Finally, finally, finally!!! chemo number 4 took place yesterday, and you may think: “hang on a minute, why is she writing then? Should she be in bed feeling sick?”
No!!! I have been fortunate not to get nausea this time (apparently with this drug it is less common to feel that way). I slept well, but feel tired and so may have a nap soon. Right now I am just waiting to see how my body reacts, there are many side effects that could come my way in the next few days (specially bone pain).
Yesterday was a long, long day. Got to the hospital at 10:30. Had a blood test round 11. Went to the tate modern (my hospital is nearby) and had a coffee upstairs, looking at the magnificent view of London. Walked back to the hospital. Sat down. Results arrived: yeah I could do chemo! but before then, I had to have and infusion of herceptin, a drug (which is not chemo), that I will have to be on for a year (will have to go to hospital every 3 weeks). That took about an hour and half. But before that they give you insulin, or a “rinse” as they call it 30 minutes or so. Once the herceptin is done there is another rinse, and then chemo can start. Between all these drugs and rinses there is time just waiting, as the ward gets so so busy that the nurses cannot change the drip straight after it’s finished. Once the chemo infusion was done at 6 o’clock, I had to go to another ward and be on observation (in case I had an allergic reaction) until 9 pm.They gave me a room with a bed and I had a 2 hour nap. This was in a way the best time of the day: chemo was done and I was reacting well! I now have a distric nurse coming over every morning for the next 5 days to give me an injection to boost my white blood cell count. Hopefully no more delays then. The drawback? they can give you bone pain. No pain no gain I guess.
I spent half my day “alone”, then my friend Caz came for the other half of the day. I say alone in inverted comas ‘cos it is not true. I went alone, but I was not alone. I met this lovely indian-muslim couple who happen to live close by. They are both in their late 60s. She was also diagnosed with breast cancer recently and we had a little chat about how it’s been, comparing experiences. The husband was adorable and he told me that my dreams about having long, healthy hair was a good sign (I want to ask him more about this when I see him next). They have 1 daughter and 2 sons, all living at home, and 2 little grandsons who come visit at the weekends. And they were so kind-hearted that as soon as they realised that we lived so nearby they invited me to go over to their house for food! how amazing is that? so I have their phone number and address and as soon as I feel ok I shall be going over for curry (well, I hope it is curry!!). It’d be nice to know someone who is also going through this.
So after they left, I put my pillow to one side and rested my head. And i just found myself in tears. Overwhelmed by the generosity of those people, missing my own parents and family and once again, hoping that this had not happened to me! Being in the chemo suite always, without fail, bring tears to my eyes. It can be as soon as I go in, or it can be during my session. I hope that on my last one the tears come at the end, and they will be tears of happiness!
Luckily, my friend Caz came to the rescue, and she just arrived as the chemo was gonna start. It was lovely to have someone there to take my mind off things, to chat away with and to have a good catch up! it made it all much easier as I was so scared of the chemo. Needles to say I cried again. They had to administer it slowly in case I reacted badly. I was asked several times if it hurt. I think had not Caz been there I would have been much more panicky. No better escapism than a good talking session with a girlfriend!
And here I am now. Back in my flat. Back to the “wait and see” game that chemo makes you play. How will I be tomorrow? and next week?