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.