Friday, 17 February 2012

One down, five to go!

I had the first treatment of my new chemotherapy course today. As mentioned in an earlier post the chemotherapy agent I am taking is Doxorubicin; I’m due to have six infusions of this spread over an eighteen week period.
The process of having the chemotherapy is really straight forward, Katie and I go to the Chemotherapy Day Unit at the hospital at which I am being treated and I have a line inserted into a vein in the back of my hand, this is connected to a machine that slowly pumps in the chemotherapy agent. For the Doxorubicin treatment it takes about thirty minutes to infuse the drug and a few more minutes to flush the line through with saline. I sit in an armchair and I can read or chat to pass the time, once the infusion is complete I'm free to return home. Before treatment I have to take some anti-sickness tablets, I’ve also got some more anti-sickness pills and steroids to take over the next couple of days. I finished the infusion around four and half hours before writing this and I feel fine, no nausea or other side effects at this point (except for pink pee – Doxorubicin is red in colour and it tints the urine until it has been flushed through, think weak Ribena or is that too much information?). I just have to wait now for the next couple of weeks to see what other side effects might develop.

Yesterday I had an appointment with my consultant oncologist. We discussed the chemotherapy and also my current condition. This last couple of weeks I’ve occasionally been experiencing abdominal discomfort, sometimes accompanied by a very strong feeling of nausea. One or two of these incidents have included some pain along with the discomfort, luckily though they have come and gone in just a matter of five or ten minutes so they are not causing me much of a problem at this time. The oncologist’s view is that these symptoms may indicate that one of the abdominal tumours is pressing on part of my intestines. If the symptoms develop further he says that surgery will probably be required but that for now we just need to monitor the situation. I may get some inkling as to whether or not the chemotherapy is working if the symptoms I have been feeling decrease over the coming weeks. I am scheduled for a CT scan in early April and that will provide a clearer view on how the Doxorubicin is performing.
Last night we stayed at the Compasses Inn in Wiltshire. It’s a really traditional fourteenth century pub with good real ale, friendly service, lots of dark oak furniture and the smell of wood smoke from the open fire. It also serves some very enjoyable food, pork belly and pork loin followed by rhubarb crumble and custard provided a suitable pre-chemo treat for me!

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