Edging further forward

Just a quick post – I’m just back from the hospital and No 5 is done, thank goodness!  I’m just at that fuzzy, blurry, numb stage at the moment so will put this down quickly before the side effects which are hurtling headlong towards me finally kick in.

Things were a bit different this morning.  I checked in to Counter No 2 as usual.  However, almost immediately I was ushered to the lab for blood tests.  Oh no!  Where was my lovely oncology nurse with her picnic basket and gentle touch?  Reluctantly, and somewhat petulantly I agreed to put my right hand down so that they could stick another needle in me.  This one was also different.  No syringe but a thin plastic tube.  When it was finished I saw that they had taken three vials of blood.  Hmm – do I have any left?

Then the usual weight and Blood Pressure checks – weight down a further 2 kg (thanks nausea and foul tasting mouth) and BP high – surprise – what do you expect if you are going to stick needles in me and then pump me full of toxic stuff!

With these changes and the lack of the oncology nurse, I really expected a change in process too with the new type of chemo.  Eventually though we saw Dr W2 and he did the usual checks and pronounced me fit for number 5.  However, he did say that he was a bit concerned about my white cell count and that I have to come back tomorrow for a booster shot.  Great!  I usually have 3 needles to fear over the course of each chemo cycle.  This time I have an extra two with the additional blood test as well as tomorrow’s jab.  I am getting such a scaredy about the needles, though with reason as the tenderness of the skin and tendency to bruise alarmingly mean that a jab is really sore.  He also said that this new chemo (Taxotere) has a risk of allergic reaction so I would need to be observed and monitored careful.  Lovely – something else to add to the list of anxieties.  It also has new side effects including fluid retention, depletion of white cells and joint pain.

Then off to the 5th Floor and oncology ward.  One thing on my mind was that I had not had numbing cream put on the port area.  Usually the oncology nurse does this when she takes the blood.  My port may be amazing but it is also scary and tender inserting the needle and any extra help to reduce pain is something I actively look for.  I also know it takes time to work so was able to obsess nicely about the cream, the possibility of allergic reaction as well as everything else.

Lovely oncology nurse put on some numbing cream and left me for a while to let it take effect.  It is so nice not to feel under pressure, though it is a good time to nurture and breed those worries.

Soon enough she was back with her clanky trolley and started to prep me with the usual procedure – remove the cream, clean the port area, give it a wee press (ouch) for good luck, set out the green surgical gauze and then take out the needle.  More yoga breathing and in the needle went, with a bit of a squeal this time the port area being quite tender.

Three hours later, several infusions of saline, one of Taxotere, numerous side effect meds, the usual anti clotting agent and another squealy moment when the needle came out, and all was done.  Given that the port site is a lot more tender than usual and needed a bit of pressing to stop the bleeding which was a bit whimper inducing I asked the nurse if it is all right to swim tomorrow. Her response (paraphrased) was something along the lines of – if you feel well enough to go swimming then go ahead.  She made it clear though that she would be rather surprised if I could!

I’m now at that numb, fuzzy headed, repeating myself stage – ironically incapable of deciding on chemo treat 5, and waiting to see what new side effects Taxotere will bring me.  One thing is sure – I will be sharing them all here!