Monthly Archives: February 2010

Cycle 1, Treatment 1 – DONE!

So today was Cycle 1, Treatment 1. Each cycle consists of 2 treatments, to be had on day 1 and 15. So my next chemo will be on 10th March.

The chemo I have is ABVD. This is 4 drugs: Adriamycin (also known as Doxorubicin), Bleomycin, Vinblastine and Dacarbazine. I have all 4 drugs on each treatment.

When I got there, my nurse for the day came over and inserted a cannula and hooked me up to a drip. First was some saline. Followed by the Vinblastine which was just a small pouch to drip through. After that was the Adriamycin which was what they call a “push” (a syringe) which was given at the same time as saline. The Adriamycin was a lovely red colour (and yes, my wee was red too!). Then was an anti sickness “push” and a steroid “push”. After was the Dacarbazine which is really sensitive to light, so was wrapped in silver foil, and then the drip line, my cannula and the bag were all covered in plastic so the light couldn’t get through, More saline, and then the Bleomycin. The Bleomycin is something that I may drop after 2 cycles, due to the clinical trial I am taking part in. More saline, then home. The whole thing took about 4 hours, though that might be a bit shorter next time as she put the Dacarbazine in really slowly, and then sped it up.

So far, I feel fine. I can’t help but think that this is the calm before the storm. I was sent away with an array of mouth washes, (Corsodyl and Difflam for the medics among us) anti-sickness (Ondansetron and Metoclopramide) tablets and anti-gout tablets (Allopurinol). Depending on how my bloods are next week, I may be given a stimulant injection to build up my white cell count. This is to make sure that they don’t have to postpone any of my treatments due to my white count being too low to cope with it.

My next appointment is on Tuesday to see Fiona, and to have more bloods. Then in again on the following Tuesday for more bloods, then chemo on Wednesday.

Cancer – you picked the wrong girl to mess with!!

Late Night Ramblings

It’s far too late to be uploading photo’s etc, but fear not, I shall put pictures of wig shopping up soon. I was very impressed with the whole experience though. More about that another time.

For now…..

Things I am looking forward to

  • Not having a horrible cough any more
  • No more shoulder pain
  • No more itchiness
  • Having a glass of wine and not being in pain
  • Jake turning one on May 22nd
  • Race for Life on June 13th
  • Chris and Kelly’s wedding in August, at which point chemo should be over and I should be cancer free!!
  • An evening at the Pudding Club with Billi and Nic
  • A getaway in Devon in December

Things I have bought….

  • An ultrasoft toothbrush for when I have poorly gums
  • An eyebrow pencil for when I have none
  • Some funky headwear
  • Comfy “chemo clothes”
  • Vaseline for when I get cracked lips
  • A wig (technically I didn’t buy this, I got it free on the NHS)

Things I still need to buy

  • False eyelashes
  • More funky headwear
  • Lemon squash (I’ve read it helps with sickness)
  • Loads of other things I’ve probably forgotten!!

Appointments and Stuff!

Haven’t updated for a few days, sorry about that. Right, so what’s been going on?

Friday I had my PET/CT scan. This basically involved me being injected with some radioactive sugar, sitting in a darkened room for an hour and a half, and then lying on a bench which moved and scanned me from head to foot. It looked something like this:

The idea is that the sugar is absorbed by the cancer cells and shows up bright yellow on the scan. After the scan, I wasn’t allowed to be around pregnant women or under 16’s for 8 hours, so ended up staying the night at my friend Nick’s house. I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything other than water for the 6 hours leading up to the scan, which meant nothing from 8am. Obviously, if  Jake allows it, I sleep in, so I didn’t eat breakfast that morning. They were then running 45 mins late, so we didn’t leave til nearly 5pm! I was STARVING!!

Saturday, as you know involved me getting my haircut. My hairdresser was lovely, and I love my new cut, just hate what it represents. He was a sweetie, and wouldn’t let Neil pay for my haircut. That was really not expected.

Monday was yet another appointment, this time at the fertility clinic to chat to someone about freezing some embryo’s.  The chemo that I will be having only poses a small risk of infertility, but a risk I didn’t really want to take. The long and short of it is, it would take 5 weeks, and cost in the region of £3000 as we already have a baby. We didn’t make any decisions there as I wanted to speak to my haematologist (who shall now be known as Fiona!) first in regards to whether we could wait that long before starting treatment.

Tuesday was an appointment with Fiona. I was weighed AGAIN. Had bloods done AGAIN. Fiona had the results of my scan from Friday and showed them to me. The good news is, it hasn’t spread to anywhere else. It is just the mass in my chest. The bad news is, it has grown since my last CT scan in December (don’t get me started – if it’s grown since December, imagine how much it’s grown since I originally went to the docs in August!). By looking at my scan, she was able to stage me as 4a. This is because there is slight lung infiltration. The worst is can be is 4b. Yeah, so not great actually, but still a really good prognosis, and I shall keep focussed on that. The difference between a and b is the lack of symptoms. Because I don’t have fevers, night sweats or unexplained weight loss of 10% or more over the last 6 months, I’m classed as an a. This is just as relevant as what stage I’m at.

Because of the stage I’m at, we decided that it was best not to wait the 5 weeks it would take to freeze some embryo’s, and my chemo is now due to start next Wednesday, 24th Feb. I can’t say I’m not nervous, but I’m still not really sure how I feel about the whole thing. It’s still not really real in my head.

Tomorrow brings wig shopping with Neil and his mum, and a wedding of two very good friends of mine.

This may sound like a weird question. Chemo photo’s? Yes or no?

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Today marks the first step for me really.

I’m getting my hair cut short. It’s something I still have a little control over. I always used to love having my hair short, but now I don’t really have much choice, I don’t want to do it. There have already been tears this morning, and no doubt there will be more later when I have it done. It’s the right thing to do. If I’m going to lose it anyway, surely having it short makes the transition easier. Even if not by much. The next step is going wig shopping.

I woke up today feeling angry. Angry and scared. So, so scared of what’s to come and all the things I’m going to have to go through, and what I’m putting my family and friends through. It breaks my heart that I’ve made so many people cry this week. My brother had cancer when he was 17, and although he’s 40 now, I’m just so sad that my parents have to go through this again. It’s all still quite raw. I’m taking it one day at a time, but I’m still not really sure what’s going on in my head.

So many people are telling me that I’m brave. But I’m not, I’m anything but. What I actually am is scared out of my wits. Not just about the next few months, but about the rest of my life. This is always going to be part of  my life, it’s always going to be there and there’s no getting away from that.

I’ve had so much support from my family and friends and I’m so grateful for that. I told my brother before I told my mum and dad. I knew he’d be more rational than them. He came with me when I told them, which I think helped mum to stay strong and not break down in front of me.

It’s not that I’m trying to avoid my mum at the moment, it’s just that I don’t think I can handle being around her. I know she’s distraught over this and I can’t bear to see her like it. If she see’s me upset, it’s going to start her off, and I’m such a mess at the moment I can’t guarantee that I won’t break down.

I just wish the doctor listened the first time. It makes me so angry. Why didn’t he just listen?

Enough. I have wallowed this morning. Now? Haircut time.

A Whole New World

My name is Roz, and I’m a cancer patient.

I guess that’s something I need to get used to saying. I have cancer. I have Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I haven’t really figured out which one sounds best. Is there a best?

I knew I had Hodgkin’s. I’ve known for months. The hard thing was getting anyone to believe me. When a medical professional tells you you’re OK, you believe them. Why wouldn’t you?

I feel a lot of things at the moment, and the biggest one is angry. I’m angry that no one listened. I’m angry that it took two months from someone eventually listening to diagnosis.

I don’t think it’s really sunk it yet. I know that they’ve told me I have Hodgkin’s. Nodular Sclerosis Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, to be precise. Apparently it’s the most common form of HL (get used to the abbreviations!!), is more common in females, and the average age of diagnosis is 28. How old am I again? Oh right, 28. It just doesn’t really feel like it’s happening to me at the moment.

I’ll go into more detail of what HL is in another post. Right now, I just need to get my thoughts down. What I will say is that HL is the most curable type of cancer and has a really high treatment success rate. If you had to choose a cancer, this is the one to choose.

I could go on to talk about clinical trials, treatment plans and a whole other minefield of stuff, and I more than likely will, but not today.

I can’t always promise to be upbeat. You may come here and find me feeling a bit maudlin sometimes. But I can promise that I am going to do my damnedest to kick the arse out of this and come out stronger!

Don’t go anywhere. I’m gonna need you!!