Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Chemotherapy July 12th - August 3rd 2010 and some tips...

Weight loss
Well what a 2 weeks that has been! started at 16st 13lbs (237lbs) and down to 15st 11lbs (221lbs) a loss of 1st 2lbs(16lbs)


Can only manage very small amounts as can't swallow, and need to supplement with energy drinks, hence the weight loss as not getting much food inside me

Taking Chemotherapy drugs
still having to dissolve in warm water as can't swallow tablets and each session takes about an hour to get the stuff down. I keep trying to be quicker but am sick, so have to sip slowly and force it down, but at least it works.

Side effects of Chemotherapy
When I came home from the first 'all day session' on the 7th July and started taking the drugs I felt sick, but the tablets they give you for the first 5 days help stop this happening, however one of the effects I had was lack of sleep and agitation. I would sleep for a bit but then get very agitated and restless, getting up in the night and coughing up phlegm, back to bed for a few hours and then up again.  I would go down to the bottom of the garden and cough and cough, getting up phlegm and trying not to be sick. We are surrounded by fields so I was not too concerned at the neighbours hearing me, although the cows in the field came over to see how I was and lend their support. The night can be peaceful and calming when you are ill and after a bad session I would sit under the stars and get my strength back, and think about the future and what was coming up for me.  I must admit that at times I cried, I know this may sound like self-pity, but honest it was really hard to remain positive. No matter how much support you get from family and friends (and boy I had a lot of support) the bottom line is that you face this alone. It is you who go through it, you who are sick, you who face the future, no matter what it will be. And it is you who has to come to terms with your own mortality.
On hearing this news I became very practical, men tend to do this.  I made sure my will was up-to-date. Bought a funeral plan, and listed all the jobs I needed to do in case I didn't make it.

Back to the side effects, I developed sores and redness around the groin area, treated with Sudacreme. Developed tinnitus with loud ringing in my ears and dizziness, felt very unsteady.
Got a runny nose and took temperature regularly, this is the one to watch, because your immune system is very weak, as a result of the chemotherapy,  you can get blood poisoning very easily.  Any infection, rise in temperature is very serious and you need to go straight to hospital.  I kept an eye and was alright, this time.
I developed incredible constipation, just could not go, this was a result of the chemo. I had a word with my chemo nurse Caroline Marshall. who suggested a laxative from the doctor, also through this time had to stop taking the chemo about half way through as started being sick and just could not keep it down, this happened a few times, but eased off after a few days and I got back to 'normal'.
Got very tired and had to lie down in the afternoon, I couldn't keep  my eyes open and needed a couple of hours before I could get going again, this was the same all through chemo for me, very, very fatigued.
I developed pains in my chest, a little on the 16th July, more by the 23rd, it was coming and going. On the 24th I phoned the hospital as pains bad, they told me to come into A&E straight away. This was at 10:35 at night. Arrived in Lincoln County and was shown to an area away from others, as still very susceptible to infection. You carry your red book with you at all times, and this lets them know you are on chemotherapy. They did tests, blood pressure, blood tests and I saw the Doctor at 3am. She said heart ok, but need to keep an eye on it. One of the side effects of the chemo can give heart attacks, so you have to watch it.
24th of July was also memorable as my hair started to fall out (18th day on chemo). It came out in clumps, from different places, mostly the side and back of my head at this point.
I went for blood tests at Louth hospital on the 26th in preparation for my next 'all day session' at Lincoln. Appointment with the Chemo Doctor in Lincoln on the 27th July to check how I was doing and have a look at my blood levels. This is to see how the chemo is affecting you and whether you can go for the next session. My levels from the Louth visit were low so they took them again and they were ok, so back into Lincoln on 28th July to start my second 3 week cycle. Got home at 6:45 had tomato soup and first chemo, again dissolved, was ok but got very sensitive legs and itchy especially from the knee down and especially the right leg. Very tired but eventually got to sleep.
Result the same as the last session, very tired, hard to take chemo, couldn't eat very well, constipation, dizzy, tinnitus and feeling sick all the time, especially the first 5 days.
Have developed a pain in right arm, an inner vein has collapsed as a result of the chemo being pumped in all day and is very sore. Have to keep an eye on it.
The dietician has been in touch to review what I am eating and help me balance my diet.
That's all for now, I'm tired (smile)

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