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It is a little bit out of date as the NHS doesn't tend to have a WiFi connection in hospital and I can only post when I get home and posts take a while to write.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, 19 December 2013

What happens after Chemo?

Apologies for poor quality of photo and the reflection of my hand.

I've talked alot about how my specific chemo regeime works but I haven't told you about all the other drugs I have to take to ensure that my body copes with the chemo. Before every chemo I get a nasty injection. When I say nasty I mean one that actually causes about 5-6 minutes of pain after it is injected. The nurses try to couter act this by slapping your arm after they have performed it. But it still causes pain.

Then there is the plethora of anti sicknes drugs. 4 tablets in total. I am lucky I do not seem to suffer with sickness during the chemo, but I have seen people vomiting while their chemo is being administered. It truely is horrible stuff. You cannot predict how someone will react until the chemo is being administered.

Once chemo is finished you get your bag of drugs. Yesterday, due to some of the staffing shortages I have mentioned before I had to collect mine from the oncology pharmacy. No great problem, it is on my way out, but it closes at 5pm and I was cutting it fine. The previous three chemo's I wouldn't have made it as my final infusion didn't finish til 5.30. As it is it wasn't ready for another 40 mintues so I was still waiting at 5.40.

So, when I get home I have to sort my drugs. Some have to be taken before food, some after food, some before a certain time. Some have to be taken 3 times a day, some 4 times a day and some twice a day. It is a real nightmare remembering what to take and when.

At the top of this post is a photo of all the tablets I took this morning.

The top two are the most important.

Morphine has to be taken 2 times a day, about 12 hours apart. This is slow release morphine and I can really feel it working now. I take this when I get up and before I fall asleep.
Paracetamol is standard over the counter paracetamol. No more than 8 tablets in 24 hours. What I also have to run alongside this is liquid morphine (oromorph) which I can take as and when I need it for 'breakthrough' pain relief. It works within 15/20 minutes and is amazing. The main problem is it is so liquid I need to take it with a syringe which looks a bit dodgy when you are out and about and need to take some.

The busacopan is a new addition this time as towards the end of this cycle of chemo I was suffering more and more with excessive cramping and discomfort. This has to be taken 4 times a day. I think that means Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and before bed.

The next three are antisickness. All have to be taken with or around meals.
Domperidone is the nicest of the three. It has no nasty side effects and I can continue to take it if I feel sick through the whole of the cycle.
Dexamethasone is a steriod. Steriods keep you awake if taken to late in the evening. This I have to remember to take before 6pm otherwise I spend most of the night in fitful sleep rather than nice restful sleep.
These 2 I have to take for three days.
Ondansatron is another steriod. I have this before chemo and as a one of dose the morning after.

Finally Loperamide, better known as Imodium. I am sure you know what this is for!! However my dosage instructions are far more intense and to all intents and purposes I don't think it works. I take 2 after the first 'loose stool' and then 1 tablet every 2 hours, until things firm up. I normally only have to take this for 2/3 days as it is to counteract the evil side effects of the Irinotecan.

Finally I have my 5FU pump. Which some of you have seen and starts of as a hard tennis ball sized pump connected to my PICC line and gradually deflates over 46/48 hours when I go and see the most annoying IV nurse to get it disconnected.

So you see, chemo is much more than long day in Guildford!!!
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