Monday, 26 November 2012

Chemo III: A New Hope

Day 5 of cycle 3 has started. I'm not going to jinx things by commenting on how I'm feeling, but here's roughly how things are going logistically this time round.

The hospital day was longer, partly because they pushed my appointment back by an hour. I don't mind, there are people who need more time than me (although I wonder sometimes how that's possible! It all seems to take ages.) But also because this time it's all going in via the portacath. Come 46 hours post hook up, all this cycle's drugs are in and there ain't no backing out. This suits me, really - after last time I think I can cope as I'm more confident the side effects will go, but I don't have 2 weeks of trying to get tablets into my system. So after the usual aperitif of minerals, steroids and anti-emetics, in goes the Oxaliplatin.

I should say that the insertion of the access needle to the portacath was an utter doddle. The hospital gave me some Emla cream, the local anaesthetic cream they use for children when they need to insert lines, and despite me needing 2 goes to get it right and putting on far too much so it all slipped, it worked a charm. Didn't feel a thing. I think I might sneakily use some before I have my next Zoladex today.

After the main course, a quick flush and the pump arrives. The only way I can describe it is as a clear plastic sports water bottle of about half a litre, inside which is a giant condom full of fluid and inside that a clear plastic tube. There's a thin line from the bottle up into the access needle and the line is quite long so you can put it down when you sleep, for example, and a carrying pouch with a strap. Not going to win any fashion awards, but I can live with that for two days.  When I get home I show it to the children who are, of course, deeply fascinated but also very good at one-sided hugs and not pulling on it.

The down side of this new regime is more cycles. The total course will still be six months but cycles are only two weeks apart not three, so a total of 11 cycles. On the plus side, the dosages are smaller because the period covered is two weeks not three. So another rejig of the mental timetable and it's particularly disappointing to find I have a dose quite close to Christmas, but that's the way this goes...

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