Ten days in Portugal amongst my family, including my two little nieces, was spent profitably reading some books, relaxing and eating seafood. After this, I feel much better and ready to begin my chemotherapy course. Some preliminary meetings and a PET scan later revealed little new information, other than to the best of medical knowledge right now, we must assume the liver spots are secondaries, even though they are not textbook examples. Some more information came back on the tumor as well, and it appears to be genetic in origin, more blood scans will confirm a little more going forward.
This began today, with a four hour long trip to the treatment suite at the London Oncology Clinic (LOC). This space age center has a dozen booths all decked out in white, and electrical adjusting big comfy chairs. During the hours, they injected a large dose of something called Oxyplatin, whilst explaining all the side effects I might feel (nausea, vomiting, tiredness, aching feet and hands plus a sensitivity to the cold). I also got a large stack of drugs to take over the next three weeks, including tablets of the 5FU-based main chemotheraphy drug, called capecitabin, who’s side effects include nausea, vomiting, tiredness, aching hands and feet and hold on, it sounds just like the other one. They also bought me all the tea, coffee, water and sandwiches I wanted – awesome.
Actually, there are a few differences, and I was given a large number of other supporting durgs to help control any expected and not-as-expected side effects. The staff were very friendly, and I really felt I understood what was due to happen over the next few weeks. They discussed 8 “cycles” of three weeks each – which I realised meant the seventh cycle would begin on my birthday ! – but then again I think there is a solid probability of further liver surgery interupting things halfway through, once we have had more scans and seen what effect the chemotheraphy have had on the cancer secondaries on the liver.
Still coming at this from a positive viewpoint – I have no adverse reaction to the oxyplatin today other than a slight prickling from cold wind coming through my jumper and an odd reaction to eating cucumber from the fridge – packed full of slightly cold water, it was a little bit like my tounge being burnt – ouch. But I take it as more positive news that my body coped with the initial dose well. Other than that, I need to do some ongoing blood tests to monitor white blood cell counts, keep away from prolonged access to infectious people, and just listen to my body – rest when it’s tired and report any side effects felt to the LOC team, who can tweak doses of the drugs to manage and reduce them as much as possible. I might even manage to fit a bit of work back into all of that – back into the office on Wednesday and seeing how things go.
Thanks to all who have offered best wishes and kind words during my reappearances in social society ! I really don’t mind talking about it, even at “fun” situations, because for me talking about it and acknowledging everything that’s happening is a superb way of avoiding falling into a “denial” situation, where I just try and put my head down and ignore everything, which as a long term strategy could be an emotional disaster. Equally don’t feel obliged to hide any sad feelings from me – I don’t have the monopoly on being upset about this – and sharing sadness is also another way this situation becomes more real and manageable. Naturally I am trying to keep positive, but some sadness and venting of emotions is an essential part of that.
Right, off to put all my new pills in my fancy new pill holder (yey ! Toys !) – look forward to seeing people soon, but you may just need to allow a couple more rainchecks here and there. I’ll be sure to let you know though – don’t withold any invites on MY account 😉