Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Intravenous Domestos - part 2

I had made the decision that the weekend before each chemo Monday, that I would treat myself and do something nice, rather than waiting around with a feeling of dread about chemo Monday. This weekend I treated myself to a weekend at the Noosa Sheraton. My friend had flown up from Sydney, and we spent the weekend lazing around the pool. I was feeling ok, so it was lovely to have a weekend of indulgence.

Heading back into the chemo clinic on Monday, I felt better prepared about what was ahead, however there were still a few surprises. The first treatment I had my portacath implanted and the needle and tube was already in place. This was done under general aneasthetic, so I didn't feel a thing. However, as they have to access the portacath each chemo treatment, I had heard about a numbing cream which helps numb the area where they plunge the needle into my chest. What I hadn't heard about the numbing cream is that it takes about an hour to take effect. So, whilst I was sitting in the waiting room, with the cream sitting uselessly in my bag, I thought I could put it on when they give me the first of my anti-nausea drugs which also takes an hour to kick in. What I was not aware of was that they plunge the needle into your chest before that for a blood test. I thought I would just suck it up and could cope with a needle being plunged into my chest once. Unfortunately for me, my portacath is quite a deep one and they had a few issues accessing it and getting blood from it. After the seventh attempt, the nurse noticed I was getting quite distressed and decided to take the blood from my arm instead. As I have said before I hate needles, so being stuck seven times was not pleasant. I can't even look at the needles, but I did hear that the last one they stuck in me was 2.5 inches long. My mother was sitting and holding my hand during this process and she said it was like a nail going into my chest. Ever since that experience I make sure that I have tube of the numbing cream in every bag I own. I have never forgotten it since!

Unlike the first chemo treatment, I went home after the treatment had finished. The nurses had advised me that it is wise to get the drugs out of my system as quicky as possible, so I had to drink lots of water. I am always anxious the night after treatment, as I am unsure of how I will wake up the next day. I remember being so worried about not drinking enough water that I drank and drank and drank and ended up getting up about eight times to go to the bathroom through the night, so I woke up exhausted the next day. I had made an effort not to google anything about the drugs I was taking. I thought that if I read everything bad that could happen, then it might become a self fulfilling prophacy. Although, I did read a book called 'understanding chemotherapy', which was a great read. It was good to have general knowledge about what to expect, but not to be so focused on the bad side effects. I just kept thinking that no matter how bad the side effects are, or how sick I got - it is better than having cancer. I kept focused on the fact that it was the cure that was making me sick, not the disease. I knew from the start that they were going to blast me, so I just had to make it through the fall out.

One thing I did find very hard to deal with was the fact that my social life had come to a grinding halt. My friends have rallied around me and have been a great support, but I am a very social person and it has been hard not being able to plan things and just say yes. I always have to think about where I will be in my chemo treatment before deciding to attend anything. Not that the social life was particularly exciting during this time, as I was usually in bed by 8pm. My friends have been great and do not object about dinner bookings for 6pm.

I remember watching Grey's Anatomy season five during this time. As it happened it was the season where Izzy became sick and was having chemo. I was lying in bed watching the episode when she got married. I remember being really upset as her husband was putting her to bed and some of her hair came out. He gave her a big hug, kiss and kept telling her that she was beautiful. I was thinking where is my hot doctor husband telling me that I am still beautiful when I look like Kojack?????? My friends, family and Barney have been great, but it would be nice to have that one person to turn to for support.

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