Up at 0500, wide awake so no point staying in bed.
As usual, Cecil was working away within a few minutes of me getting up.
A bit of running around to be done today.
First stop was the private hospital where I had my operation. My consultant had arranged for me to pick up a prescription for some stronger painkillers. He has given me cocodomol. These are good painkillers but can make you constipated if taken long term. The pharmacist explained that if required, I could take these with the ibuprofen I’ve been taking. The nurse at the hospital also explained that the best way to avoid constipation is to drink plenty of water as the tablets draw the water from your system that then bungs you up.
My intention is to only take these when the pain is too much on the other tablets I’m taking.
Next stop is to collect stoma supplies from the local NHS hospital stoma team that will be looking after me. The stoma nurse that came to see me at home said she’d leave the ‘pack’ at reception. When I arrived the receptionist said that there was no package left for me. I hope this isn’t a fools errand!
The receptionist called the stoma nurse, luckily she was in her office and told the receptionist where the package was. As it turned out, it was right behind her! (Cue, pantomime calls of “it’s behind you!”)
Home for lunch then off to see the chemo nurse for my chemo pre assessment.
This was a blood test so that they can check that I’m well enough to take the chemo tablets and it gives them a base line of my blood ‘numbers’. Once I start the treatment I will have a blood test every Friday so that they can check that I’m tolerating the treatment well.
There was also quite a big questionnaire to go through which included a set of questions about how I feel that they will also complete every Friday to see if anything has changed.
This will help them see if I’m getting any of the expected side effects. I won’t list them all but very common ones are a sore mouth, tiredness, dry hands and soles of the feet and diarrhoea (Cecil is going to love that). You also have to be aware of infection so have to keep a close eye out if you feel unwell as this could be a sign of an infection starting.
One of the things the chemo does is to lower your immune system and make you susceptible to infection. During the chemo I’m told that I need to avoid crowds and anyone that is unwell.
So, I need to ask anyone that is likely to come into contact with me for the next 9/10 weeks to tell me if you or your children/partner have a cold or are feeling unwell.
I really need you to support me on this as it’s very likely that I’m going to feel rough whilst having the chemo and I really don’t want to pick up an infection as well!
The rule will be, if you are unwell stay away!!!! Sorry, but I cannot and will not take the risk on this.
Quite a few other measures that I have to take for Paula’s safety include changing the bed sheets twice a week (as the skin that I shed will have chemo on it!) and not allowing her to touch the tablets. In fact, I’m told that I shouldn’t touch the tablets either. I’m to press them out of the pack into an egg cup and then straight into my mouth. Dangerous stuff this chemo malarkey!!
It is, after all, designed to kill cells within the body so it ain’t nice stuff.
The other side effects were also discussed but these (I hope) are less likely so I won’t list them unless they effect me.
The nurse confirmed that my treatment will start not next week but the week after so day one of treatment will be Monday 3rd October.
This gives me a whole week to think about it, I’d much rather get on with it but they have to take their time to get everything ready.
So, this (I’m calling it phase 2) is the next step in my recovery and the one that I’m least looking forward to. It’s the not knowing that I don’t like. I do like to be in control and I’m very much not in control of this phase. Let’s hope my body will tolerate the treatment with little fuss. The nurse said that some people sail through the treatment with little or no problems.
If ever I need you to not let me down, body, the next few weeks is it!
To all of my support network I’ll leave you with this thought, as, I may need you:
“Don’t walk in front of me, as I may not follow.
Don’t walk behind me, as I may not lead.
Walk beside me and be my friend.”