Thursday, May 27, 2010

Intravenous Domestos - part 4

As I prepared to head into intravenous domestos part four, I had become used to dealing with the side effects. The chronic exhaustion, nausea, metallic taste, dizziness and bathroom issues had become part of my daily life and I was getting used to having them around. My lead up to each chemo treatment hadn't changed - sleepless night and feeling sick at the thought of going to the clinic. I knew that the chemo was going to make me feel better and the staff were great, but I hated going and had it in my head that it was only eight trips and I could survive that. However, I had learnt that the drug I had to have for twelve months was also to be administered through my portacath, so that meant 14 more trips to the chemo clinic. So, treatment number four was half-way through, if you ignored the other 14 trips over the next 12 months. I was so disappointed to know that I would have to go through the same process, at the same place, 14 more times. The people around me were excited that treatment number four was a milestone, and I guess it was, as it was the last of the first lot of chemo drugs. However, I found it hard to celebrate anything.

The accumulation of the chemo was taking effect and it was taking me longer to get over the worst of the side effects. I was still overwhelmed with how exhausted I was. I would have a shower, then have to have a lie down to recover from the effort of showering and dressing. Some days I would need a lie down straight after the shower, so I would have the effort to get dressed. During this time Barney was my constant companion. Even whilst I was showering, he would be lying on the mat, sticking his nose in the shower, just to be close to me.

Another thing that I felt hard to deal with was how much I had changed physically. I would catch my reflection in a window and wouldn't even recognise myself. I had gone from looking like me, to Kojack to Uncle Fester. I was bald, pasty, pale and had dark rings under my eyes. It was not a good look and I avoided mirrors as much as I could. When I did look in a mirror, I wouldn't connect that the person looking back at me was me. I had joked that the half-boob job, new hair and new figure were all part of the extreme cancer make-over, but it was hard to see anything past Uncle Fester.

Once intravenous domestos four was finished, I started to think about the new drugs. For the first time since my diagnosis, I looked on the internet for information about these drugs. I went to the pharacutical company's website and downloaded information about the side effects. The list was long and horrid for both drugs. Just when I was learning to deal with the side effects of the past three months, I had new ones to deal with. I do have to admit though, I was looking forward to the severe diarrhoea, it would make for a nice change from severe constipation I had been living with. I was trying to balance being informed and being scared about what was ahead of me. It was good to read the side effects as some of them seem quite minor, like swollen ankles, but if they occur you have to head straight up to hospital as it could be a sign of heart failure. Another side effect that was good to know was that your nails can turn black, flake and fall off. Good times ahead!

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