Before I tell you about my horrendous week, I just want to say that this blog was initiated solely by my need to get my head around the things happening to and around me, and I hoped it would help me deal with it in a quiet and dignified manner. It is not a vehicle for me to ‘out’ any bad member of the family/public/medical profession etc. If your conscience is pricking you for some reason, please don’t try to pin it on whatever I have said in my blog…..this blog is for me, and maybe will help those going through the same ordeal or those whose loved ones are suffering.
Being torn apart inside by chemo, cell by cell tends to make one emotional, sick, weak and very vulnerable…but one does not lose brain cells or memory! I must add that I have not lost my positive outlook or inner strength either and don’t intend to. I ask for kindness though when considering passing on less than happy news/information/riddles.
I wanted to be (and still do), open, honest, straight forward and down to earth about the entire deal. There is nothing private or dignified about cancer. Whoever cannot handle that, may I suggest following the blog is not the best thing to do.
When I left the blog last time, it was on the Thursday of my post chemo week. It’s difficult to believe it was just a week ago today. I was handling it well I thought. Friday I was pulled back to earth by a mouth full of ulcers, including a severely awesome number of the little blighters along the inside of both my top and bottom lips. It was excruciating to even talk, let alone eat, which was down to mashed potato and gravy. I love spuds and gravy actually so it wasn’t too much of a bother really.
My appointment for the PICC replacement had been cancelled and moved to the following Tuesday due to heavily doubled bookings. Show day for the EKKA (Royal Exhibition Show) in Brisbane on Wednesday was the reason claimed for such a mess in the appointment books.
The EKKA is just up the hill from us and we can see the top of the high ferris wheels etc, and later each evening we hear the fireworks. I think they can be seen too from our balcony, but by then I’m in my pj’s in bed and can’t be bothered going to have a look.
But I digress…. The attempt to get samples for blood testing on Friday, resulted in my almost fainting so I was put in a bed, with IV fluids via a cannula (due to the PICC not present in my arm any longer). My temperature was spiking round the top 37s and at times 38 for most of the day. Emma came in to see me and gave me the choice of staying in the hospital or going home if we thought we could manage the fever ourselves. I was sure salt rinses etc would control the ulcers and they would ease over the weekend, however by Saturday night my temps were 38.2 and I felt crap enough to give in and head to the hospital for help.
We arrived in the Emergency Dept at 8.30pm and the nurses put me in a cubicle almost immediately. Doctors came in to poke and prod and stick needles in, take more blood, insert yet another cannula in my left hand just above my thumb, take my BP etc and generally sympathise and offer kindness. By midnight I was moved to a ‘quieter’ part of the emergency area so I could sleep. Tim then went home for some sleep for himself, and just as well he did, as I stayed put in that corner until 5.55am when finally I was taken to Ward 5C.
Intense antibiotics, doses of magnesium, potassium and even potash….really? They could grow a cane field on me right now! As well as saline to re-hydrate my wrecked body, all via a cannula which had to be renewed twice with much pain. The most difficult thing I had to do was swallow my huge number of tablets every day with such a painful mouth. They gave me gluggy jelly type water and surprisingly, it worked a treat. By Tuesday I was much improved but still suffering from a sore mouth.
Tim had left for Sydney on business and his Mum (Mary in pic above) had come down on the Sunday to take over my care. Poor Mary spent most of the time in the unit alone, but she visited the hospital often and was ready for me when I was discharged. Home made soups, mince dishes and apple slices with dollops of cream have helped me get back on track with my health. Mary’s care and cooking has been invaluable to my getting so much better. She was very aware that I have to be right for the next course of chemo which is due to begin next Tuesday.
The appointment for my PICC line replacement on Tuesday was cancelled by the ward staff, for whatever reason….perhaps there was no wards-man available to wheel me down there?…..and re scheduled for tomorrow, Friday. So it’s an early start again as that needs to be in place before the blood tests and consultation with Kirk, or Emma or whichever doctor is on duty. Then I have the weekend to rest before the start of the cycle once more on Tuesday.
While waiting in the first cubicle in emergency, a very edgy guy was sitting just outside my curtain when he began demanding valium. The doctors explained they could not give him drugs of that kind without blood tests because he had admitted to smoking ice earlier. Suddenly 2 security guards appeared and stood nearby. Mr Ice dropped a piece of orange string about 6 inches in length but didn’t notice. One of the guards picked it up and binned it. When Mr Ice noticed the string in the bin (he was sitting quite close to it at this stage), he went berserk, retrieved the string which he proceeded to suck because it had some of his ice on it. If I didn’t feel sick before, I did then!
A dear friend of mine in NZ sent me the following pic which brought tears to my eyes. It is rather apt though and arrived on the day I needed to read it most. Thank you Katherine, you are a sweetheart.
I haven’t been on face book much lately because of my discomfort and pain levels, but I’d say you would have guessed that much. It’s possible that I will go offline again during my week after the next chemo course. It’s getting a tad harder to cope, and if this 5th course is going to be stronger, as Kirk has said, it won’t be pretty. So I ask for your patience in advance. Next week though I will do my best to post another blog….I have a lumbar puncture to look forward to on Tuesday also.
Tim’s nephew Alex arrived this afternoon to pick up his Nana (Mary) to take her back to Maryborough. I think our dogs will have missed her by now and are wondering where does everyone disappear to? Alex is in the Army and on his way to Townsville where he has recently been transferred. He seems to be excited about the adventure and looking forward to being joined later in the year by his gorgeous girlfriend Erin who will leave Sydney for a life in the humid north. Erin has been a good friend of mine for a few years….we worked together in Melbourne, and I loved her from the first minute of meeting. Such a sweetheart of a girl. Erin sent an aromatherapy candle with Alex today, and it’s just what I need…..she knows me well!
Goodnight. Take care. Thank you for being patient as it has been a long week since the last blog. Much love to you all, and big hugs. Your support has become invaluable to me recently, and although I might not post on FB, I do read your posts and appreciate them.