Thursday, 21 April 2011

One down...

At last, Chemo Day 1 has arrived. We arrived at the Centenary Wing, a little early, and parked in the dedicated spaces. We collected the parking permit then headed upstairs to the Treatment area. It is a large airy room with blue recliner chairs around the perimeter and two cubicles with beds in them. Radio 2 plays gently in the background. It is VERY busy, the consequence of a bank holiday tomorrow. Next week they have to fit five days of treatments into three days. I'm glad I'm not in then. After a wait of about half an hour, my cannula (needle in hand) was put in and a cocktail of medicines to stop allergic reactions to the chemo drugs was administered. They were antihistamines, steroids, tummy medicine, anti-sickness and fluids. I felt very strange for a few minutes as everything spread round my body, a bit dizzy and lightheaded. The WRVS are brilliant and bring tea and coffee round and deliver us a sandwich at lunchtime. I will take some decaff with me next time. Next came the paclitaxel ( very strong chemo) this is put through the drip slowly over three hours. The worst side effect during this time was an itchy throat, causing a lot of coughing and throat clearing (probably not helped by dry sandwiches). I drank lots of water and had to take Percy (the drip stand) for many walks so I could go for a wee!
After three hours, my line was flushed (salty water put through needle) and I had a little rest then the next lot of chemo was started. This is a metal based chemo drug called carboplatin. This went in over 45 minutes. I got a nasty dry mouth sensation, although my mouth was not that dry. This will evidently give me a strong metallic taste in my mouth cumulatively over the sessions.
Finally my line was flushed again and my needle was taken out - I was free to go home.
I left with a green carrier bag full of medicines for the side effects, two sorts anti-sickness (strong and weak), two sorts mouthwash; one daily, one for when it get sore, and lastly laxatives! This is accompanied by a card with when and how to take/use it all. My appointments for next time have all been made - my blood tests will determine if I have it.
Was it easier than I feared? Yes, it was. I had feared feeling sick while tethered to a drip. Will next time be easier? Yes, because I know what to expect. However, the side effects I have yet to experience may well cause some trepidation as we get next session just as we start feeling better.
The next stage of exterminating those pesky cells has begun. This lady is fighting all she can but, as my husband said in pirate talk,
"The sea be calm but the wench be slightly polluted. It be the cream 'O' the rapy"