Saturday, 19 January 2008

2007 Sep 1st - I Can't Do Chemo Any More

01 Sep 2007

Chemo Schmemo (robbed that from Faerie) and the Lone Ranger
Category: Life

Friday I managed, quite how I do not know, to shower and change and arrive at hospital only five minutes late. I used my blue badge for the very first time and felt obliged to walk slowly to the outpatients entrance in case anyone thought I was a fraudulent user. To be fair I was so wibbly and weak it wasn't too hard.

It's been so long since I attended oncology clinic - usually see people in the chemo suite on the other side of the site - that I had to ask TWICE for directions. I was waiting about an hour, which I didn't mind because unlike some of the other whiny patients I know that if I need more than my alloted 8 minute slot that I'll get it. Why are patients so bloody impatient? It's a bloody cancer clinic for god's sake - do they want to be rushed through themselves with no time to ask questions or express fears or be consoled? Evidently work is more important to some of them - more fool them I say, you can't work when you're dead.

Dr Tom was off this week so I saw the Lone Ranger, who I really like anyway, he's funny and incredibly handy with half a metre of catheter when you need him to be. He had a nurse with him taking notes (always reassuring) and I told him "I don't think I can do any more chemo , I'm really worried about permanent nerve damage and if that happens, I think I can cope with leg problems more than losing the use of my hands. I need to work after all this and if I can't type I'll be distraught (not to mention unable to blog)." My main concern is, if I got nerve damage whilst the drug was first being administered I'm bound to get some permanent problems, a lot of people don't get leg trouble until the end of the 12 sessions.

I mentioned a few of the side effects and he agreed that although they think the chemo is the best option because the cancer was still there in one of my nodes, they don't want to do it at the expense of my quality of life. Usually they'd drop the Oxali (the evil one) and keep me on the 5FU pump but since I've had so much 5FU for 35 days continuously they don't want to do that. If it didn't kill the cancer then it's unlikely to do so now if there are any micro mets (undetectable tumours elsewhere). So as I hoped he rang through to pharmacy there and then to request my prescription for Monday so he could reduce the dose. He's going to check with Tom that he agrees this is the best approach. They may just change the regime I'm on to the more favoured drugs in the US. But discontinuing isn't anyone's preferred option. He also prescribed a drug to help with side effects (basically vit B6) in my nerves.

He had my blood graphs up on the monitor, there was my pre chemo chart (I felt like showing him the period on period graphs I'd done for the first lot of chemo) with lovely tall columns of green. Above it was my results from two weeks ago - mostly red - i.e. in the danger zone with a couple just a few mm high so obviously I scraped through for chemo number three and I'm now wondering if chemo 4 will be stalled? Despite hating the stuff I don't want to delay treatment, I want to be off chemo by Christmas! I am NOT looking forward to the pain of my nerves growing back in January to March but the sooner this is over the better.

I visited the path lab and the lovely nurse I saw last time, didn't even feel the needle go in, but I did feel it as the blood was spurting into the phials. Yet again no bruise - she's my favourite vampire! She said I looked like it was taking it out of me, the Lone Ranger said I didn't look the same so I'm thinking maybe I look as crap as I feel, which is reassuring. I'm quite sick of people telling me how good I look - I feel AWFUL most of the time. The weakness is the worst, trying to get lids of things. A year ago I was tired, very tired but I could still lift things and get amongst the weeds with a fork. A few minutes of weeding and I'm done in and breathless these days. I think the red cells may have taken a battering and anaemia is creeping in. Fingers crossed I won't need another transfusion, I'm conscious of my blood debt - donated 5 units, received 4. I like to stay in credit and I can't give any more back.

Doing a mental white cell mojo dance too - don't want to end up in isolation like some other bandits.

Oh and on a more cheery note, kitten is now called Skittles. It's the most suitable name I can come up with though I really did like a couple of other names it has to suit him!

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