Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s Off To Chemo We Go

I finally reached a decision, considerably harder than I imagined it could be. Have I made the right choice? What if this combination doesn’t work? What if I do suffer badly with side effects? Would the other one have been a better option? It was all explained to me of course, all questions I had were thoroughly answered. The standard treatment was pretty straight forward. Dr S recommended the combination of 5FU and  Oxaliplatin, first line treatment for advanced bowel cancer, after surgery. I didn’t really have to make any decision on that other than to agree to it or not. I’m not going to turn down the opportunity now. I‘ve come this far and didn‘t undergo the pain and trauma of major surgery to pull out now.  The decision I had to make was what, if anything should be added to standard chemotherapy. The choice was Cetuximab or Avastin. Both approved cancer drugs, but not with this line of treatment. Both are monoclonal antibodies designed to change the DNA that allows the cancer cells to multiply, and stop the supply of blood that all cancers need to survive. Neither is a cure, but is aimed at stopping the spread of the cancer and hopefully prolonging life. No matter how hard I pushed Dr S to recommend one or other, he wouldn’t, he couldn’t. Clinically there was little to choose between the two, both are proven to be effective. It was down to me to decide between side effects, none of which were certain, but there were no exemptions from any of them any of them either, nor the degree that they will affect you. “If one combination doesn’t work, we can try the other” said Dr S. Mmmm, so I could be sick for three months only to find there was no benefit ! This isn’t getting any easier.

I had to make a decision by Monday, so in the end I bit the bullet, Avastin it was. It’s still all if’s and but’s, but if the if’s don’t happen and the but’s aren’t there, it will suit me better for the summer – hopefully, with luck, fingers crossed, god willing, insha’Alla. You can see I’m clutching at straws here. The odds are stacking up against me, and decisions that seem like a no brainer in the beginning all of a sudden start to appear in a different guise. There seems to be a different vocabulary now, contain, slow down, hold back.

Today I was back  at The Christie for half eight to have my hickman line fitted. What an experience that was, it was pretty uncomfortable but is hurting like hell now. I guess that’s because it’s just been done, I hope the pain will die down. I can see me being awoken a few times during th enight as I turn over or catch the tube hanging out of my chest. The procedure took about 45 minutes, incision in neck, tube threaded into jugular vein into heart and then back out of an incision in my chest.  I’ve had my last bath for a few months, shower only from now on, and will have to wash in a clinical body wash, the pink hand wash you see by sinks in hospital wards. That, plus a cream up my nostrils to kill off any MRSA  and I should stay germ free for the duration of treatment. Just in case, I have to check my temperature every day, and if anyone planning to come and see me in the near future has any hint of a cold, or god forbid worse, then don’t – please stay away. I hope to remain an infection free zone, particularly as my immune system is about to be zapped to hell with chemo.

A quick x-ray to check that the central line is in the right place and that was me ready for chemo. Bloods all checked, major organs working, one final discussion to go over the finer details, and once again the side effects, emphasis on the ’could be fatal’ clause  and I signed the consent forms and will begin chemotherapy tomorrow, Friday morning. Who knows what the position will be on completion in 12 weeks time, or what will happen in the intervening period.

I’ve been cooking the last few days. I’ve been throwing things in the oven for a while, but I mean proper cooking, standing in the kitchen and preparing things, that type of cooking. The freezer is full of Bolognese. I make the best Bolognese ever, anywhere. Best made in the slow cooker, over a long long time, with the benefit of fresh herbs from my garden. The minted lamb chop I thought I got out the freezer for dinner tonight transformed into a piece of fillet beef once defrosted. So the new potatoes have gone away, fried rice, noodles and stir fry beef in a garlic and ginger sauce it is then. That’ll do nicely. It’s the first time I’ve felt like cooking, whether that’s just to take my mind off  Friday I don’t know. I certainly feel agitated, unless I’ve got something to distract me it’s all that’s on my mind. But cooking is good, and it’s a chance to fill the freezer again now that all the soup has gone., although I’ve still got about a dozen tins of soup in the cupboard. Well I think they are in the cupboard but who knows what Mrs C has re-arranged this week. I’ve asked her to give the bedroom a good tidy and clean tomorrow while I‘m out, so I had better get in there quick to clear some room in the wardrobe and put some things away before she finds a place somewhere else for them.  I’ve bought two more jackets in the last week, I  think jackets are the new boots!  Crikey, just counted up, I’ve got 13 Jackets !

Lousie the physio called yesterday, and for the first time we got down to a bit of bedroom action. A bit of manipulation and exercises. It’s good that she’s got me doing exercises, but it made me realise just how restricted I have become since undergoing surgery. I was barely reaching the minimum movement before groaning in pain. Clearly a lot of work to do. As with all physio’s, Louise left me feeling very tight and before long in pain. The only thing I can turn to now is Oxynorm, which I’m reluctant to take daytime as I’d be asleep within 15 minutes. I can’t even take any additional painkillers on top of what I’m on now. It’s a case of grimace and bear it.

And so, it’s off to chemo I go. Friday morning 08.30am, and told to expect to be there all day. I don’t mind admitting, I’m quite anxious about this. I know it’s not going to be pleasant, but it’s the degree of unpleasantness I’m wary of.  If there’s anyone up there, please look after me J

This entry was posted in 5-FU, Avastin, Be Clear On Cancer, Beating Bowel Cancer, Bowel Cancer, Bowel Cancer UK, Cancer, Cancer Research UK, chemotherapy, Health, Hickman line, Liver, Manchester, Manchester Blog Awards, Metastatic Bowel Cancer, oxaliplatin, Picc Line, Saddleworth, Springhead, Targinact, The Christie, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s Off To Chemo We Go

  1. Jan says:

    I can understand your anxiety as I’ve been there and it wasn’t as bad as I feared. I had my surgery in Oct 2010 and started my first round of chemo (Oxaliplatin and Capecitabine) in Jan 2011. Like you I was concerned about sickness but I had anti-nausea pills for the first couple of days after treatment and it wasn’t a problem at all. My oncologist monitored side effects careful and adjusted my dose so don’t suffer in silence. I didn’t have Avastin until the second lot of chemo (Irinotecan, 5FU + Avastin) and now I’m just on a maintenance dose of Avastin. Most people don’t experience side effects with Avastin and I certainly don’t. I’ll be thinking of you tomorrow and wishing you well. Take care of yourself and don’t fight the fatigue if it hits you 😉

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