Chemo cycle 1

Monday 30 April 2018
Appointment: 10 am
Guy's Cancer Centre

I woke on Monday morning barely able to move.  My back had seized up making it near on impossible to get out of bed.  Finally out of bed, I crawled down the hall as I struggled to stand.  Rachel and I were staying at a friend's flat just around the corner from Guy's Cancer Centre, however with my back in the state it was, there was no way I could walk and we had to get a taxi.

On arrival I was told off for not calling the acute oncology emergency number, despite not having had any chemo yet.  There was concern over my back and so before any chemo could be administered, I had to wait and be seen by a senior nurse.  Thankfully I was waiting whilst ensconced in a heated purple lazy boy, being brought cups of coffee and flicking through magazines.  By noon everyone agreed it was ok for me to receive the treatment and so drug one was administered.  With the heat seeping through from the chair and the codeine taking effect, by 1500, when the treatment finished, I was able to walk, albeit slowly, back home.

I was expecting to feel exhausted, nauseous, knocked sideways but, much to my relief, I felt ok.  I was even able to go out for dinner that evening.  On Tuesday morning, rather than crawling down the hall, I was able to hobble and made it back to Guy's Cancer Centre on my very own two legs!

Day two of treatment, with three drugs to be administered.  Trastuzumab first so they could monitor me for 6 hours to make sure I didn't have any reactions, then Zoledronic Acid, then Docetaxel.  Trastuzumab took 90 mins to drip through and then a couple of colleagues from Guy's popped in a brightened up my lunch hour.  Time passes relatively quickly sat in your heated purple seat, dozing, eating, drinking and people watching.  It's a strange little bubble on the chemo ward - those sat in the purple seats have a kind of solidarity - you feel a bond despite not knowing anyone's name.

Pleasantly unexpectedly, again I felt ok that evening.  I walked back to the flat, ate my dinner and went to bed.  If this was all chemo was going to be, this was going to be a walk in the park...

Thursday 3 May
Temperature 38.3
If you're going to get a temperature or have a reaction to chemo, make sure it's during the day so you can go to the acute oncology ward and not A&E.  With my temperature at 38.3 we waited 30 mins and took it again.  Still over 38.  Not wanting to be told off again, we called the acute oncology number.  A very calm consultant advised me to pack a bag and get myself to A&E.  Thank god for Uber!  We arrived at St Mary's Hospital, register and then wait to be called to triage.  Apparently my temperature's normal.  Wait, no, different thermometer and it's high again.  I'm taken through and by chance put in a wee room with the radiator on full blast.  Someone comes in and takes bloods and then we're left.  We watch some Netflix.  Dr Luke comes in and says he needs to take more bloods, yet another needle.  We're left again, more Netflix.  Finally around 1 am they decide to give me some Amikacin to stop whatever infection it is and bring my temperature back down.  A room is needed, can we go to the corridor, oh no, I'm plugged in to the machine, I get to keep the room.  2 am, blood results have come back, I'm not neutropenic so I don't need antibiotics.  No idea why my temperature was high, but I'm discharged and can go home to bed!


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