Thanks to Dan Gosling for his brilliant filming of the Steve White & The Protest Family videos
Chemo was finally here.
I had started my preparations a few days before. As a treat to my taste buds that could possibly be going south for the summer, myself and SJ had a meal out. Then five days before chemo started, I decided to do something drastic with my hair. SJ shaved it to a number six (hey, my favourite drama of all time!)
and dyed the hair that was left, Rubine Red. The thinking being that if it did not work, I could shave it all off before anyone saw it. As it happens, we were very pleased with it. Probably the best my hair has ever looked. Sadly, it will be all becoming off later this week or early next.
On the Monday before C-Day, I had a final check up at the dentist. The dentist told me that I would not be allowed any treatment while under going chemo, thanks to the fact that I may well bleed like a tap and the usual reasons of my immune system going AWOL.
It was a good job that did go as I had to have an extraction. The agro I will get in the next few months is enough without factoring in chronic toothache that could not be treated.
There are so many things that I have to look out for. For example, since my operations I have to be careful with my left arm. As I have mentioned before, I am not allowed any needles or blood pressure on it. I also found out that it is best not to let my left arm go over a boiling kettle. It was only over it for a split second, but the result was uncomfortable for a few hours.
Now a short interval. Me and the boys on stage the day after me chemo (have to make the most of it!)
Let me explain the chemo ward to those of you who have no knowledge of such a thing (and long may that continue for you). Before I first visited it, I had no idea what to expect. I guess I thought that it would be a private room and I would lie down on a bed. This is not the case. The ward is very relaxed with comfy chairs, tea, coffee and biscuits. It has a day ward feel to it (not surprising, because that is what it is). The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly from both patients and staff.
Lisa who runs the ward (not in a mafia sense you understand. She is the head nurse, but I cannot remember her title. We are not talking Goodfellas here) was pleased to see me. Lisa was the nurse who realised I was rather ill the last time I had turned up and had to be admitted to Ward 19 and had been keeping up with my progress ever since. I must also mention Keith here as well; he seemed delighted that I was writing a blog about it all (heh heh).
I sat down in me comfy chair and was hooked up to a machine and giving an intravenous (IV) drip of Ondansetron which is an anti sickness drug.
Second on the bill was Dexamethasone. This is a steroid also used for anti sickness. There are a number of side effects which took effect (for me) either that night or the day or two after. Increased irritability and insomnia being prominent. . The irritability was really kicking in on Sunday. So much so, that I developed an irrational hatred for all things Swiss and I questioned their ‘supposed’ legendary neutrality status which was achieved while hiding Nazi treasure (stolen), letting dodgy people open bank accounts (no questions asked) invent a deadly army knife and having a flag that resembled a target. Thankfully now I have calmed down. It is SJ I feel sorry for!
As previously mentioned in past posts, my chemo was called FEC T. I was giving the F and E with an IV injection which Lisa administered. Each took about eight minutes to insert in my arm, so Lisa had to put up with me whingeing about all kinds of society wrongs (I guess the steroids had kicked in early) all though I made no mention of Switzerland.
Finally C was put in a drip and took about 30 minutes to get through. All in all I was in there for about three hours. The experience was made more relaxing by listening to Richard Herring podcasts, which at times I was laughing a little too much at. I understand that by the time of the next one, I shall be bald and the overall effects will be more uncomfortable. I was giving some anti sickness tablets to take home and that was that (except to mention that my wee was now pink thanks to the drugs)
So that was last Thursday. Friday I was determined play a gig with the band, which meant driving over to Walthamstow. Before that, in the morning I visited Cathy my diabetes nurse( Cathy is a wonderful bubbly Scottish lady who is very thorough. I like to think of her as Cathy Specific!) who had the results of a blood test and I was informed that my results from a year ago from my Wellman test had improved dramatically. My blood sugar, liver, cholesterol and kidney readings were all fine. Last year they were off the scale. In fact so far off the scale that my health was in danger. I have SJ to thank for the change. It seems that my health is now better than at any time in my adult life, cancer aside And of course there is a chance that there is no cancer in me anyway. Funny old thing is life.
Anyway, the gig went great and a good time was had by all and I had no ill effects. As I say (well write actually but lets not get into semantics) I am still waiting for the full effects to kick in, but everyone is different. It seems that it will take at least ten days,which is good as we will be driving to Tolpuddle to open the Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival and there is no way I will be missing that!! http://www.tolpuddlemartyrs.org.uk/index.php?page=steve-white-and-the-protest-family
I will leave you good people with a live version of the song that Steve wrote to highlight male breast cancer and to urge you all to check your man boobs for lumps. We are hoping to record it soon and have it as a download with the money going to Breast Cancer Care.
You can check out Dans youtube page at http://www.youtube.com/user/SatNavDan
Love and pease pudding