Thursday, 26 February 2015

The one where chemo didn't exactly go to plan....

All I can say is that I genuinely hope that the next 5 rounds of chemo aren't like this! All started well, my chemo nurse arrived at the house on Tuesday morning and hooked me up to the scalp cooling machine, it was a pretty unpleasant experience as it got down to temperature (as you can probably see by my face!) and then the cocktail began. I managed to go through most of the session working away on my emails and donning the requisite "cancer fighter" tank top which was kindly sent over by Nathan's fellow University of Western Ontario rowers.

Chemo makes you pretty cold and the ice-cap doesn't really help matters, I ended the session wearing a fleece, thermal socks, a hot water bottle and a blanket - you're not seeing that photo as it is ridiculous!

3 hours later, the nurse removed the cap and the ice (yes ice!) from my hair, explained the follow-up drugs and left. Unfortunately, within the hour I was doubled over with vomiting and other unmentionables. The initial plan was to take me to A&E but thankfully Woodlands Hospital were able to free me up a room and by luck my favourite Oncology nurse was on duty that night. She nursed me through the next 12 hours with a level of kindness and compassion I never thought possible. By the following evening, the Oncologist had managed to formulate the most effective cocktail to help me to stop chucking everything up and after a second sleepless night thanks to the steroids I was promptly sent home the following morning. 

I must admit, there were low points during that first night when I thought to myself "I really don't know how I'm going to get through 6 rounds of this" but as my amazing friend Jules reminded me - "If it's making you this sick, just think what it's doing to those bastard cancer cells!"

On a far more positive note, earlier in the week we visited my surgeon for the results of the axillary node clearance, as you may remember, the first clearance found that 3 out of 4 nodes were cancerous so the results of this clearance were crucial - he removed 21 nodes and only 2 were affected! Hurray! Unfortunately this has taken us marginally over the magic number of 4 nodes for staging purposes but for the first time he has been confident enough to talk about my cancer being curable.

We're hoping that the next round will be accompanied by the correct antiemetic mix and I will be sure to keep you posted on how the next couple of weeks pan-out. Collecting a giggling and very excitable Erica up from nursery today and spending an awesome weekend celebrating the wedding of our gorgeous friends Vicky and Jason made me realise exactly what it is I'm fighting for.