So far, as at 10.51pm on Day 3, recognising that past performance is not an indicator of future outcomes, but hoping the good run continues, while simultaneously praying it knocks ten thousand bells out of the Squatter, I’ve not suffered any drastic side effects from the chemotherapy.* On my first day, Wednesday, I slept for the first couple of hours after taking four of the following pills:
NB The vinyl disposable gloves just happened to be in the cupboard courtesy of, you guessed it, Hoarder Rent.
Before I took the poison pills, I was feeling tired after a busy few days so I would probably have needed a rest/sleep in the middle of the day anyway. Five hours after breakfast (a recent daytime record for the longest time for me to go without food!), I woke up and had some soup and then immediately had another lie down as I was still feeling tired. The food didn’t quite settle but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I felt sick or nauseous.
I wonder whether the not-quite-settling feeling was because of the Temo and/or because I hadn’t let the food digest at all before lying down and/or because I was expecting to feel sick so I was looking for signs of nausea and sickness. I had taken anti-sickness tablets just before taking the Temo so that might have counteracted any sickness I would otherwise have felt. Who knows? It’s always another area to work on for my brainstorm chart!
I was told a month or so ago by one of my Specialist Nurses that Temo is one of the “better” chemos in terms of the severity of the most common side-effects. However, she said that the first day is the roughest day for the vast majority of people (sickness, nausea etc). It seems that, once again, I am the exception that proves the rule.
On Wednesday, I was asleep by 9pm but then woke up at 1.30am and was awake for a few hours. After busting (for the most part) the sleep-stealing nature of the steroids, I thought the Temo might perhaps be taking its place. Last night, however, I slept for seven hours straight so hopefully it was a one-off…
At least the three hours awake during the middle of the night gave me an opportunity to finish the audiobook of “Home” by Harlan Coben. It’s the first book in any form that I’ve finished since Squattergate began. A good one at that by my favourite twist-and-turn crime/mystery author.
All My Troubles Seemed So Far Away
I was instructed to take the tablets at the same time each day, which had been 11.30am by the time we got back from the hospital on Wednesday. Yesterday, as the kids were at nursery, I felt like we were in danger of hanging around all morning waiting for me to pop my pills. I had a bath after my second breakfast (I have to fill up the tank to go for four hours or more without food!) and then went for a short stroll and longer roll with Graham to Tesco to get out in the fresh air.
Timed to perfection, I then took the pink pills and another anti-sickness pill before retiring to my igloo. Thankfully, I had no nausea or sickness even after eating my lunch four hours later. Graham and I, in the meantime, had watched the end of the film “The Man Who Knew Infinity”. It’s the first time in a while that I’ve watched the end of a movie rather than falling asleep! It was an interesting film, albeit not the happiest in places, but that’s just the way we like our entertainment to roll in this house!
I felt well enough to have my tea at the table with the Famous Five, and sat there for a while longer chatting. Then a Doozie came out of nowhere, in much the same way that it had done four or five days earlier. Thankfully, it was a shorter and relatively comfortable one as has been the case recently. By the time Jennifer was going to bed, I had recovered enough to read her a story, although in our bed not in her bed – the latter might well have induced another seizure if I had been able to make it upstairs in the first place!
Today has [insert, as you wish, the above and any other relevant caveats ad nauseum], been much the same as yesterday without the seizure. Instead of the seizure this evening, I played hide and seek and peek-a-boo with both kids from the comfort of my bed. Jennifer instructed us what to do and we all had a good laugh. Leo’s got a natural sense of timing. He was on the floor out of my sight for what seemed like ages and I wondered whether he was crawling under the bed to the other side. I asked Jennifer where Leo was, at which point he popped up, shrieked and we all laughed. A much better way to pass the time than a Doozie!
My chemotherapy pre-assessment on Wednesday with the nurse was quick but my tablets weren’t ready when we had finished so we had to go into a waiting room. I believe it is called “Chemo Day Unit 1”. It is a very large room with four or five large circles of red comfortable chairs. There were maybe a dozen people around the room, most of whom were hooked up to IVs with a few companions next to them.
Surprisingly, they didn’t look like stereotypical cancer patients (i.e., bald), or even ill at all in most cases, but nonetheless I found it strangely but easily the most depressing experience I’ve had to date. Maybe it was because I could “see” the treatment going ahead around me. Downstairs when I was waiting for radiotherapy, although there might (infrequently) be a couple of people waiting with IVs hooked up, patients were waiting around me for radiotherapy and/or appointments with the consultants/nurses, just as I was. It was a waiting room not a treatment room. Maybe I felt it was depressing because I felt like I was, by waiting not for an IV but for a bag of tablets, intruding on the privacy of those around me.
Graham agreed afterwards that it was one of the most depressing moments of the last six months, although he’s got the memories of seeing me practically comatose in ITU, which I don’t have (being practically comatose and all!). In short, I am grateful for the small but important mercy that I am able to bring my tablets home and take them in the comfort of my Rents’ home.
While I’m on the drugs front (drum roll please), may I introduce you to my current daily cocktails regime.
1. Lansopra Sunrise
I have to take this tablet 30 minutes before I eat breakfast.
2. Queenie Bellini
This mega mix of greatest “hits” (most of which are intended to be anti-fits for a Queen) is taken immediately after breakfast. Except on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday when a little extra kick is added to the mix with the following preventative antibiotic (co-trimoxazole) while I’m on both steroids and Temo:
3. “C” Freeze
I have to take the Temo (in the packet, before the scissors and the gloves come out!) two hours after food and two hours before eating again. I’ve been taking the anti-nausea pill (not pocketed, as presumably it’s not toxic) alongside it. I can take a further two anti-sickness tablets a day (six hours apart) if required. I took a second one as a precaution on each of Days 1 and 2 but forgot today as I felt fine.
This is the final (legal and prescribed) group of highs of the day, which I take after eating my tea. All of them are anti-seizure drugs of one form or another.
No wonder I rattle when I shake!
*Can anyone think of any further caveats that I might need to add?
**As I hadn’t heard of the cocktail I have woefully punned, I thought it would be unfair of me not to give you a clue: it’s a New Orleans cocktail including absinthe and cognac brandy.