Friday, 15 November 2013

Snowdrops and Dragonflies

It's Day One of the Cycle I guess, the chemo tablet is now well and truly inside my blood, absorbed by the juices in my stomach and broken down, just hope the bile didn't destroy most of it before the poison gets to work.
We set off early, not knowing whether the A1M to Newcastle would be busy, it always is, but managed again to arrive 30 minutes early.  I stopped off at the Charlie Bear Shop, a beautiful little store inside Northern Cancer Centre, a nice big extension on the back of the Freemans Hospital.
It's quite a large airy building, radiotherapy takes the whole downstairs floor, clinics ground floor and wards 2nd floor, although that's not exactly how the floors are named.  We enter on level 1, to me ground floor!
I always stop here and buy a card or something as the money goes to cancer at the hospital.  Looking for a present I asked about putting a couple of books in there and splitting some money with their charity and MFMRF.  We got on about mesothelioma, and I asked about Dragonflies and she mentioned Debbie.  I told her that unfortunately Debbie had died, but the emblem of the Dragonfly was Debbie's and to all of us it represented the Meso Warriors, the Snowdrops the cancer charities and the fight for research.  At least I hope I am right, it would be nice to think that Debbie will always be thought of by the use of the Dragonflies and that she brought together the Meso Warriors.  What a beautiful legend to leave and be remembered for.
So up we went to ward 36, we sat till just after 11 when we were then called into the Chemo lounge.  What a large unit, a full seating area in front, then side wards and beds off to the right.  It wasn't so full so we were able to sit together.  My nurse introduced herself and started with the dreaded forms, then stopped.  When did I last have blood?  3 weeks ago, oh, no chemo unless the blood is recent.  So out came the needle, not a problem, I didn't even feel it.  Two hours to pass before the results!  Holy Lord what to do for 2 hours. 
We walked right through the hospital to the restaurant at the other side.  I couldn't believe it, I actually managed the full walk without stopping to pant or breathe.  I felt great, alive and happy.  The food was not recommendable I must say but we got another 30 minutes down and returned to the cancer side.  This time walking wasn't as good, the corridor seemed oppressive and very hot, at one point I thought the heat was going to make me faint.  I rushed out of the open doors once we got back to our side.  Oh to feel the cool rush of air!
We went back at 1.45, bloods were back and the chemo tablet ready, so I popped the drugs, which I realised wasn't the low dose I was expecting, Dr H has given me 60, still low in terms of chemo, but not the 30 I thought.  I came away, no seeing if I was ok or any reaction, but then what reaction will I have to a pill that needs to get into the body first before doing anything.
I must admit I was a little tired by the time we arrived home, maybe all that walking in the hospital.  An old classmate got in touch a couple of years ago, he lives out in Germany and is home visiting his mam, the phone rang, Can I call for a coffee.  I gave him directions, its been 37 years since I saw him in our tutor group.  It was great, we chatted for a good 2 hours before he finally left.  His mam, bless, has just been diagnosed with BC and undergone surgery.  It will be hard for him travelling back and forth but no doubt he is committed to his mam's well being.  I wish her the best of luck because fighting cancer is not an easy thing.
Speaking of mam's, I spoke to my MIL yesterday to see how she was, to me she sounded quite upset and didn't want to talk.  Gary's sister and Dad had just left after visiting so I thought it would be a good time to ring.  She really didn't say anything so I left her be.  Its hard because I don't want Gary in an awkward position but he's being at the other side of someone being in hospital and said there is nothing worse than coming home from hospital and the phone going all night asking how you were.  'I was trying to get my head around the situation and the phone never stopped', he said  So he isn't one to keep ringing up and seeing how things are.  I guess I can understand, but still not everyone see's things the same as he does. Yesterday, in the chemo ward, he didn't speak, he has a hatred of hospitals now that is embedded inside.  I said I don't like watching the infusions but its part of life, he said all he could see was me having that reaction last time and wondering whether the chemo was going to kill me before the cancer had a chance.  I guess as a patient we don't see what we look like do we.  Maybe we are grey and our faces distorted with pain, who knows, but he can't handle this much more.  I said I will ask Chris or Lorraine to bring me, but he said he wouldn't trust anyone else driving me and I was too important to him.  But if this is going to rock him emotionally every visit that isn't good either.
The other bad news is that I have to return day 8, no bringing my tablet home with me.  So my new routine will need to change again, my District Nurse appointments may need to be altered unless I can get afternoon appointments.  One thing I can do to hasten the procedure is organise my bloods at the doctors.  Thankfully that will save 2 hours waiting time at hospital next week.
So I am waiting patiently in the hope the chemo gets in, doesn't do me anything awful but kills my friend Meso with a killer kick. 
My bloods have started well so far
Hb   16.8    Wbc 17.05   Plts 244   Neuts 15.67
Really pleased with those, I quite like that you get this booklet with the info in, just hope they keep it updated, they didn't the last time at BA.  Nice to know my kidney function was normal too, that is so important on chemotherapy.  I still remember when the first two cycles of alimta and carbo  in 04 and 07,  I had to go and have the full day kidney function test.  One up at Newcastle, the other at Darlington.  I did a lot of Christmas shopping when it was at Darlington when we had the time between tests. 
Now I managed a good walk yesterday I am hoping that Gary will take me shopping one day, maybe we can borrow a wheelchair just in case I can't cope with all the walking, although I would rather not be pushed around.  I said we could just park at one place in town and I walk just through a couple of shops.  Keep your fingers crossed that the chemo doesn't knock me and that he lets me do this.  I really like looking at shops for Christmas, on line is good when you have ideas.
That's me for today, I know the community is lifting, some good results have been announced with Stable for a few fighters.  Let this continue and those champagne corks start popping frequently.

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