Chemo #1 Day 13

July 3, 2010

I’m now almost at the end of my first 14 day chemo cycle and thought it was probably time for an update on how I’m doing. I just reread what I wrote on Day 4, which seems like an age away! I can see I was being naively optimistic about my ability to sail through this on a wave of yuckiness at that point, but the two days following – Days 5 & 6 – were truly awful, totally off the yuckometer! I developed a lot of pain in my mouth, face and head which meant I couldn’t sleep for two days and otherwise generally felt very ill. At the time I was sure I was feeling the most ill I ever have in my life, was feeling very sorry for myself and, at times, totally desperate at the thought of having to go through this another 7 times.  However last Sunday – Day 7 – I gradually started to feel better, and on Monday morning I felt that a big fog had lifted.

As this week, week 2, has gone on, I have been feeling better and better each day. I have less energy than usual, but otherwise have been able to function more or less normally. I am really hoping that this will be the pattern – it is much easier to bear a week of feeling ill if you have a “normal” week in between.

I do however have ongoing mouth/eating issues. The mouth dryness is an ongoing problem, though it hasn’t seemed quite so bad this week.  I’m not sure if that really is the case or whether it is just that I am getting better at managing it. I have found it a real challenge to adapt my diet, but gradually we are figuring out what I can manage to eat and what I can’t. I think I mentioned before that the hospital warned me not to lose weight, but despite my best efforts I managed to lose a kg last week:-( . This week, I haven’t lost any more – though haven’t put on any either! Probably the most annoying thing about the mouth dryness is that I wake up approximately every second hour throughout the night feeling like I have been strangled because my mouth and throat are completely dry….

Yesterday I had my catheter installed. I have been worried about the catheter since the beginning, though I’m not sure why. I just think there is something very intrusive about having an extra piece of hardware installed full-time. But as I mentioned before, after my problems in getting the chemo last time, I have had a slightly more positive attitude. The actual installation was done under a local anaesthetic, and it was very unpleasant, but over quickly, thank goodness! I had had problems imagining what this thing was actually going to be like, but basically I now have a thin blue plastic tube – about 15 cm long – sticking out the right hand side of my chest with a sort of peach coloured nozzle on the end with a white stopper in (imagine someone must actually have decided on this colour scheme – what were they thinking????!!!!!!). There are two wounds, one where the catheter comes out and another they made to do whatever they did inside, and the wounds are covered by a big dressing, though the tube dangles free. I’m going to have to have the dressings on it for 3 weeks, and change the dressing every third day. It does look a bit strange to be honest, and unless I wear high necked sweaters (which I don’t intend to since it is summer) it is going to be difficult to hide altogether, but that we have to live with I guess. I’m also not allowed to use my arm excessively or lift anything heavy for 14 days – shame!!

I also had my blood tests on Thursday. The chemo also attacks your blood and if your blood counts are too low they have to postpone the treatment, so I have to have blood tests before each treatment. The good news is that my tests were good!

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2 Responses to “Chemo #1 Day 13”

  1. Ross Says:

    Yeh! The end of your first 14-day cycle! Brilliant! Fabulous news. Well done on getting through with your good old Sctottish sense of humour in tact! Lang may yer lumb reek as us Edinburgers say! Cheers & love from us in South Africa xx


  2. […] But I’m no saint, and I have my moments of self-pity, but at least I was looking forward to the treatment delivery being a bit smoother than last time due to my newly installed catheter. […]

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