Been a little crazy the last couple of days here.
Monday was a big day. Nicole and mum came to the hospital with me at 8am for CT scans, bone scans, heart checks, blood tests and my first visit to see Skye from clinical trials. During our small break for lunch, we went to Pomegranate Cafe which is situated inside SJOG hospital. I love going there. They have realllllly good food and apparently the best hot chips which I am yet to try.
Wednesday morning Adam and I attended our first counseling appointment at the Solaris Center. I actually cannot remember if I have mentioned the Solaris Center much yet, but it aims to improve the quality of life of cancer patients and carers by giving them the support they require to cope with the emotional and physical side effects of cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery. A purpose built drop-in centre provides a safe place to reflect and have time-out. Trained volunteers provide information, links to other support groups, a ‘listening ear’ and complementary therapies. The Foundation is completely self funded and relies on the generosity of people from local business and the community who share the vision and recognize the importance of providing supportive care to cancer patients and carers.
Late last week I booked a joint counseling appointment for us to go chat to someone about our fears, frustration and stress from this huge situation. We have actually done amazingly well and it just felt nice to chat about things to a professional and give us a little bit of clarity that we are okay and doing all the right things. Our counselor is a retired clinical psychiatrist and we are going to be seeing her on a 2 week basis. Sometimes its just nice to be able to vent to someone other than a close friend or a family member, who also has dealt with many other cancer patients and understands the emotions and problems that go with it all.
I will definitely be visiting the Solaris Center on a regular basis. You can go in there any time for just a sit down for a cup of tea, a browse of their library, or book in for massages/relaxation sessions/beauty treatments/acupuncture and many other services.
Sadly, we had to admit Brooklyn to the vet hospital late Tuesday night after dropping Nicole at the airport. She was completely out of it, lethargic and totally not herself. She staying in over night and I was really upset as it was the last thing I wanted for my little doggie to be unwell too. Oh, and the $700 bill. Thank god we got pet insurance a couple of months ago… I picked her up wednesday evening and she was a bit better. She was infected with some gastrointestinal thing and we were lucky to bring her in because she was on her way down.
Thursday I spent approximately six hours at the hospital. A visit to my Oncologist in regards to my first big day tomorrow and other details following on from Tuesday’s appointment with Skye from Clinical Trials. I will be having regular blood tests in my 3 week cycles of chemo treatment to capture my red blood, platelets and white blood cell results. This will show how harsh my body and immune system is being hit and to determine my next dose of chemo drugs. I also had a 2 hour education session this evening in the ‘Ivy Suite’ (Chemo department inside Bendat Cancer Center) with a lovely nurse called Ana. She basically told me every tiny little bit of information I will need to know. She also gave me some awesome little pamper packages and digital thermometer for me as I will need to keep a very close eye on my temperature. If I reach 38 or higher I will need to go to emergency. Pretty much everything I do I have to think not twice, but three time about before I do it, and then proceed with the right action.
Within the first 7 days of chemo treatment, my body is obviously full of poisons. Any vomit, wee or poo is a big deal. If I was to throw up, who ever cleans it up must wear two pairs of gloves, a face mask and not get any liquid on their skin. If they do, they need to shower immediately for 20 minutes. Doesn’t that sound insane?! If I vomit on my clothes or in my bed, the items must be either thrown out or washed in the washing machine twice. Anything in the toilet, I must close the lid and flush to prevent any splash back.
Days 10 – 14 are the most crucial. I must not be anywhere where I may be around anything that may contaminate me. Shopping centers, big crowds etc. These are the days I will be my worst and most probably be living off custard and icecream (yeah I think not, thats just great for a diabetic!)
There are many many many other side effects and other things like this but I am just going to see how I go and hope that none of them even happen. This is why I will leave them unidentified 🙂
I started my Dex medication tonight. Cancer patients undergoing chemo are given Dexamethasone to counteract certain side effects of their antitumor treatment. Dexamethasone can augment the antiemetic effect of 5-HT3 receptor antagonists like Ondansetron (the drug used for anti-nausea). Tomorrow I will be given more drugs to take at home post chemo treatment. I also had to get some Emla cream which is a local anesthetic cream to use 2-3 hours before I come into treatment. I am to apply this to the top of where my IV port is installed beneath my chest so when its time to put the cannula in, it will hopefully be less painful. Once my IV port has healed a bit better I will post a photo, its still bruised and swollen. I also still am experiencing a lot of pain in my shoulder and back from the CO2 used from the port insertion surgery. I really wish this would subside because I can only sleep on my back at night as both my left and right sides are unbearable to lay on.
I best go to bed now. I have to be up early to apply my Emla cream, then be at hospital by 7:30am ready to go. I will most probably update my blog whilst in the Ivy Suite tomorrow during my 9 hour treatment.