – which means that my white blood cell count had recovered very well from the last cycle. So after a quick chat with the doctor, we were given the go ahead for the second cycle.

However, there was still a couple of hours before I was actually due to receive my treatment (apparently my drug has to be made up on the day, so they wait until they have my test results and know we are going ahead before starting the process). So Sally and I managed to get out of the hospital and treat ourselves to a nice lunch at the Builders Arms (a ‘gastro pub’ nearby – thanks Kate for the recommendation).

After which it was back to the hospital for a bit more waiting around, before finally taking my seat in the chemo chair. One advantage of being treated late in the day is that there is hardly anyone else there. So it’s a nice calm environment, I get to choose where I want to sit, and the nurses have a bit more time to spend with you – we met a lovely nurse who organised my treatment, and spent ages chatting to us about anything and everything.

The treatment itself was fairly uneventful. First of all they give you a dose of intravenous steroids, which caused a bit of tingling in my fingers. After that it’s onto the chemotherapy itself – that’s what’s in the blue bag above me in the picture. The drug itself comes in a clear bag, but has that blue cover put over it. I was intrigued to know why the blue cover – apparently the drug is very sensitive to light, hence also the orange tube through which the drug is delivered into my arm. That pump thing under the blue bag controls the amount and rate of the drug infused. Fascinating stuff (or at least I thought so!).

So once it was all done I was unhooked from the pump, and we were free to go. Fortunately we arrived at Victoria Station just as the platform for our train was announced, so were only just behind the main stampede of commuters (like charging wildebeest) from the station concourse to the platform, and managed to get a a table quite easily. I didn’t feel too many physical effects on the way home – a few hot flushes, much like last time, but that was about it.

Once finally back at home we treated ourselves to a pizza, and some rest.

So today has mainly involved more rest, although I’m not feeling too bad. They give you anti-sickness meds and steroids to take for the first three days. The nurse explained that the steroids can lull you into a false sense of security for those few days, keeping most of the side effects of the chemo at bay, after which you can come down with a bump. Which would explain the wall of tiredness I hit last time around the weekend after the treatment.

I did however go to Whitstable today to watch Saskia in her swimming lesson again, followed by lunch in a nice little cafe. Which was all very pleasant.

Thanks very much to all those who posted and sent good luck messages yesterday. I had intended to post a reply while on the train home, but my phone battery was dead by about 2pm. Need to think about getting a spare battery for those long days.

Thanks also to my Mum and Sister for looking after Saskia – it sounds like she didn’t give them too much trouble!

Right, that’s about it for now I think – will write again soon.

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6 Comments

Filed under Battle with Melanoma

6 responses to “The day after…

  1. Hi Ben,
    Thank you for letting us all in on this process of chemo. I had no idea about the details of treatment. Was delighted to hear that your blood results were beautiful. Am vizualizing your white blood cells dancing, breeding, multiplying and zapping the cancer cells. Also, I am seeing you strong, healthy and, yes, indeniably handsome, carrying Saskia about on your shoulders so that she can see the world from a lofty vantage point. I am seeing you and Sally celebrating together once this treatment is over and the doctors scratching their heads puzzled as to how you could have possibly recovered. They obviously dont know about this new wonder drug you have discovered: blogging. Its a drug that allows so much tenderness and honesty to flow from you and so much love and support to flood back in your direction that your whole being gets uplifted to a new plane of existence where cancer cannot hold sway. Totally cool. 🙂
    Love and hugs from Steph xxx

  2. Angela Hussell

    Hi Ben
    My friend Lisa at work (also one of your followers) and myself, have just been having a sneeky read of your blog, whilst making out we were consulting on a very important matter, which, of course, you are!! This is a great insight to your Royal Marsden routine. We are sure there are many folk out there, in your situation, who would find this an amazing support.
    Lots of positive good wishes as usual, Ange x x

  3. Claire & Phil Leslie

    Great update Ben – it’s so nice to actually know what’s happening when you go to the hospital and to get an insight into the treatment. I’m glad you manage to have a bit of enjoyment too while you’re there! I hope the side effects aren’t too bad. I wonder if beautiful blood runs in the family!! :-)xxx

  4. Christine M Austin

    Glad it all went fairly smoothly. Just wondering why you needed a ‘table’ on the train. Surely not another meal – there is a bit of a food theme running through your blog!
    Love from us both xxx

  5. Sally Vowles

    Hi Ben
    so pleased the treatment went well Monday, hope the bump’s not too bad for you.
    Always thinking of you, Sally & Saskia, if there is ever anything I can do to help please just let me know, and I do mean anything.
    Take care of yourself
    Sally xxx

  6. Glad to hear you made it out for lunch. Though you definitely need to go for the fish and chips next time. Will be thinking of you – hope you’re still not feeling the side effects too much. K x

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