As I passed the mid-way point of the chemotherapy regime, we waved goodbye to FEC and hello to Docetaxel. People who work in oncology are rather reluctant to advise you on how specific chemotherapy drugs are going to make you feel, I have been told more times that I can count that everyone reacts differently to the drugs and the listed side effects are a "catch-all" so not to worry about having them all but when my chemotherapy nurse turned up to the session with a large oxygen canister I sensed that we were in for fun and games! She advised that I spend the session with my hands and feet in bags of frozen peas in order to minimise the ability for the drugs to reach my cuticles, apparently when that happens your nails start to fall off.......lovely!
Thankfully session 4 passed without incident, as did the next couple of days but as the 72 hour mark drew closer I started to understand what was different about these drugs. For some reason, docetaxel makes every inch of your body ache in random bursts, it was at this point that Mum drew on her nursing insight and instructed me to obtain the best codeine prescription I could get my hands on, thankfully my Doctor obliged and I managed to medicate myself through most of the toughest days. Luckily enough, the nausea and sickness didn't seem to play a part and that allowed me to sleep in-between visits from Erica through most of the weekend.
Although we were grateful that the "dark days" that plagued round 3 had not made much of a return, my Oncologist did warn that the cumulative effects of docetaxel are likely to be more severe followed by a confirmation that the hot flashes I've been experiencing are, in fact, the onset of menopause and that "I just need to find a way to deal with it"........ you can image the response that I bravely resisted throwing back at him!
With that in mind, we've decided that it would make more sense if I did rounds 5 and 6 in Devon where I can allow Mum to take full control of my recovery and every other responsibility she has taken on in each round previous, I can't put into words how lucky I am to have her to care for Erica and nurse me through this without a mention of how it must be affecting her, I have no idea how I am going to repay her and Nathan for everything that they have done other than putting up the fight of my life!
I promise not to leave it so long before the next update and will be sure to put some thought into my "final chemo session" submission, there is a light at the end of the tunnel...!