All Blue Underlined texts are links to other sites and stuff
26th April. I was back down the QE to see my Consultant Mr K, who along with the BC care nurses, have been great to me. I have heard a few horror stories from other BCers, about the lack of respect shown to them by staff just going through the motions. Lucky for me, I have nothing but praise.
Now, my main hope here was to hear that I was to have Chemo. Some of you might say that I am being crazy. Yes, I am aware of how horrible Chemo is, but to me, it gives me more chance of getting rid of this alien inside of me.
Mr K shook my hand and said that he had ‘good news’. These two words were not computing with my brain. I had not heard these words in a medical sense all year. The good news was that out of the 20 lymph glands that he had taken out, only one had cancer. He also informed me that I was to have Chemo and maybe Radiotherapy after, as a precaution.
The following paragraph has been edited as the Doctor I referred to as Dr Chemo, has said that he is fine with me using his full name. This does not mean that others in past posts have refused. I just never got around to asking them. Lets be honest. Dr Chemo brings visions of an American 80’s cartoon figure who spoke in a gruff rough voice and was the size of a house. I can assure you that Dr Kristeleit has neither of those characteristics.
This would be my last appointment with Mr K for a while. Mr K has been brilliant to me and I guess that it is an intimate relationship. He has not seen me naked, but has seen parts of me that no one else has! I was to be handed over to a new guy, Dr Kristeleit. Dr Kristeleit may actually be reading this, so Hi Dr Kristeleit (if you are reading this). If you are not reading this, Hi Dr Kristeleit (our friendship does not rely on you reading this blog. After all you are supervising my personal ‘War against BC’) Errr, where was I?
Oh yeah. Dr Kristeleit explained that because the cancer had gone to my lymph glands (even though it was only one) it upped the ante. Once it finds the lymph glands, it knows its way around the body. How best to explain this? TRY THIS… It’s like, once it arrives at the lymph glands, it is handed a map of your body and it can see all of the interesting places that it can go and visit and pitch its metaphorical tent (Like Anal Botox in my last post, Metaphorical Tent is a great name for a band. I see them as a hippy prog rock band playing colleges in North London, but not famous enough to take advantage of the ‘Prog Rock’ revival that took place for about a week in 2009).
This is why I need chemo (sorry, to confuse, I am back talking about my Chemo now, not some under achieving prog rock band, that only exists in my head).
Anyway, the Chemo I am to have is called FEC T. I know, I know…
FEC–T chemotherapy is divided into two parts. The FEC part is given separately to the T part. I will have 3 Three FEC (5FU, epirubicin and cyclophosphamide) during the first few months, followed by three doses of T (docetaxel) over the next few months.
FEC–T treatment will be given to me as a day patient. Before you start treatment you’ll need to have a blood test, either on the same day, or a few days beforehand.
The nurse will insert a thin, flexible tube into a vein in the hand or arm, through which the Chemo will be given. It may be uncomfortable or a little painful, but it shouldn’t take long. Some people have their chemotherapy given through a thin, plastic tube that is inserted under the skin and into a vein near the collarbone or passed through a vein in their arm.
Once the Chemotherapy is ready I will be given anti sickness drugs. These are usually given by injection but can also be given as tablets. I will also have some to take home. To be honest, I could have done with these while watching the Orient over the past six months. I may have to keep some back for next season, just in case.
I will be given a short course of Steroid tablets to take the day before the docetaxel chemotherapy and for two days after. These help prevent an allergic reaction to docetaxel and help reduce some of the other chemotherapy side effects sickness and fluid retention. Hence the Half Man Half Biscuit song at the top.
Here we go with the list of Possible side effects. Hold on to your hats.
Risk of infection
More chance of this as I am also now type 2 diabetic
Bruising or bleeding
FEC–T can reduce the production of platelets, which help the blood to clot.
FEC can reduce the number of red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body. A low red blood cell count is called anaemia. This may make you feel tired and breathless.
Feeling sick or being sick
This is a common side effect of chemotherapy, especially towards the end of treatment and for some weeks after it’s over. It’s important to try to pace yourself and get as much rest as you need. Try to balance this with taking some gentle exercise, such as short walks, which will help. If tiredness is making you feel sleepy, don’t drive or operate machinery or host any game shows.
This usually starts 3–4 weeks after starting treatment, although it may occur earlier. Hair usually falls out completely. You may also have thinning and loss of eyelashes, eyebrows and other hair. This is temporary and your hair will start to grow again once the treatment has finished. Your hair may grow back straighter, curlier, finer or a slightly different colour than it was before.
I did not know that my hair could grow back curly and if it comes back grey, then I may have to invest in some Grecian 2000 (is that still going?) Also, my best features are my eye lashes.PLEASE DON’T HARM THEM!!
Your mouth may become sore or dry or you may notice small ulcers during this treatment.
You may notice that food tastes different. Normal taste usually comes back after treatment finishes.
This is a tricky one. I am tempted to eat all of the stuff that I do not like, like prunes, just for the hell of it. I certainly do not want to waste decent food if I will not appreciate it.Dr Chemo also mentioned that I may get a metallic taste for a couple of days after each fec in treatment
The treatment can cause a rash or dry skin, which may be itchy.The skin may darken because of excess production of pigment. It usually returns to normal a few months after the treatment has finished.
During treatment with FEC–T, and for several months afterwards, you will be more sensitive to the sun and your skin may burn more easily than normal. You can still go out in the sun, but should wear a suncream with a high sun protection factor (SPF) and cover up with clothing and a hat.
Not much danger of that then.
So anyway, that is a fair few to get on with
I just wanted to say that Oh hang on. YOU MEAN THERE ARE MORE!?
May irritate your bladder. It’s important to drink as much fluid as you can (at least two litres) during the 24 hours following chemotherapy to help prevent this. Epirubicin is red and, as a result, your urine may become a pink-red colour. This is normal and can last up to 48 hours after your treatment. The bladder may think it is Robert De Nero circa Taxi Driver.
Some people can have an allergic reaction to docetaxel while it’s being given. Signs of this can include skin rashes and itching, a high temperature, shivering, dizziness, a headache and breathlessness.
You may be given steroid tablets to take at home the day before treatment to reduce the chance of this happening. Instead of steroid tablets, you may be given a steroid by injection into a vein (intravenously) 30–60 minutes before the docetaxel
Pain in joints or muscles
This may be caused by docetaxel.
Occasionally, flu-like symptoms may occur. You may have headaches, a high temperature, aching joints and muscles.
So everything except Fluid Retention
You may notice that you gain weight and/or that your ankles and legs swell. This decreases slowly once your treatment has finished. To help reduce the chance of fluid retention, you will be given steroid tablets (usually dexamethasone) to take for three days, beginning the day before treatment.
Hmm, I may start a game of Side Effect Bingo!
Sunday will see my return with the band as we play a show in Chesterfield. Its gonna be a blast
The thing is. No matter what agro I get out of this, I know that the ends justify the means. It has to be done and Everyone with the horrible disease knows that .Reading various forums on the subject, that is exactly how to cope with it and there is so much relief when the treatment is over.
I have found a lot of brave people out there on forums, twitter, Facebook, on blogs and in person.Not to mention those that support us. Not only friends.
We all have on aim KICK CANCERS ASS!!!!
Love and Peace
Now to finish with a song for my fellow suffers of the female persuasion.
More power to you all