About this Blog

This blog started as an online diary and place for me to rant about annoyances in my family.

However since July it has become a place for me to catalogue and express my views and opinions on the treatment I have recieved following the diagnosis of a potentially cancerous tumor in my bowel.

On 3rd August 2011 I was told that it was cancerous. In April 2012 I was given the all clear.

October 15th 2013 I was diagnosed with peritoneal disease and liver metastases. The cancer was back and this time it is inoperable.

It is a little bit out of date as the NHS doesn't tend to have a WiFi connection in hospital and I can only post when I get home and posts take a while to write.

It is NOT about individuals or the nursing profession. It is about some of the inadequacies in the system and the way the NHS is failing some people.

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Thursday, 6 October 2011

So, what is Chemotherapy like?

Well, I shall try and answer this for you. Although yesterday was a bit underwhelming. 

I think I started off on the wrong foot because I tried to drive the wrong way into the car park, but honestly I went in that way on Tuesday & suddenly it was no entry on Wednesday. How random. So I had to leave Tony to park the car and hope that he would find his way to the ward. 

I thought, and this was how it had been explained to me in the pre chemo appointment that I would see the consultant and then have the chemo. With this being my first treatment, there was no consultant just straight to treatment. 

This wasn't great as no one really explained what was happening, I rolled up my sleeve, exposed my PICC and in it went. There was the standard checking of DOB's, names etc but nothing else. 

And that was it. It pumped it's way in. No drama, no issues, none of the incessant beeping that had blighted my first stay in hospital when I kept rolling over while they were transfusing the blood. 

Lunch was available, although nothing to write home about. The pump counted down how long it had to go and then when it finished then nurse came and reset it to make sure that i got eveything. Then they flushed the line with saline & it was time to go home. 

The whole thing took about 3 hours in total. 

I got my bag of 'goodies' to take home and off we went. Although it wasn't quite that simple. The nurse came to let me know about my next appointment's. Yep, appointment's, Now I understood that generally there were 2 appointments one for the consultant appointment & blood tests and then one the next day for the chemo, but I had been assured that I would be able to have the blood test done locally & then see the consultant and have the Chemo all in one day. I must have explained this about three times to this nurse. She didn't seem to grasp it. I have 2 small children, a 60+ mile round trip (& a car that thinks petrol is a lovely thing to drink) I cannot be doing two trips to Guildford when I can have blood taken locally & then have it all done in one day as it only takes about 3-4 hours. As soon as my next appointment comes through I shall be on to them like a rash.

The thing I didn't enjoy was the atmosphere in the treatment 'ward' I suppose you would call it. It had a lot of chairs with IV trees and pumps next to them and people connected to various bags of chemicals. But that was it, there was no chatting, no swapping war stories.The only person who spoke to me delighted in telling me how lucky I was. I do feel lucky when I read other peoples blogs and posting on bowel cancer and cancer forums, but I didn't feel lucky then & actually I wanted to get a word in edgeways but I wasn't able.

And then we left. 

And the side effects kicked in. Walking down the corridor the wind rushing over my damp lips made them tingle. Well that wasn't too bad, I suppose, except that they kept tingling & probably would have been worse if we had had further to walk. 

The stop at Starbucks for Coffee and cake demonstrated another couple. Washing my hands after going to the loo the hot tap took a while to warm up and so my fingers went numb. Then a beautiful looking blueberry muffin had to be nibbled so as to prevent massive pains shooting through my mouth and jaw. Crying was out too.

Driving home the nausea kicked in too. Once we had picked up the kids and got home I examined by bag of 'pills'. God you need a degree to decipher what to do with them.

There was..

  1. The box of chemo tablets - Take 4 in the morning and evening after food
  2. An antisickess to be taken the evening following chemotherapy, but as late as possible (Tony had to wake me up to take this)
  3. Another set of antisickness to be taken 3 times a day before meals
  4. More antisickness to be taken 3 times a day after meals
  5. Anti diarrhoea tablets to be taken as and when needed.
  6. As well as the anti MRSA stuff I have to stick up my nose three times a day and
  7. The anti MRSA wash I have to use everyday.
So, Tony went to buy tea and I started drugging up!!!

I felt sick & twitchy, and made the mistake of washing my hands properly under my hot tap & I lost them effectively. It took about 20 minutes for the feeling to come back. I ran a drink from the cold tap and lost the feeling in my throat momentarily which was scary. This is a whole new kettle of fish for me. I am not used to side effects kicking in this quick or being this severe. I leant against the dining room wall & my entire arm started tingling.

I drugged up, we bathed the kids and I had to go to bed because the twitching was so bad. It felt like I was about to get a migraine, another unpleasantness. 

The tingling & numbness has continued today. We went to Sainsburys and I nearly dropped the melon because it was too cold. Getting dressed was a problem as my jeans were too cold. They had only been in the wardrobe!!!

The interesting part was walking on the kitchen floor, my feet went numb and I needed socks urgently, again THANK YOU SOPHIE!!!

We are managing them now though. We bought bottles of sparkling water in Sainsburys and they do not cause the numbing of the throat and the sickness and twitching appear to have gone.

I do now feel fluy, but I had my flu jab today so what do you expect!!