Thursday, 12 June 2008

four down, two to go

Thursday 12th June

Another one bites the dust! Had the fourth chemo, it seems to have come around really quickly this time. Good show! The sooner I can get past all this the better. Although I can't really get my head round it as a milestone - it's sort of blah today. I am in “I don’t care cos I’m too tired to” mode. Also I am getting a tad concerned about my bloods as the WBC and the Nuetros have now gone below the norms - eek - don't fancy delay. Or a big lurgy! Kidneys seem to be doing ok though - must be all the wine!

Plus no sleep the first night!! Firstly I was all night with the hot flashes – had to strip the bed – horrible, and the worst it’s been since I had the surgery. Then, we had a pair of yobs smashing up everyone’s garbage who had foolishly left it in the road in bags for today’s collection - running up and down at 4 in the morning shrieking and yelling gleefully as they went about their trollish mayhem - if I'd had any energy I would've called the cops [or if I had a gun I wouldn't shot them! or myself! joke...], but as our bin is inside the gates in one of those horrendous plastic wheelies, I couldn't be bothered.

Had the heated blanket on my hand all the way through the infusion this time, as I had so much swelling and bruising in my hand last time and I was still a bit leery of having it in my right hand. And I think it did help, as my hand only swelled slightly, and it’s not so sore. Less bruising as well. Except for the very next day I whacked it against the wall – that reminded me to be a bit more careful that’s for sure – OW!! Lots of hopping about and cursing.

So far, so good – two days later and I have taken the final ‘serious’ anti-sickness tablets, so I am now having the little glass of red wine and the ‘emergency’ tablets to rely on. That definitely helps settle my stomach, even though with the dreaded ‘chemo mouth’ it doesn’t taste particularly pleasant. But it works, and it’s the first time in my life I’ve understood the term ‘for medicinal use’ when applied to alcohol! Whiskey though? Eww – think that’d make me sick for sure.

I saw Dr Hong [my oncologist] this time too, and she is very encouraging, without actually confirming anything, as is a doctors want. I swear if you ask them if the sky is blue on a sunny day, they will prevaricate and say ‘probably but it might turn green in half an hour’... In her opinion I am doing very well, as mentioned before, the surgery was very clean [I should think so, seeing as they removed half my innards!] and as the CA-125 dropped so rapidly from 1149 to 161 directly after that.

Basically I asked her if it was going to kill me how would we know - she did seem rather startled heh heh. She said it’s very difficult, as IF it comes back, it’s so small, that it takes awhile to see it. Little buggers. But what happens is you have a physical check up every three months, internal and external, to check for ‘bumps’ etc. for a year. I gather that at some point they will do a scan, and of course the CA-125 test, in case it starts rising again. Bad sign, and one I refuse to entertain. After the first year, the checks are every 6 months, then at 5 years you are in ‘remission’. Again, no-one will say ‘cured’ in case you get all excited. Can't have that eh? Too much good cheer? No no no...well, I shall be throwing a party on the 5 year mark that's for sure.

She agreed that the behaviour of the insurance company, Saga, was a disgrace, and suggested I write to them and perhaps point out that it would be better to have trained staff deal with people like me, as an insensitive person can [and does] cause a chaos with your emotions. So at some point I shall do that. It’s not WHAT they say, but HOW it’s said. Also she’s quite happy to write me whatever letter I need about being fit for travel, as soon as the chemo is finished. Phew.

The other thing I asked was about the continuing pain in my abdomen and she said that's normal after this style of surgery - seems Renninson rummaged around and basically ran his hands over every single organ he could reach [which is almost everything except my brain], and her delightful expression was that now all my organs, instead of sort of ‘flopping about comfortably in there’, are more like a 'congealed spaghetti'!!! Nice image!! So they're all 'stiff' and that's why I still have pain there. May get sorted, may not. I will have to see if there’s anything I can do about that. Maybe a bit more exercise would be good. Not that I feel like even moving at all.

Discovered about the weight problem! It’s the steroids AND the chemo – my face has gone all round and cherubic, and that’s a sure sign, plus no exercise [again – must get to it] and diet, like most chemo patients I just fancy stodge all the time, I think that mentally I feel it’ll ‘sop up’ the chemo – now I am back on the healthy diet, after pigging out on fish & chips on the weekend [fab!! best I ever had – usually I hate them, soggy things]. See here for info about this: weight gain[this link will take you to the web site]

Dr Hong said that as the Oil of Evening Primrose appears to be doing nothing all about the hot flashes, she will see after the chemo what we can do. I agreed with her, don’t want to do anything now, as I am inundated with enough drugs already.

So now just to see what the next two weeks bring – eating healthily and drinking gallons of water – oh, and the best bit is Mumsy was reading the blog, discovered about the Planalto wine being my favourite, and the upshot is there’s a case of it on the way! Fabulous – very hard to get it outside Portugal, and twice the price too! So that’s something to look forward to – I might even share it with Andrew...then again...might not!

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