Sunday, 18 March 2012

Contemplating Chemo

New to this? Check out the First Post

Well tomorrow I start 6 weeks of radiotherapy. Also for good measure - they are throwing in two cycles of chemotherapy too. Free of charge! They say it will increase the effectiveness of the radiotherapy.

As I said last time, I am really pleased that they have decided to only radiate the right side of my neck - and leave the back of my throat and left side alone. This bodes well for recovering taste after all this is over.

So I am not too worried about the radiotherapy right now. Apparently the first two weeks are a doddle - so I'll worry about that later.

The biggie - in my mind- is the first cycle of chemotherapy, which also starts tomorrow.
So the plan is to pop into radiotherapy department at 9am - get my 10 minutes under the sunlamp - then sprint upstairs into the chemo suite to have that administered. That is going to take up the rest of the day!

They are going to give me Cisplatin, which has been around since the 19th Century and used to be called Peyrone's chloride. It is a platinum (ooh - heavy metal!) and works (here comes the science bit!) by forming a platinum complex inside of a cell which binds to DNA and cross-links DNA. When DNA is cross-linked in this way it causes cell death!! Death to the cancer cells!

I think I prefer the analogy I saw somewhere on the web, maybe a cancer forum or something, where someone described it as "Domestos for the bloodstream." It kills all known germs :-)

Sadly it also kills off some good cells too - especially ones that reproduce quickly and frequently - like in the mouth and throat and hair. It doesn't cause too much hair loss really - just a bit of thinning. It kills off red and white blood cells too - but gradually over the next two weeks, In fact by week two I'll have very little immunity left so will have to stay in and avoid visitors and all their infections! But then the following week they start to recover and by the time I have my next cycle they are pretty much back to normal. Ready to be killed off again :-)

The most immediate side-effect (and one that I've been worrying about slightly) is the nausea and vomiting. They are going to give me anti-sickness medication from the off - and give me some to take home as it can last up to a week. Also the District Nurse will be on call so that if they don't work she has an injection that will! It seems they think of everything.

I love the NHS!

So I have some magazines, books, the iPad (thanks dad!!) some letters to write, and some extra-strong  mints (to settle the stomach),  all packed up ready for when I sit in my recliner all day and receive my life-saving drugs.

In other news - the PEG is okay so far. I am pretty good at flushing even though it is a very weird sensation. I have to admit that Nathan did the cleaning yesterday - and don't tell her but he was much more gentle than the District Nurse!

We got the samples to the lab on Saturday and it turns out the hatch they tell you to put them in is actually staffed so I KNOW that someone took them into the lab for processing. So, we should be good for All Systems Go tomorrow morning. I am looking forward to starting it - as I can see an end in sight.

Nathan is going to print me out a chart so I can cross each session off with a THICK BLACK LINE ;-)

No comments:

Post a Comment