How auspicious is this?

After my post chemo zonked nap, I had a wee sneaky peak online and just had to comment on what I saw?

You know I love numbers, dates and I see auspicious signs and good omens wherever I can.  But this has to be something very special.

Today saw Final Chemo day, Easter Sunday, and the date is 04 04 2010 – special in itself .

It is a beautifully rounded number.

So imagine when I saw the blog stats counter and that that the site has been viewed 4444  times!  Amazing!  And even more amazing?  At some point early today, the counter would have stood at 4410 visitors – today’s date (4/4/10) – an incredible coincidence!!

  • Blog Stats

    • 4,444 hits

So I am reading that as a heap of auspiciousness and something rather special.

You donated: £50.00
To the charity: Cancer Research UK
To the fundraising page: Heather Laing’s Fundraising Page, created by Heather Laing
Your donation reference: D19974895

The last drops

More details later as I am too wiped out just now, but here is a picture if the final drops of taxotere being infused into my chemo weary veins.  Name, date and time are all there on the bottle to record this historic moment formally.

It’s been a long and emotional day.  I feel drained and overwhelmed, and too frightened to be overly glad I am through with it all – in case I ever have to come down this path again.

Details coming shortly.

The night before something

Well here we are again.

It is the night before – what exactly?  It could be the eve of Chemo 8, or then again it might not be.  I know I am always uncertain and it depends on blood tests and the usual monitoring.  However, this time there is more uncertainty than usual, mostly thanks to my little brush with pneumonia.

I will need to be absolutely clear of infection and I guess the blood tests and other checks should give some sense of that.  I might also need to have follow up checks including another chest X Ray before they decide.  This is all guesswork though, and knowing Dr W2 he is equally likely to send me up to the 5th floor if the bloods are ok.

I have mixed feelings (for a change!)  I feel so weak, frail and sick that I want to get on the other side of No 8 (and the whole course) and finally feel as if I can start moving towards recovery.  But for the same reasons (feeling so rough) I know how much the chemo drags me down and the thought of being pulled down from a very starting point is not an appealing one.

I think it is a combination between the effects of the monsterbiotics, and exhaustion from the 7 rounds of Chemo (thanks, Rocky), anaemia and that latest gift of pneumonia.  Today I had to rely on wheelchair assistance leaving Yangon.  Usually I manage unaided, as it is a small and well laid out airport.  However, even the short distances are beyond me.  It is frustrating and upsetting.  On arrival in Bangkok, I had to walk down a couple of flights of steps and a short distance.  I was in tears of exhaustion and weakness by the time we got the the vehicle.  I could feel the eyes of the other passengers on me, and judgements of the unfit, pathetic woman struggling to get down the stairs.  Can you imagine if I had to go UP stairs?!

I might have never been an athlete but I have always had stamina and willpower as well as good levels of energy.  Even when I was struggling to walk far after chemo 7, I was able to swim up to a kilometre at a time (thanks to the buoyancy as much as anything 🙂 ).  From where I am now, I cannot imagine feeling strong, well and fit again.

So I am in a very different (and unexpected) frame of mind to my usual Night before Chemo Jitters.  I have no idea what tomorrow will bring, but one thing is for sure.  24 hours from now we will all know.

A strange anniversary

It is 6 months today since I heard those words “highly suspicious of cancer”, and life changed.

In some ways it is hard to believe that 6 months have passed, as it has gone by in a blur.  However, it has been 6 months where almost all waking (and many sleeping) thoughts and actions have been taken over by the cancer diagnosis.  Planning is impossible and life is constrained in many ways.

However, 6 months have indeed passed.  Surgery ticked off, and 7 out of 8 chemo sessions also done.  So the heaviest and most difficult period is (hopefully) behind me.  One more chemo and then 5 – 6 weeks of radiation.  That is not long compared with 6 months.  And I am banking on feeling progressively better once the chemo after effects wear off a few weeks after chemo 8.

And to quote H on the 6 month milestone?

I don’t know if it seems longer or shorter than that, its half a year and that’s scary!”


The lost days – Friday, the lost weekend and beyond……..

Sleep was even more elusive on Thursday night.  My arm and the IV line were really quite tender and when I did sleep I was woken by discomfort in the IV site.  That triggered more scary thoughts.  I got myself in a particular tizzy about the vein swelling or clotting and imagined that my arm was really swollen.  Then I had those really irrational “I can’t phone the Dr in the middle of the night” thoughts and that led to me wondering if I should try and remove the IV line myself if I got really worried about and what stage would it need to be to warrant me removing it.  And of course total reluctance because that would mean finding another vein in the morning.  All totally irrational stuff, typical for the middle of the night.  Switching on the light and looking at the arm provided a bit of relief.  It was not visibly swollen and once my thoughts became more lucid I realised that it was not as painful as I thought it was, although it must have been bugging me to wake me up.

Finally dawn came, and before long it was time to return to the clinic.  I was again slotted in before the start of the regular day, adding further to the workloads and hours of the Dr and her PA.

The Dr told me that she had had a good discussion with  Dr W2 the previous evening and again between them, they had identified the treatment path.  My temperature was lower, though it had raised again the previous evening so I was along way from 48 hours of being afebrile.

Then it was scary time again.  Time to see if the vein would accommodate the antibiotic.  It was by now terribly tender so I half hoped it would not work, although the thought of another needle seeking out another vein in the leg still grossed me out, as well as scaring me.  My arm was again unwrapped and the Dr started to have a look at the site.  She was concerned that it was really bruising but there is no surprise in that.  With gentle coaxing she was able to flush and clear the entry point and with my eyes tightly shut, willing more than anything, I waited to see if the infusion would go in.  Can you believe – it did!!  That amazing, exhausted vein was coaxed and persuaded to allow another dose into my blood stream.  This time was without doubt the most painful.  The bruising around the site made it incredibly tender, and the fact that the fluid has to go in “in a slow push” meant that every second was really tough.  Finally, finally it was in and the infusion over.  The needle could be withdrawn, with great relief.

The final irony of this vein was that when the needle was taken out, after clotting so quickly each time before the infusion, it refused to clot and close up!!  This meant it required quite a bit of pressure to get it to stop bleeding.   Not easy to be cooperative when any pressure results in the arm retreating in the opposite direction!

The relief was enormous.  Now I could move onto oral antibiotics exclusively.  This meant a change from the antibiotics I was taking and starting monsterbiotics.  This was in the form of 2 types of very strong antibiotics particularly for people with suppressed or compromised immune systems.

It was nearly 9 am when all was finished and we left the clinic, exhausted.  My grand finale had been to walk back into the waiting room, so relieved at the removal of the needle and prospect of no more vein hunting – that I totally forgot that my hat was in my hand and not on my head!  Luckily, there was only one other person there and, bless him, he didn’t even react to the sight of a bald woman tottering towards him!  Clutching my monster pills and with instructions in my head of what to do I could finally head home.

And so to bed.  I am not sure what else happened on Friday, the third lost day, except for spending most of it sleeping!

The lost weekend and beyond – Saturday/Sunday……….. to today

To be honest, the last days have probably been the most difficult so far of this breast cancer road.  I feel weakened, nauseous (monsterbiotics?), constantly exhausted and the cough of the pneumonia has started to take hold.  I can’t stand for long, nor walk for any distance and of course my beloved swimming is out of the question for now.  I am sleeping for hours, and most of the rest of the time I spend lying down.  While my fever is much lower and within acceptable limits, my temperature is more raised than normal, adding to anxiety.  I just want to feel better and heave energy again.

I am not even thinking ahead to Sunday.  We will travel as originally planned tomorrow to Bangkok and see Dr W2 on Sunday.  It is unusual and strange, but chemo 8 is just not on my mind.  I have to get over this hurdle first and Rocky might be ready but I am not sure if will get the all clear for the next battering.