Day Three Sitrep (Situation Report)
Apologies but I think Sitreps are going to be quite dry posts, especially as I'm now off alcohol! When I reread this in years to come, it’s useful to have a blow by blow account.
I’ve now had two consecutive days of chemotherapy at the Macmillan Centre near London’s Warren Street. It’s part of UCLH and is a centre of excellence for many forms of cancer. There’s a wide open space with comfortable chairs that gives it the feel of a modern hotel foyer in the Bauhaus style. Nothing says caring support like raw concrete. My chair yesterday was what I now call cancer pink, aka fuschia, suggesting the fushia’s bright, if not orange!
It all went well apart from a tricky moment as me and another middle aged man crossed paths going in and out of the disabled loo, both with drip stands in tow. Picture two cars towing caravans manoeuvring in a motorway service station car park. He called his drip stand Hat Stand, which is good, but not as good as mine which was called Beef .... take a moment ...... 'cause it's dripping! .... breath.
As a quick follow up to my last post, Red Rowan asked me: ".... I do need to ask about the orange bucket though - please elaborate further in your next blog ;-)"
You wish is my command and thanks for your kind words and to everyone who's taken the trouble to wish me well, it's much appreciated :)
This is going to sound bizarre but a week ago I dreamt of an orange bucket then happened to go to B&Q the next day for something else and saw they sold them! The universe had spoken and charged me £1.
Further analysis: I feel I've an association with throwing up and carrots so it doesn't take much to make the link! No Jungian Dream Analysis needed on that one!
FYI: In Jungian Dream Analysis what we suppress in our conscious life looms large in our dreamlife. So if I suppress nausea in my waking life it’s bound to come up in my dreams (yes the word play is intended)
Back to the Sitrep:
Apart from very mild nausea this morning and a few aches in my hip and ear the night before, I’m pleased to say I’ve experienced zero side effects from my chemo.
It’s early days but it supports the idea that I’ll experience no, or less side effects, from the future five rounds. Next month I’ll have the immunotherapy as well, so any side effects can be placed at its feet!
I view this as a series of hurdles to get over:
Would I have an immediate reaction to the Bendustimene? No!
Would I experience nausea or other side effects in the hours afterward when there’s the maximum amount of chemo in my system? So far so good, in fact I’ve slept very well and eaten as normal i.e. unhealthily. Recently I’ve had night sweats in my head but they’ve gone. I’ve also experienced cramps in my legs at night and they’ve been absent as well. Conclusion, the benefits of not having the usual amount of red wine outweighs the side effects of chemo! This is based on absolutely no science whatsoever, so feel free to share on facebook! (too dark?)
The next few hurdles are going to be tough: Can I cope with the expected tiredness aka Cancer Fatigue. Part of the effect of this chemo is that my red cell count drops. It’s already well below normal as they’re being crowded out by ten times the normal maximum levels of white cells. You might think that would make me super immune, but their a bit manky so they also crowd out the functional ones. This lack of red cells means I have less oxygen carrying capacity, hence the tiredness.
BTW it’s wrong to call it tiredness, it’s fatigue. The difference is that with tiredness you can take a nap and no longer feel tired. With fatigue you wake up after the nap feeling just as tired.
Towards the end of this week my white cell count should have fallen through the floor and I’ll have very low immunity. This means I’m now effectively in lockdown again! I’ll pretty much recover by the end of the 28 day cycle so I’ll be able to run a Salsa Rapido course or Thames Salsa Cruise (bring a group). Then it’s time to start the cycle again for month two.
What’s important is that none of the side effects are a certainty. Today’s nausea might just be a result of the baggett, baked camembert and padron peppers we had last night. Don’t blame me, blame the French!
There are a wide range of chemotherapy drugs out there so never fall into the trap of comparing chemo to chemo. Even if the drugs are exactly the same, each individual reaction will be subtly different.