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Wednesday 8 May 2013

So what's having chemo really like?

I read somewhere that illness makes one narcissistic.

Today is Wednesday, chemo day.  I get up early, make tea and usually watch Keeping Britain Alive in bed, with a handful of biscuits.

By 6.30 I am contemplating my shower, being given my instructions for the day by G and texting E to see if she is coming home, loading the dishwasher and the washing machine and tidying up, as I will be out for most of the day.

I have breakfast, pack my bag with any books I have read and spare magazines to drop off in the MacMillan Day Patient Unit and pack up some food and snacks.

9.30 we set off for a blood test at 10.00

I now have a PICC line so no need to keep my hands in gloves so they can find a vein.  It is a weird feeling as it sometimes itches on my chest and you encounter a metal plate instead of 48 year old, slightly sagging flesh.  The bit in my neck is the most irritating as, if you have your head at the wrong angle, it feels like you have something stuck in your throat.  As I said, weird.

My PICC line was put in by the lovely Rupert, an anathewhatsit.  Rupert is charming, clever, gentle and reassuring.  His only drawback is he looks like Mr Bean.  Really.  He made me laugh so much when he said that if I was nervous about having this done by Mr Bean, imagine what some parents felt like when he carried away their child.....

The blood is drawn through my line, which involves a very nice nurse sticking a very short needle (phew!) into the metal plate in my chest.  There is then a bit of fiddling to make sure we have got it in the right place and various tubes are attached, blood is drawn and I am then sent off for a couple of hours whilst the results come in.

The great thing about the Day Unit is that you get to sit in a Lazy Boy chair, with a pillow and we have a tea lady who comes round every couple of hours with an old fashioned tea trolley.  I settle myself down, marking my territory by spreading my bottle of water, various food parcels, newspaper, phone etc on the little table beside me and prepare for chemo.  It is very important to drink lots and eat to keep your strength up.  Besides, there is little else to do except listen to the "chemo chorus" of the beeping and buzzing of the chemo machines.

What happens first is I get four massive injections - steroids, antihistamine, anti sickness and some other anti allergy stuff and then they attach the bag and start the chemo (see through this time, not red like last time).  I then have about an hour and a half of just sitting there, followed by a flush through, detaching of all the tubes, a sticking plaster over the tiny hole and am sent home (via an emergency run for the loo!).

I feel fantastic for the next 36 hours.  That'll be the steroids then.  Friday evening and Saturday finds me a bit mouldy, snappy, tired and generally.. well, mouldy.  By Sunday I have begun to perk up, Monday and Tuesday tend to be good days and then Wednesday comes around again and we start all over again.

Weirdly I have felt progressively better as the chemo has gone on, rather than worse.  My only mimble is that my hair is nearly gone and one does feel naked without hair....

1 comment:

  1. Read your post, Charlotte. Sending you love and strength. Do they provide DVD players there in case you want to watch a movie? Would they if you wanted to?