Friday, May 23, 2008

Dose #6

Well...another one down.... and another long day!
This time my work mate Scott took me for treatment.... poor thing came straight off night shift ... which he was ok about....but I felt terrible when it was another long treatment and we didn't get home until 10.30pm.
I commented that "next time I'm looking for a chauffeur... I bet you say you're busy"....he laughed and said "I'm pretty sure Ill be having my hair cut on that day"

Well..... another long wait for my appointment.... only an hour and a quarter this time...but it still meant no time for lunch... the upside was my Oncologist is going to try and set up some Chemo treatments here locally.... she is phoning my GP direct...and I already know from speaking with him...that he is more than happy to make it all happen....so fingers crossed there will be no hiccups.
It will mean every alternate treatment locally.... so trips to Adelaide fortnightly instead of weekly...that will be soooooooo good.
My bloods were ok....didn't even ask the exact levels....just quietly said thankyou....and was grateful it wasn't a wasted trip....thats always a concern...and I'm sure my relief is audible each time the write the words 'proceed' on the bottom of my schedule sheet.
My heart echo results were also in...and apparently ok.

I just want to mention how wonderful the girls are that work in the HODU (Haemocology Oncology Day Unit) they are ALWAYS so lovely... they must listen to the same grizzles over and over... and they never reply with anything other than understanding and compassion. It takes a very special person to work in this unit...and I think the FMC has the cream of the crop.
I also have grown to know some of the other people on the same schedule as me.... the same faces pop up each week....and its lovely to briefly share a chat....and check on each other. I'm particularly fond of Anne.... the most positive person I know....and I wish her the world.

My veins are becoming increasingly hard to canulate.... only being able to use one arm reduces the amount of potential veins...and now having a blood test and Chemo weekly means...each available vein is now permanently bruised....and the girls are running a mile from me. So although they had no trouble getting one today.... there was the discussion about maybe something more permanent in the future.... a pic line or the likes.

I thought Id just add in some info from the fact sheet here..... a list of all the possible side affects... and what I have noticed.... I'm not a great one for communicating what I actually feel.....I get asked over and over how I am feeling....and my standard reply is "I'm fine!"
I usually respond with this regardless of how I feel.... and I guess thats for a number of reasons.... mainly because...I cant put into words how I feel.... I don't want to continually whinge and wallow about how I feel (I would hate to be one of those people when asked how you feel....replies with "I'm glad you asked.... I'm tired..I'm sick...my heads muddled...I'm constipated....Ive got tummy pains....blah blah blah...yep we all know the ones!) I do whinge enough now...believe me.
I also find I cope the best by blocking it all out..... I hate Chemo day for the fact it reminds me I'm sick.....I spend the entire day anxious... seeing all the people who have relapsed... listening to their stories... worrying that this is my fate too.... it errodes my positiveness.... and so when I get home....I work very hard at positive affirmation...and blocking out all those thoughts....I live like its not happening.... so that I can get on and enjoy my life....so I find the constant questioning...and very well meaning "how are you feeling?" ..are like little reminders that I am sick....so for my own protection...."I'm fine" means I don't have to rehash anything.
Now obviously there is a catch to this..... if no-one asked...Id feel unloved and like no-one cared....and Id also miss the opportunity to chat about it when I am in the mood...which does happen occasionally.... and so I do appreciate each and every enquiry for those very reasons. (Please do no take this statement as a reason not to talk to me about it all....or to check on me...that is not my intention.... Ive written this purely to explain why I am often vague in my reply)

Ok.... list of side effects for Taxol...(which I am having weekly)... obviously this is an extensive list...as it covers a whole range of effects....which some people get lots of...and others none....I am not making the list detailed...just dotting them down.

Reduction in bone marrow function - risk of anaemia...bruising and infection. (obviously this is the reason behind the constant blood test monitoring - and the reason work became a hazard... with my white cell count continually low....I was worried about infection...and unfortunately when your job entails picking up sick people....it was too high a risk)

Mouth sores and Ulcers - (yep..had them...and cold sores often

Diarrhoea - nup...I battle the other way (sorry too much info there...lol)

Hair loss - (Yep... all over... not much hair left....bit sad my eyelashes are thining.... makes the mascara hard to apply.)

Aching or pain in joints or Muscles - Yep...got that one.

Skin changes - (Nup..not really...skins still as crappy as usual.)

Numbness or Tingling in Hands and Feet - (very occasionally at this stage... but it passes...this sounds from talking to others to be a common one....so I'm sort of waiting.... last week I was told that it sets in about week 5...hope it doesn't)

Headaches -(Yep....but not too bad...manageable with Panadol)

Fertility - (Doesn't effect me..I'm done with..well and truly)

Allergic Reaction -(Nup...nothing Ive noticed)

Nausea and Vomiting - (So much better than the last drug...that hardly worth mentioning....but Ive still had some slight nausea in the first 24 hours.... but I can live with it easily)

Low Blood pressure - (Never check it....but wouldn't be surprised as I have those little dizzy moments associated with low bp... they pass quickly...and don't bother me much)

Changes in Heart Rate - ( who knows! ... electrocardiogram was ok...and I'm still kicking)

Change in Liver Function - (Its monitored with blood tests....all ok)

Abdominal pain -(mmm..thats an interesting one... didn't know that was a side effect....might explain why I have been having abdo pain)

Temporary Taste alterations - (Ohh yeah baby! .. this is sooooo frustrating!)

and of course there are other side effects not listed... Im sure the list is endless....as everyone reacts differently....

then of course there is the Herceptin which also has its own list of side effects...
flu like symptoms... fever...chills.. tiredness...headaches...cough...nausea...pain...and temporary weakening of heart muscle...which is why they monitor my heart function so closely....

So... as you can see.... just about anything goes.... and its always hard to know whats a side effect....whats normal...whats not... so I just go with it....and take it as it comes.

14 more to go..... counting them down....

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