I hope you’re all settling into autumn nicely?
I’m keeping going here. Nothing much has changed apart from my treatment – again.
The bastard cancer was quite happy with the pump and the little bottle of constant chemotherapy I was using before. It didn’t bother the cancer what so ever. In fact it was cohabitating with it nicely as if they were flat mates.
Then my port decided to sink into my chest. This was a huge issue as my chemotherapy needed to be connected to the port so it could travel into my bloodstream.
Once upon a time I had a very lean and thin collarbone and upper chest area. You could see the shape of my port under my skin from across a room. It looked like a large coin with a thin tube coming out of it.
But lately it was like a small landmine soaking slowly into a marsh. The lymphedema was creating this soggy and squishy surroundings that were slowly swallowing the port. Not only was it uncomfortable to have a small disk burrowing it’s way into my body but it made it impossible for the nurses to access it.
Instead of it being an easier option to rooting for a vein in my arm, it became a horrible fight each week.
Poor Vincy, one of my long-term oncology nurses who has cared for me for years and years, was praying that she’d be able to access the port the night before I went in! To know that one of my carers was on her knees the night before I presented at the hospital upset me so much. This poor lady has enough to think about without having me and my dodgy port added to her list.
For my part, it meant two or sometimes three attempts to jab a very long and wide needle into my doughy and aching chest in the hope of hitting the right spot. Seeing as the pump needed to be there 24/7 my skin and the surrounding area wasn’t getting so much as a five minute break either.
So two decisions were taken. Firstly the port had to come out and a new one needed to go in on the other side of my chest.
Secondly, the treatment needed to be changed - again.
As I was growing and expanding each week, literally like Agustus Gloop from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – except I wasn’t getting to drink a chocolate river - the tumours weren’t shrinking either. To add insult to injury the large one on the side of my neck turned into a nasty affair. The skin has broken and in turn it has become infected. It’s utterly gross and apart from bleeding, which it likes to do, it also sends out little bit of slime type stuff. It’s itchy and gooey and has nothing what so ever to offer humanity. My apologies, it’s probably too much information, but I’m telling you in case you too have a vile creature and think you’re alone in your grossness. We can be yuck buddies, which sounds like something rude, but in this case it’s not!
So, two weeks ago, when the port finally sank to a new depth and defied even Vincy’s prayers St David made a decision. I was to go back on cisplatin (this is the nasty creature who jumped into my ears and killed the tiny hairs, leaving me in need of hearing aids on both ears.)
The bottle and bag were binned and I had a cannula put into my hand and off I went on the next round of chemotherapy. Just like that. Round one was administered before I could even blink.
My veins weren’t going to stand up to much for any length of time so I needed a new port sooner rather than later on the left side of my chest. The left side isn’t riddled with lymphedema so it’s a lot thinner and it’s much easier to work with.
Whipping one port out and shoving another one in, isn’t quite as simple as it might sound. So I asked to be sedated. I’ve experienced an insertion before and once was enough, thank you very much.
I went in early on the morning of the ports. I was delighted with the thought of going for a lovely sleep and waking up with a brand new, easy to access port.
But it’s me we’re talking about here. So nothing went to plan. Much as they tried, the theatre team couldn’t get me to sleep. So I was wide awake during the procedure. Not even remotely drowsy but alert enough to have been able to write if they’d given me my laptop. Sticking with reality here, I know it wasn’t exactly a lung and heart transplant, but it was pretty unpleasant and I felt every dig, shove, pull and tuck. God I’d forgotten how nasty local anaesthetic can be too. Stingy as a bucket of nettles mixed with a swarm of wasps…
Hubby collected me at lunch time – I had to stay there for a while because I’d had sedation. Even though I was awake, had been awake and remained awake, I was officially and on paper - sedated. I know I have to follow the rules and otherwise it mightn’t be safe. I’m just a cranky cow and I always want to run home as quickly as possible.
The next couple of days weren’t my favourite of all time, but they weren’t too bad either. My poor body tried to grasp what was happening with new chemotherapy being pumped in along with a bit of chopping and changing.
I couldn’t remember the pattern of cisplatin from the last time. Usually I know what way my body plans on reacting but I’d forgotten so I lay low and waited. Nothing too dreadful happened and I’m headed for my third bag tomorrow.
Last week, just to keep me on my toes, something else happened. Tom the cat was in terrible state, yowling in the garden as Herbie barked and cried, as if to show me where to find him.
His back leg was in a very odd position and I feared the worst. I thought he’d either had a stroke or he’d been hit by a car. With no blood and no marks on him, I assumed he was on the way out. I rushed him to Pete the vet in Bray. A short while later, Pete the Vet was able to confirm that he’d torn his cruciate ligament in his knee. It’s rare in cats but he could get another vet to do the job. The following Tuesday, Andrew operated on Tom and now he’s to be kept in for six weeks. Six weeks! How on earth can we do that?
Needless to say, he’s been making previously unheard of noises while flinging himself at windows and doors in an attempt to escape. Don’t tell Pete the Vet or Andrew, but we’ve been letting him out into the garden for supervised wee sessions.
He’s improving every day and he’s extremely happy to snuggle on beds most of the time. He’s an old man now and he looks very odd. Where he was shaved for his surgery makes it look as if someone stole his furry trousers. I hope he’ll continue to make positive progress. I'm not posting a photo of him without his trousers, he didn't want that. I have to preserve his dignity. Poor Tom, we’ll fight on together, puss.
I am so much better than I was. I am beginning to shrink thank God. I can feel my old self coming to the fore once more.
Things are good today. That’s all I can tell you. I was able to go out with my mum for a couple of hours this morning. I haven’t done that for weeks. I’m wrecked now and I’ve had to have a sleep, but it was nice to get out. Wow, my life is so rock ‘n’ roll right?
I’m writing away, picking away at it each and every day. But my levels of concentration are extremely limited. In fact, limited is the word I would use to describe my life right now.
But what can I do? I’ve no choice but to go with what’s been thrown at me. I need to embrace the good days and deal with the not so good ones.
I’m beyond bored with being sick by now. I hope the good days will start to out weigh the bad days soon.
Halloween is around the corner followed closely by Christmas! Yes, I’m using the C word! Bring it on!
Enjoy the leaves falling and the cosy evenings beside the fire. I’m loving the new winter clothing and I can’t wait to go shopping.
I’m still managing to do a little bit on line – the day I can’t shop at all is the day I know there’s something really, really wrong!
The updated version of my book is also out if you'd like a laugh. Most people who read it, especially fellow cancer vixens tell me that there are parts that they relate to so well. So if you'd like to read a story that shines with hope (*spoiler alert* but there's a happy ending!) maybe you'll pick up a copy.
One day at a time my friends.
I hope life is good for you, take good care!
Love and light