Tuesday, 24 March 2009

A Breeze of a Cycle - Fingers Crossed it Lasts!

Plodding along until next chemo session, occupying my time with, visits from people, (thanks for coming it breaks up my days), cooking - attempted some pasta which tasted gorgeous but its not as easy as they make it look on TV let me tell you and photography, the subject this week was the frogs in the pond!

Had an afternoon out in Woburn on Saturday, it was a nice sunny day so the park was pretty busy, managed to take some good shots of the lions.

Tuesday another trip to the hospital for ABVD cycle 2 day 15! As we were driving over there my Dr rang me to check I was on my way, we weren't late of anything but he said he want to check I was coming because he hadn't heard from us in 2 weeks! The ward I usually go to was having some snagging done on it so I had to go to a different ward and it was all a bit chaotic, my Dr was on reception at the nurse's station when we arrived! Which could explain the phone call, he must have been bored!

Dr was pleased with my progress, he said he can't feel the lump on my thigh anymore and my stomach is returning to normal and doesn't look distended so he thinks my liver is responding as well. He thought as I had had a clear cycle this time in terms of side effects, the problems with the previously bad cycles were probably due to mass tumour kill. Also the PEG injection would have helped me feel better this time around. We discussed putting my PET scan back to just before cycle 4 instead of after this cycle because I had a CT scan not so long ago when I was in hospital.

Two good things when I got home from chemo, i) my flat screen TV and DVD player had been fitted in my bedroom - its awesome and ii) a letter from Benefits saying they would pay me the Employment and Benefit Allowance of £50 a week - better than a kick in the teeth!

Fingers crossed for another 'good' cycle.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Low Bloods

Chemo day - the first thing they had to do was take more bloods as on Friday my neutrophill count was 0.06 and under 0.5 is significant meaning you have neutrophina. Saw my Dr, he said it was good to see me looking better and eating. He looked at my mouth ulcers and said they were due to my low white blood count. He ran through my revised medication and talked about the possibly of delaying the chemo if the bloods were still bad. He also discussed giving me a injection to boast my white blood cells. Had to wait until 1pm to get my bloods back, yes they were still low but they were going to go ahead, they were 0.2. Didn’t end up getting away until nearly 5.00pm. Had another lot of pills and the growth injection to have tomorrow. Despite leaving at 5.00pm it didn’t take too long to get back and I didn’t feel car sick, bonus!

Steroids must be working again as the next day I made carrot cake (used my own carrot cake recipe but used the icing from this one), it turned out well and tasted even better (my cousin Nick will vouch for that I am sure!).

Thursday my red cheeks had returned, it seems that a few days after chemotheraphy I get this flushed look on my face, random!

Went out for Charlene's birthday on Saturday night, first 'big' night out wearing my head scarf, all went ok and soon forgot about it, was lovely to see everyone.

Monday we went to Shuttleworth for a walk around, as it was such a nice day, took some photos.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Day 7 Syndrome, Hospital Again and Again!

Day 7 after second chemotherapy - Woke up feeling sick and had stomach cramps, hadn’t slept very well at all. Rang the hospital and they said to come down. Felt very sick in the car, mum had to drive like a learner and I had to have the windows open!

Dr saw me at about 11.30 am; first thing he said was 'oh dear is that a vomit bowl!' We sat and had a chat about why I had come in, sore mouth (which was actually much better), sickness, stomach cramps and breathlessness. He did a thorough examination, and was very impressed with the size or not of my lump and said that my chest was absolutely clear. He said he thought the breathlessness was nothing to worry about but would check my saturation levels and pulse rate after on the ward, which were all ok. I’ve just got to accept that I am ill and am not going to be running any marathons. While I was there he said he was going to do chest x-ray just to check for bleomycin toxicity but stressed it would be clear, it would be very unlikely that after only one cycle of chemotherapy.

He stressed again how impressed he was with the size of the lump, he said it was comparable to his faster patient to date, in terms of lump reduction. He thought it would be very unlikely that the abdomen lumps and cancer in the liver wouldn’t be doing the same thing. He said I had good flexion in my back and he thought the twinges I am feeling were not the lymphoma flaring but being killed off. In terms of the abdominal pains he said he could do a CT scan but wanted to hold off because of radiation. He thought it could possibly be a reaction to the bleomycin and could take the bleomycin out if needed and if it was that causing the problems.

The nurse gave me my Clexane and came in for a little chat. She said she liked my headscarf, with everything else that had been going on I had forgotten it was the first time I was wearing a scarf out in public.

Got back at 2pm, just managed to get in the door before I throw up in the utility room sink, had felt sick in the car but not like I was actually going to be sick, and then when I got in the door, woosh, the dog was not impressed, with me retching I think he thought he had done something wrong!

Afterwards I went upstairs to bed and just tried to sleep to stop the sickness feeling. At 3.30 pm I was sick again, got a few moments of relief after I had been sick but then the feeling came back. Mum rang the hospital, and they said take an Ondansetron and try sips of fizzy water. She said to ring back if I kept vomiting.

At 6pm took some paracetamol as my stomach was very painful. Mum and I watched a film, well I had my eyes shut, dozing through most of it and trying to ignore the pain. Later on that evening I was still in a lot of pain, so we rang the hospital again. Dr said his gut feeling was, it is my whole system knitting together to fight chemo. If it got worse throughout the night, as in me not being able to move and real pain instead of discomfort then I must go to hospital. He reiterated that if it continued he could do a scan just to check there wasn’t any kind of blockage or twist anywhere. He had been doing a bit of internet searching and thought it could be Vinblastine type abdominal cramps , which is common in young people taking a sister drug of Vinblastine. He asked if I had any painkillers and I remember I had some Dihydrocodeine that I had been given on Boxing Day. He said to take one and it should work within an hour. Took one Dihydrocodeine and it made me feel spaced out and I went to sleep on the sofa practically straight away.

Woke up to not much improvement, felt too ill to go down to the surgery so mum gave me my Clexane injection! Spent the morning in bed. Had lunch, a gingerbread man and smoothie at 2pm, 2.30pm it all came back up! Mum rang the hospital back and Dr said he wanted me to go down to the hospital to stay in overnight for obs and to get the sickness and pain under control. Don’t know how I managed the car journey, had to stop several times. Stayed overnight, had 2 bags of fluid, and Lorazepam a ‘happy high drug’. Discharged the next morning.

Friday - woke up feeling not too bad, the pain seemed to have eased and I didn’t seem to feel sick. It didn’t last long though, I started to feel sick and the pain came back while I was having breakfast. My Dr wanted me to come in to hospital to have a CT scan and stay until Sunday. I wasn’t best pleased with that but have to admit I wasn’t feeling very good at all.

Had my CT scan, much the same as last time. A doctor came to take some bloods, and managed to cover me in blood, I looked like something out of Saw!

My Dr came to see me in the evening, he started off by saying he was glad that he had done a CT scan because it showed really good results. He said ball park figure, that the tumours had reduced by about 50%. He said my liver has reduced a lot in size. He said he thought the sickness and cramps were due to mass tumour kill as so much has been killed off. He said he wanted to keep me in until Sunday to get this under control, he was going to be over cautious this time as he had sent me home too early on Thursday.

Had an restless night, what with the man a few rooms down from me who had a monitor on all night and I could hear it bleeping,and they also came in to do my bloods at 2am, then at 6am to do my obs. After that I dozed until breakfast arrived. Spent the day whiling away the hours in hospital.

Sunday morning was actually asleep when the nurse came in at 6.45 am to do my obs and give me my medication, the pain seems to be at its least since Monday and no sickness, looking good.
Managed to eat my breakfast at 8.00am. Felt a bit sick during the morning, just when I thought I had got rid of it. Dr came to see me and said that as long as I was ok at lunchtime I could go home. Felt very upset that I was feeling sick again, just don’t know how I am going to cope with it for 6 months. Lunch came at 12.30pm and I suddenly felt very sick, couldn’t eat it and had to ask the nurse for some anti-sickness stuff. Laid on the bed and tried to concentrate on my breathing, eventually it went off. After a few hours we decided it was best for me to go home. The nurse had a little chat with me about ways to try and stop the sickness. Back home for a day before I have to go and have more chemo, oh the joys!

Spose constant sickness is a good way to loose weight!

Monday, 2 March 2009

Look Good Feel Better and Number 1!

After the second cycle of chemotherapy I really started to notice my hair falling out. You notice these stray strands standing up and you can just pull them out so easily, and every time I run my hands through my hair 6 or 7 strands will come out.

Thursday afternoon I went to a Look Good Feel Better Day which was a really good afternoon. It is a pamper afternoon for ladies going through chemotherapy and they talked through things such as hair loss, wearing wigs and gave you a make up lesson. Before we started it was like something out of the Witches by Roal Dahl, the experts said if people wanted to take there headscarves/wigs off, feel free, then all of a sudden all these ladies started taking of their wigs, some of them I didn't even realise were wearing them, you had to laugh really!
Practiced some more photograpy at Shepworth Zoo on Friday.

Friday night I had a really bad night, was thinking about my hair coming out, my mouth was sore and I was agitated. In the morning I went down to use some of the medicated mouth wash I had been described - it was horrible, its like thick aniseed wallpaper paste, that you have to wash around you mouth and hold for as long as you can bare! Soup and chocolate moose were on the agenda for lunch because I couldn't eat anything else!

Slightly obsessive about loosing my hair, can't stop brushing it, just want it out now. Have stopped washing my hair so much as I can't bare it coming out everywhere in the shower. Monday afternoon had had enough and one of our friends came over to shave my hair off. She was great made no fuss and just did it, felt much better afterwards and I had joined the cancer club!