Tuesday 20 October 2015

Chemotherapy - 2 down...4 to go

I've just had my second cycle of EC chemo. The photo above is of me sat in my chemo chair waiting for my anti-sickness tablets and steroids to start working there magic before they start pumping me with chemo. I'm also giving 'Fantasy' the wig another outing. Seriously who comes up with these wig names? 

As you can see I'm looking a lot less nervous this time around. I know what's coming. Last time I was very emotional and didn't want to go in to the chemo day unit. I waited tearfully in the corridor until they put me in a private room. This time the private room was full so I had no choice other than to join the other patients in the day unit. 

The chemo day unit is nice but quite outdated. I believe it's being re-done next year. Funded by Macmillan Cancer Support (I knew that 3 grand would come in handy) For now though it's a bit less high standard medical room and a bit more cattle being herded in to a slaughter house. 

There where five men in the day unit whilst I was there and one woman. All of them where old. Older than me by a good three decades. The nurses are lovely and everyone is generally positive but this room is not a happy room. We are all gathered here being essentially poisoned so we can live. Or at least live for as long as we can. Michele got chatting to one of the gentlemans wives in the waiting room and asked when her husbands treatment would finish. 'It won't' she explained. 

I feel lucky that my medical team believe that after 6 cycles of chemotherapy and all my other treatments I will go on to live as long as possible. For others in this room this is it. They are here being pumped with poison to live as long as possible but their prognosis is of course terminal. 

How can anyone be anything other than sad in a room like this? 

(Oh this blog post had taken a turn for the worse hasn't it?! Let's end on a positive note so we aren't all crying in to our cereal bowls tomorrow) 

The hospital staff our lovely. There's a tea lady who volunteers (she used to have breast cancer. A similar treatment plan to me) She brings round chocolates, biscuits, sandwiches and juice. 

Positive number two - I've got new anti-sickness medication for this cycle. On my first cycle I was really sick for about 10 days. The girls I've met via The Young Breast Cancer Network advised me to ask for 'Emend' for this cycle. It's a powerful anti-sickness tablet that is extremely expensive. Liz (my chemo nurse) tells me it's about £170 for just three tablets. They don't give out Emend as standard on the first cycle as essentially they want to see if the cheaper medication does the job. 

On my last cycle I had to call the hospital for more sickness meds as my nausea just wasn't going away. They prescribed Ordansatron, which just didn't agree with me. My head was pounding constantly and it just seemed to make me feel more nauseous. I explained this to Liz and I pretty much pleaded for Emend. Liz went to speak to the doctor, who thankfully let me have it. She had already given me my anti-sickness meds and steroids so I then had to wait another 40 minutes for my Emend tablet to kick in before my chemo was administered.

I have my EC chemo administered via 3 'jumbo' syringes that the nurse gives manually whilst having saline through a drip. The photo above is of my hand after chemo just with the saline drip still in place. 

So I now have my new medication. Emend, another anti-sickness drug and a reduced dose of steroids. 

Here goes round two.

Currently I'm still feeling very nauseous and I'm exhausted but I haven't been physically sick. On the whole I'm feeling better than I did last time.

Amen to Emend!


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