Tuesday, 2 August 2011

The Chemo Lounge: Round 4 of 4

I struggled to fall asleep last night. And then, when I awoke at 5.30am to take my meds (steroid tablets) I couldn't get back to sleep. I put it down to being just plain excited about my last chemo. As it turned out, my chemo buddies who had also taken their meds, had difficulty sleeping. The restless night is actually a result of the pre-chemo medication. Anyway, it sounds far better to say that I was excited. I do have to say that I felt like a child who was going to Dreamworld, or something. I was so excited. Have I already said that? When I rolled over in bed, trying to fall asleep, I was smiling. Truly.

Today, I carpooled with my breast cancer buddy. We shared our ups and downs of chemo; we didn't dare mention the word, "cannula".

It seems that my cannula will only ever go in on the third go. So, in a way, I was prepared for it to take that many tries. Although, I did wish that I would get it on the first. Yesterday, I had noticed that some of my veins had darkened in colour. This, the nurses told me, is a result of the toxic drugs that I have allowed to be fed through my veins. The damage meant that only certain veins were able to take the cannula. While the second nurse was able to get the cannula in the vein, the vein was just not holding up. Due to the nature of the drugs, the nurses have to be sure that the cannula is at no risk of coming out or leaking. So, the third nurse had a go. This made five attempts. My arm was so sore. Yes, I know I am a big baby, but it really did hurt! My hopes of chemo being all over today, August 2, quickly came crashing to the ground. I only had one arm (can't use the right arm, breast cancer side, because of the removal of lymph nodes) and all the veins had been used. Fortunately, the oncologist consultant gave the approval for the cannula to be inserted above my elbow (on the inside). But would it go in? Yes. It was in. Success. If I cried it would have been out of relief. I didn't though.

The veins were given a rinse, anti-nausea and vomiting meds, taxotere, another rinse, (nearly there!) cyclophosphamide and then the final rinse. It was over!

My arm is sore, as it always is after chemo. But, I have reached the end. When I was first told of my chemo regime, I couldn't even think further than the day I was on. Now, it's over. It has gone fast. Although, I have to admit, it wasn't the horror movie that I imagined it would be on the onset. The oncologist was right. Chemo has changed a great deal; even just in five years there have been many improvements. There are very beautiful (inside and out) people who have cancer. And, I am so glad I met them. I look forward to continuing to share this journey with them. And then, life after. The tough chicks. Is that our official name yet?

The plan now is to drink loads of water to flush this poison out, start the mouth rinses, rest lots and take the side effects with a smile because I will look at them briefly before they leave my life forever. I picture myself as Adam Sandler this week.

Do you remember Sandler's movie, "Happy Gilmore"? There is a scene where he stands in front of an automated baseball machine. With his chest out he faces the balls. They hit his chest with great force. That's me. I'm looking at the side effects in the eye. They can come at me, they can do what they like, but I'll take it. I'm a tough chick.

Peace out!

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