Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Tuesday - Part Two

New Cancer Centre
New to this? Check out the First Post

We arrived back at the hospital just after two - but there was an even bigger queue for the Oncology car park, so we parked a little further away. It was a pretty mild day and it was nice to get some fresh air and have a bit of a walk.

This time we went upstairs to where Ward 202 is located. On the stairs on the way up there were some great local paintings - a little like Lowry's but with pot banks. They were huge and colourful.

There was a central waiting room upstairs with a reception desk. They seemed confused when I said I had an appointment - so I had to produce my letter to prove it! It turns out that they had made an appointment for me on Friday but then couldn't get hold of me. We checked phone numbers and they were correct so I'm not sure what happened. Anyway, Wendy my special nurse was there and sorted it out.

We were called in to see Dr Gahir, who shook our hands and asked me how I was. She thought I looked well! She said she'd discussed my case with another colleague and they had decided that they had to make sure this cancer is gone. So they are going to give me chemotherapy alongside the radiotherapy. It will help the radiotherapy to work better. It seems that you only get once chance to have radiotherapy so they have to make sure that they cover everything. This is why they are going to do it on both sides on my neck in quite a big area. This means that it will definitely make my throat too sore for swallowing - so they are going to arrange for me to have the tube into my stomach.

The chemo will be given in two doses. One on my first day of radiotherapy and the next halfway through. So on 19th March I will go downstairs for my radiotherapy, then will come upstairs to the Chemotherapy Suite to spend the rest of the day in a chair with a drip. It takes most of the day because they have to spend the first and last two hours putting fluids through you. One to prepare you for the drugs and the last to flush you out after the drugs have gone in.

She said it will make me sick, but they'll give me some anti-sickness medicine. It may make my hair thinner but it won't all fall out. I have to be very careful not to get any kind of infection during this time, as it could be dangerous as chemo destroys white blood cells and other good stuff along with the evil cancer cells. So, they will issue me with a thermometer and I will have to take my temperature every day. If it is ever raised, indicating an infection, I will have to go into hospital.

I signed the consent form and they said I could now have the Understanding Chemotherapy handbook for my collection. :-)

Before I left I solved the mystery of  Dr Gahir.

 I have seen Dr Gahir the lady doctor, whereas Nigel - who commented on my blog and told me his story - saw Dr Gahir who he insisted is a man! I asked her and she said that there ARE two of them, both have the same initial too D - and he is her husband :-) She said she worked there for six months before he did - but since he arrived there has been a lot of confusion. On his first day all her clinic appointments disappeared from her computer.

She gave me two forms, one for a blood test that I need to get done at the Pathology Lab just before I start the therapies and another for me to collect a recepticle from the lab so that I can collect my urine for 24 hours. This is because chemo can damage the kidneys so they have to check out how healthy they are before you start. So I need to take this back into the lab (suitable filled) on the day I get my bloods done.

Also I have to go back on Saturday, for a pre-assessment, at 12.30.

Also before all this kicks off I have to get my "peg" put in. This is the feeding tube. When we got out of the doctor's office I asked Wendy what this entailed. I had just presumed that they'd just poke a hole in from the outside.


What it involves is going into hospital for an overnight stay, they get you to swallow a tube with a camera on the end, once you've managed that, they sedate you so that they can get it into position. Then they make an incision and feed it out from within. This is then taped to your stomach so that no-one can see it. They then keep an eye on you overnight to make sure it "settles down". That doesn't sound too pleasant.

After that I will see a Nutritionist every week so that she can decide whether I am managing to eat enough to maintain my weight. If not then I have to pour stuff down the tube. Not sure what kind of stuff - I guess they'll tell me when the time comes!

So I came out in a bit of a daze with a huge list of appointments and forms for all these various things. It will take me a while to get my head around all this. We did have a laugh when we got to the path lab and collected the receptacle - it was just a plastic carton with a screw top lid, the kind you get white spirit in from B&Q. They suggested that I buy a funnel.  I'm going to have to get a bigger mug for my tea if they want it filling to the top. :-)

It's going to be an interesting few weeks....


  1. Hi Bunnery, Glad you solved the Gahir mystery Ha ha. I asked my missus beforehand and she said "No theres only one" she obviously knows nowt! It sounds like you're going to have a more intensive radiotherapy course than I had. I know you're taking this in your stride and being very positive about it, but the effects of radio last a lot longer than the chemo. I'm sorry to hear you're going to have the radio on both sides. You'll think for a week or so "nothing is happening, is it switched on?", because you'll feel no effects for approx 2 week. Just a slight tingle and a little bit of pink showing, but I was shocked towards the end of the 3rd week how red and sore my skin started to get. I had my treatment over 4 weeks and glad that the 6 weeks quoted was reduced. You asked about taste bud recovery in your previous reply to me! I haven't done too bad to be fair and I finished mine on the 3rd of Feb, but sweet taste is very slow to recover and it upsets the whole balance of just about everything you eat. Prepare yourself okay! Google "Will my taste buds recover after radiotherapy?" You'll get quite a few results of various forums and this will give you some idea. The mask feeling nice was the best thing, but once its hard and set, its damned uncomfortable. Sorry if I've been the bearer of negative news, but its not going to be nice mate.

  2. P.s Don't buy another parking permit, you'll be wasting your time and money. We parked over on the Lymedale walk car park straight over the road. There is a warning to say "This car park is for the use of walkers and visitors etc etc" Ignore it and if you're challenged say we're going for a walk after. We haven't seen anybody checking the cars anyway.

    1. Thanks for the parking tip - that's a great idea! I know this isn't going to be a picnic - but hopefully I'll just about hang on to my sense of humour!

  3. You are so cheerful and optimistic that I can quite see why you have so many friends and well-wishers. It's a full time job, having something wrong with you, but your positive attitude must make the time go more easily. Be strong.

    1. Thanks for your nice comments Gervan. I will try to stay strong. I think just writing this blog helps to get everything into perspective. I am lucky to have so much support :-)