Friday, 2 July 2010
Part 3 - First Chemo
It was Monday 23rd November and whilst in the ambulance on my way to Cookridge Hospital to begin the first chemo, I read my notes which had been left on the gurney. I read that there was possible evidence of metastases disease to the chest. I of course didn't know what this meant so thought no more about it. The fear of what I was driving towards was enough. It transpires that a couple of days earlier Mum and Dad had been told there wasn't any evidence of further tumours but a possibility of secondary carcinoma in my lungs. They decided not to tell me at this stage, as quite rightly they thought I had enough to cope with.
I met my Oncology Doctors on arrival - Dr Lansbury, a registrar and Mr Taylor, the consultant. Mr Taylor really lacked a sense of humour and whilst they were explaining my treatment to me and the side effects (ALL hair loss a certainty :( ) I made a bit of a joke to try and lighten the atmosphere, about not having to shave my legs for while, which was met with a blank look.......
Within a couple of hours of arriving they began to administer the first dose of chemo. The hospital was very depressing, it felt like an old people's home or hospice with everyone shushing each other. A far cry from the busy, friendly ward at the LGI. I found the nurses odd and was petrified the first night as they left the window open, having already told me they sometimes got bats! Great. I was plugged into the electricity with numerous staples in my leg so couldn't even get up to shut it.
One of my most vivid memories is eating virtually a whole tube of plain pringles (the red one!) before starting treatment, boy did I regret that a couple of hours later when the sickness started and the whole lot came back. It was nearly ten years before I could bear the smell of them let alone eat them.
The treatment lasted 4 days during which time I was permanently hooked up to a drip of saline, whilst they intermittently injected the chemo drugs Cisplatin and Adriamycin directly into a cannula in my arm. I cannot begin to describe how horrendous the treatment was. I became violently sick very quickly. I remember people coming and going during the treatment, sometimes I was lucid and could converse and other times I couldn't work out afterwards whether I'd dreamt things or they'd been real. I was recently reading about these drugs and this is some of the information that is available "unfortunately (they) don't know the difference between the cancerous cells and the normal cells." How true! Unfortunately the anti sickness drugs were useless and I vomited approximately 1/2 hourly, until there was nothing left (Or should I say no pringles left!) and then I wretched 1/2 hourly. My veins collapsed and they resited the needles. I developed painful mouth ulcers, sore throat, fever, lost a lot of weight very quickly and waited for the hair to start falling out............