Wednesday, 1 June 2011

A sharp scratch...

Over the last six months I have had a lot of experience of what I might call medical/surgical understatement. The title of this blog is possibly the one most frequently met by the average person. The 'sharp scratch' preceding a blood letting experience is shorthand for 'I'm about to stab a sensitive part of your anatomy with something extremely sharp'. When I was being diagnosed, one leaflet warned me that some women 'may' find this procedure uncomfortable. I was advised to take 'whatever you take for a headache'. All I can say is that if I had a headache that bad, I'd have been begging for the guillotine or a vat of morphine!
Before my surgery I was warned that I 'might feel uncomfortable'. No sh*t Sherlock! My lovely nurses (they were REALLY lovely) kept telling me to relax my tummy muscles. Now these muscles had been cut from umbilicus to pubis (tummy button to lady garden) and were in a total strop, they were really fed up, and so was I. It took quite a lot of painkillers to shut them up! We felt more than discomfort.
Now I'm on the chemo, things have changed a bit. I am now warned of 'possible side effects'. I have 'the little red book' in which to record my symptoms. Each cycle of chemo has a separate two page spread.

The possible side effects are listed down, with a grading symptom from none, mild, moderate, severe to very severe, across. At first glance the list of side effects that fill the rest of the table scare the chemo patient to be witless. Once you are in the swing of chemo, it starts to make sense. So far I have only had two very severe side effects and one of them was my hair falling out. That only happens once.
The rest of the side effects wax and wane over each cycle. In my experience so far, most things last part of the cycle but not all of it. Although I do feel tired most of the time, many of those close to me would say, so what's different?
Work tired vs chemo tired. Give me work tired any day.
Now, don't fret dear Reader, I am given medicines to cope with the side effects and as long as you remember to take them, they do work. I have medicine to stop me being sick (3 sorts), to help me to poo (3 sorts), things to stop me pooing (1 sort) mouthwashes for sore mouth (2 sorts) meds for pain (1 very good sort). If I remember them I can shake, rattle and roll. But mostly I stay in bed for a while.
So what's the moral of this story?
My advice would be to take some advice with a pinch of salt. A LARGE pinch of salt.