Saturday, June 6, 2009
Chemo, messing with my head.
Oooh you poor thing you're going for chemo. Mmmm I had a friend who had chemo and they really went through it. Sick as a dog it made them. Knackered all the time. Can't sleep.
All the way through this process, this journey, I have not researched anything on the web. I decided early on that unless my consultant or doctor who was holding my notes and was talking to me about me that everything else was hearsay or rumour. This isn't to say that other peoples experiences are valid or to say that they didn't happen it's just they didn't or haven't happened to me, 16 stone of hairy Yorkshire. Whether they do happen in the future well that maybe but until I go through it, it will be me experiencing things for the first time.
"I'm scared, I've let it in, I've let all the stories and rumours about chemo in and I'm sh*tting myself Wend." It was the night before chemo starts, we'd been at the hospital that day for clinic (they take your bloods the day before every chemo to ensure you're strong enough to take the next hit). Wendy was superb, she always is when I need her, she's my strength my voice of reason when all my head can do it panic or stress she cuts through it and puts me straight. She just held me tight and talked me through the panic, she let my tears fall and she gave me reason. Reason to do this, reason to attack my body with chemicals in order to get rid of this interloper that has dug itself into my chest.
One of the givens with chemo is that it will damage your veins given time. It's one of those things, if you're pushing liquids into a pipe that isn't made for liquids to be pushed into it's going to do some damage along the way. For this reason the nursing staff at Western Park are amazing at finding your veins and getting cannula's in. They also have a rule, each member of staff has two attempts to get the cannula in. If they fail after two then they pass on to someone else, this means no-one gets stressed and the pressure is taken off the nursing staff.
As I sat there having my first lot of drugs I looked around at my fellow chemo patients and saw people from all walks of life, cancer doesn't seem to like one type of person in particular, it's not fussy like that. I saw people who looked physically and emotionally drained, people who were hopeful, people who had possibly given up being anything other than a person with cancer, people who slept through their treatment. To round it off the lady who sat next to me couldn't have been more cheerful, whether she was a full picnic I'm not sure but she was lovely and quite a tonic to talk to.
As a virgin I had to be treated gently and the drugs administered slowly! Really slowly. 5 hours for the first one to go in! Fortunately Wendy and I had known about this so I'd put in my laptop and mp3 player and Wendy had put in a puzzle book, a book and a couple of magazines and some nibbles.
And that was that, 8 hours after arrival, I had had all the drugs I was prescribed. Some had been given intravenously through a drip others had been given into the intravenous line but were controlled by the nurse squeezing the syringe. Other than a little discomfort when one of the drugs was going in it was just a case of sitting and watching the world go by, boring but part of the whole process.