July 7th 2011 - NOW
Sitting here writing this on 7th July 2011 brings back so many memories of what happened a year ago. I can only write so much and have to leave out a lot, but I hope this gives you, dear reader, a taste of what it is like for those who go through this. I will tell the tale of those who supported me on this journey later. The wonderfull family and friends who helped me through this. But for now lets go back one year to the start of my chemotherapy journey
July 7th 2010 THEN
Well what a day that was....
In the Ingham ward at 9am, the journey there was full of anxiety, fear and then resignation, but hope was there as well, At least I was doing something now to fight back. After 4 months of no solid food, sipping thin soup and strained porridge, gagging on energy drinks and wondering if I would ever eat a solid meal again, now began the fight. I was told that the chemo would probably shrink the tumour, this would enable the operation to take place and maybe I would be able to eat again. Now that is hope!
Into the hospital reception and after a short wait I was shown into the suite were the drugs are administered. I felt like I had joined a club. There were other people there, some waiting and some already connected up. Machines constantly beeped and nurses went about their duties quietly and cheerfully. I was shown to a chair and a nurse confirmed my details, then a warm pad was placed on my right hand, this helps raise the veins for the needle. The drugs arrived and 2 nursed checked them off and ensured they were for me. Everything was in order and the dreaded cannular was fitted into a vein on the top of my left hand. It was not too bad, I had had worse in the past. The first bag of fluid was hung from the stand and connected, this was a saline solution to flush my kidneys and hydrate me before the strong stuff, this took 2 hours. Next was a bright red fluid, that I was warned would come out the other end as red as it went in, so not to worry. After 30 minutes another large bag of fluid arrived, covered over with a brown bag, "to keep the light out" as it is sensitive, this one took another 2 hours. Sitting there watching these drugs go into me was strange, I again had time to reflect on my journey so far and what the future might bring. All around me were men and women, some with hair, some without, most smiled at me, some you could see were well on the way in their own journey and some like me looked nervous and scared. There was little noise except the constant beeps from the machines, the nurses taking people off and putting new people on, as we all moved through the process. Machines would act up and demand attention and the nurses would fix, readjust and get them going again. We all sat there watching the drugs drip into us judging how long till finished and either the next bag came or we could go home. A lovely lady came and offered me a sandwich, "do you have any soup" I asked, " I can't eat a sandwich", she smiled, "yes got some tomato soup would that do"? "yes please", "would you like a piece of bread and butter with it"? "no thank you I can't eat bread and butter", She looked at me, a little pity on her face. "Oh I see, well I'll get the soup". It was nice.
Sometime later the sensitive drug ran out to be replaced by another, more robust (that didn't need covering up, and off we went again for another 2 hours. Finally with another drug hooked up, to replace fluids and boost potasium levels, and another 2 hours, it was over. I was given various boxes of tablets, this for sickness, that for sickness and another, I suppose for good luck. And last but not least the main course, the chemotherapy drugs I would take every morning and night for the next three weeks. "Just swallow them with some water, two in the morning and three at night, always the larger dose at night". I left at 5pm.
So that night I tried to take the tablets but they would not go down, they were too large, there was no room in my gullet for them. The only thing I could do was dissolve them in water and sip until they were gone. They tasted foul and that first night it took me an hour to get it all down. As I lay in my bed awake at 2am with a headache, itchy legs, feeling sick and restless as anything I thought, "well at least I've started the treatment, one day at a time, one day at a time", and I drifted off to sleep.....