*** Monday 29th June 2015 ***
Hi it's me again. Thanks again for all your touching messages. They help me, thanks.
I had an appointment to find out my line attachment for the chemotherapy treatment to come. The nurse checked my right arm veins with ultrasound equipment and says they are large and excellent for the PICC device (ie. a tube will be inserted into my elbow through a large vein, going up my arm and across my chest area, over my heart, for when the liquid chemotherapy medicines are introduced). The nurse has booked me in for an insertion date, next Tuesday, but may happen earlier if an early slot is available.
After a few days after the insertion, I will have to go back to the hospital for 6 hours of sitting in a chair getting my chemo medicines one by one on a drip (3 drugs = medicine cocktail). As I said before, the last chemo medicine is in a small pump (attached to my upper arm) that pumps the medicine for 46 hours into me. So I go home for 2 days. On the 3rd day I go back to the hospital to get the pump removed and the line to my chest is flushed out. They leave the line in me. I get to go home once this is done, and I have to keep an eye on any symptoms that may arise. No more chemo medicine is introduced till the cycle is up (14 days = 1 cycle) and then I go back to the hospital and start a new cycle.
As this proceeds there will be blood tests done by my local GP Duty Nurse and the cancer specialists at the hospital keep an eye on how I am handling the chemotherapy dosages.
Common effects/symptoms to expect during chemotherapy treatment which should pass after treatment:
- I have to be careful with the sun as my skin will be super sensitive. So I have to use lots of moisturisers, wear a large hat and generally cover myself up. Some products are supplied by the hospital pharmacy as they are aware of my chemotherapy treatment.
- Wash with lukewarm water, not hot., Skin becomes very sensitive.
- Hair will fall out, during treatment.
- Spots/rash develop. Do not scratch.
- Sickness/diarrhoea/etc. All the not so nice things.
My specialist recommends that I make a 'Chemotherapy Symptoms Diary' to keep a solid log of what my body is going through, so I bought a small notebook for my 12 weeks of treatment. It will also keep me straight as being tired through the treatment, my memory will be crap. I won't be going into detail on that on my DA Journal. May be distressing.
I also bought a digital thermometer to check myself when not feeling good. The info will be handy for doctors/specialists that need to know if I have problems over the phone. I have a cancer treatment hotline telephone number, just in case.
Today I was also introduced to a lovely peaceful cancer group called the 'Maggie's Centre'. They have a cool wee modern building based at the back of the hospital, surrounded by a nice big flower garden. It is run by specialists and volunteers. A lot of similar patients on the chemotherapy treatment visit there for a natter and a cup of tea. If you want to share what your going through, they listen and don't judge you, and share similar situations. Seems very cool and groovy for what seems like a long stretch of treatment. A quiet place. Somewhere to get things off your chest with similar people in the same situation.
So this week is going to be the relax week. Calm before the storm, and all that. Roll on September.
All the best,