Thursday, 25 October 2012

Snakes and ladders

And I just hit a snake.

Thursdays are always chaos in this house as commutes and school run and breakfast all collide with the cleaner coming in. This morning was worse as DD woke up last night with a temperature and was still suffering when she woke, so no school run, no activities for DS and DH at home to take me to hospital, which all adds up to a lot of people under foot by 8.30.

Despite this, DH and I make good time and arrive early. The room is stiflingly hot and right next to a building site, but at least has more natural light than last time. There's a weight check and blood pressure check and I am not particularly pleased to find that I've put on half a kilo since my last weigh in. According to the HCA who is doing the checks, some people lose weight and some put it on. Neither is in my plan - given that exercise seems to be a non-starter for me I guess that means a bit more diet control. However, all is within tolerance for chemo so we wait for someone to come and take the bloods.

One of the staff nurses, who I recognise from last time, comes to see me. She asks how I've been and I tell her about the side effects, all of which she indicates are perfectly normal. She puts the cannula in my right hand but seems to struggle to get blood out of it; even once it is flowing properly she finds flushing it afterwards tricky. Finally satisfied, she takes the blood off to the lab.

DH and I sit at opposite sides of the room, not really talking but playing on our respective phones. I read an Internet forum in an attempt to distract myself, but half of me is drifting off to sleep as the room is so warm. My lunch order is taken and coffee is brought - one thing the rest week has done is restore my taste for sweet things, coffee and wine. But nothing much punctures the minutes as the clock ticks on towards midday.

At 11.45 the staff nurse comes back. My neutrophil level - part of the white blood cell count - is 1.4 and the chemotherapy protocol requires that it be at least 2. No chemo today. The staff nurse pats my knee and says she will go and see what the arrangements are for fitting my deep vein line. When she has gone I have a proper cry. It's partly frustration at a set back at this early point and partly fury that next week's arrangements to go away are now completely messed up. It's also quite a lot of despair. How can I get over this, get on with my life, if I can't even get through one cycle of chemo?

DH is determined to be chipper about it all and tells me, in so many words, to pull myself together. I tell him I want to wallow in it for a bit and that frankly I'm allowed to. We go and have a nice lunch and do a couple of chores, including picking up our latest animation cell acquisition from the framers. The cell looks gorgeous and that at least cheers me up a bit, as does going and playing on all the motorbikes in the showroom whilst DH sorts out something with his bike.

But when I get home I'm shattered. Drained out behind the eyes. I make the calls I have to make to rejig the diary for the next few days then give up and go and sit on the sofa and watch telly with my children.

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