I hate Evil Irene, more than the tumours.
Tuesday - after waking with a splitting headache, I drove to hospital feeling more positive with a better plan of how to deal with things this time.
First stop was clinic to see The Lone Ranger regarding anti-emetics, told him it took me an hour to eat an apple, all day to drink a pint of water, etc. He just recommends a change in anti-emetics, no change in dose. Awesome.
Over to the chemo suite. Managed to read for a bit until I couldn't see properly because of the effects on my vision (not sure I should mention this given I was driving and unaccompanied). Started with Granisetron, given more to take home - only one a day starting on day 2 and some others IF they don't work.
I was there about 5.5 hours altogether, mostly waiting for my drugs to take home - which the "nice young man" delivered. I noticed he's had his haircut but was too knackered to comment. Although I had made an effort and put make up on, done my hair etc (ignoring the fact that since day 14 my hair is coming out already too fast for my liking).
Irene makes me produce more saliva (I checked, it's her fault) which usually is a pre-cursor to me hurling. I spat the first mouthful out of the window, some of which got blown into my hair, which made me feel kinda sick in itself. I got home at five thirty/sick o'clock. Got out of the car, spat another mouthful of saliva, which I just can't swallow, really. Got to the back door and spat another mouthful........unlocked the door and just made it to the sink (thank you for my repeated insistence on that extra half bowl whenever I install a new kitchen) to bring up what was left of my lunch I'd made the night before and eaten in the chemo suite. Not the best start. Still, I felt a bit better and decided a spittoon was required (a mug) and many hot drinks of the herbal ginger variety.
Day 2 - Wednesday
Every time I brush my hair it makes me feel sick, all that mass of dead cells I have to keep pulling out and putting in the bin, only to have small clumps hanging out of my hair which I feel obliged to remove before they end up on the floor.
Becky came to see me at lunchtime and compared to last week, I was doing a lot better, I don't feel as sick. As the evening wore on though, my tongue swelled more, the cramps were well in a routine of what felt like every 15 minutes, the abdominal spasms that put pressure on the anastamosis so low down in my pelvis and make me feel like something is trying to leave my body through the join instead of the usual route. Stupidly I didn't realise that this was constipation already or still.......until later in the day when I took one senokot. Two is the dose but two act so fast, it scares me - supposed to be 10 to 12 hours, but for me it's 2 hours and quite frightening when you've not got the same internal anatomy as other people. Things didn't improve much so I was kept awake by the worst spasms and manage to doze propped up on four pillows - getting up occassionally to go to the toilet, to not much avail. I'm sure I was sick at some point on Wednesday, but it's a bit of a blur as to when.
Day 3 - Thursday
When Mike arrived I'd still not mustered the energy or will to get dressed, much less a shower but I managed to brush my teeth and find something different to wear than on Tuesday. First rule of being a Cancer Vixen and BB is - never wear the same outfit in the same week to hospital. My hair looked ropey so I shoved on a hat - which the chemo receptionist liked. He drove Izzy, the first person to do so - but I promised since he'd come all this way again so soon by way of a thank you. We won't mention that he accidentally did nearly 4000 revs in 1st gear, no, because that might make me cry (seriously, I know she'll live and apart from that the drive was fine). Sister thought I looked "very tired". Oncos are all on holiday for my next cycle but she said "someone" will see me. I've forgotten if that's if I need to, or just someone will see me anyway but having seen my blood results after the first one, I'm hoping I'll be deferred. White cells halved from 6 to 3, and those all important neutraphils from 4.6 to 1.8 (neutropenia starts when they get as low as 1.5). There were a few others that were outside normal range (i.e. below).
When we got back, I just sort of collapsed on the sofa, then had to get up at some point and run to that half bowl again in the kitchen. God that hurt, trying to keep things down whilst retching. I really, really hate being sick. Since my first migraine at 11 when I ended up in hospital - unable to keep water down without bringing it back up and in a room on my own with suspected meningitis. Every migraine brought blindness, bile and excruciating pain. Over the years they got easier but my fear of being sick is quite great. Four pregnancies didn't help either. I can't remember what I ate, but before he had to leave, Mike put a Linda McCartney pie (yes it has wheat and possibly egg, but it's chemo day so calories and protein are King) in my oven after he loaded the dishwasher for me. He watched hours of shite daytime TV while I just dozed and tried to ignore the ever increasing pains. Gosh I bet he's so glad he came! I was though, for the change of company, for any company, anything to stop THIS becoming a predictable routine. For his attempt to make me feel better when I was throwing up, for holding my hair out of the way, fetching me drinks. For not making me feel like he needed to be entertained - I took this for granted since he's seen me do this before. I'm sure I wasn't this bad before, was I?
The Linda McCartney pie stayed down. Another night of Pain Interrupts Sleep. Another dose of senna.
Day 4 is a blur - Becky came after work and again on Saturday (day 5) but I can't remember what happened when. I know mostly I just laid on the sofa trying to ignore the pains (double dose of senokot on Saturday) while she washed up and fed Alfie. Alfie somehow survived two lots of chemo and neglect - I think she's been fed every day, but not always twice. I was back to being too scared to eat because I knew that the solid hard painful lump in my left side wasn't going anywhere, so until the senna kicked in, it was liquids only.
Day 6 - Sunday - Finally after much shouting and sobbing (and I use this term in is very broadest sense, not to any specific religion, I don't have one) actually praying for it to stop, it started to work. Which was lucky because if things weren't moving by daylight I was calling an ambulance. I remember reading a book by a woman who just put up with blockages caused by scar tissue (bowel cancer, caused by radiation) and being angry at her for not going to hospital, but she did have a husband, a few kids and a mother on the scene who were quite capable of calling one for her. And before anyone kicks off asking why I didn't ring someone else - I think you've missed the point. The pain was so frequent, so debilitating, I was so exhausted, just framing the thought was a minor miracle, how I'd have managed to get my details out over the phone I'm not sure, but senna hasn't let me down yet, I just didn't have enough soon enough. I know that now. Nor is there a single person on this earth I would want to see me in the state that I was, I don't care what anyone thinks. I have very little dignity or control left and if I'd rather be dealt with by strangers, that's my choice. Deja vu from the fortnight before then. Finally the spasms stopped and I managed a few hours sleep on Sunday morning.
Sometime in the afternoon I dragged myself into the shower. Excellent timing again because the kids arrived when I was still in my bathrobe and a towel holding my hair onto my head looking kinda scary and pale from the effort of actually showering for the first time since Tuesday. I got dressed and we tried to watch the rest of the film they didn't quite see last time - but unfortunately their dad arrived within what seemed like half an hour. Any time he grants me with them at his own effort is something to be eternally grateful for, since he hates me. It did make me feel instantly better when I saw them, and even that short time drinking tea and eating pretzels laughing at a film was precious. So the rest of the evening I watched comedy shows and then finished my book having finally felt why I'm putting myself through this shit. It's just for my babies who aren't quite grown up yet. Sadly they've grown enough to understand what the deal is this time and I couldn't be more proud that they come here, put the kettle on, glue themselves to the sofa and just sit to watch a film with me, laughing. Forgetting for half an hour.
Today is Monday. I finished my book with a smile on my face. I had another few hours uninterrupted sleep last night. So here begins the slow climb back to some semblance of strength before the next onslaught. So senna on day one next time, the Granisetron and maybe it'll be third time lucky. I'm back in tomorrow for a line flush so I'll see what they say. I should chase up the sip feeds that never materialised either - I forgot, but never heard from the surgery or the district nurse. I'm definitely out now so they'll have to pull their fingers out.
Two down, 10 to go.
Don't do cancer kids, it's bad for you mmkay?