Port fitting done, and first chemo done. Phew.
Monday and, let's face it Tuesday, and most of Wednesday are days I would like to be able to forget in a big hurry.
Monday started badly, as despite having had my first chemo delayed to incorporate a port fitting so we could use the port the same day, the rather lovely (and I do actually mean lovely) sister on the ward who was meant to admit me, was horrified that I was going to go through everything on the same day and was adamant that I shouldn't go through with everything - I think she even went to "have words with" my oncologist.
Alarm bells should have rung at this point, but in my normal stubborn way, I insisted on doing the whole lot, as I absolutely had to get home before the children arrived back from nursery so I could help my husband. (Remember this point later on....)
Having had chemo delayed I was adamant that I ought to do everything as planned, despite the advice from the sister in charge of the ward. They had no space for me anyway, so after a quick antiseptic shower (which apparently I should have had at home but no one gave me the stuff) I was dispatched to the day patient unit for a bed so I could have my port fitting at 10 ish, and my chemo was then booked for 2pm. On the basis that this was an improvement from the timescales I had been given (i.e. wait for a space all day for both procedures) I was quite happy and toddled off to the DPU.
The DPU is lovely, but the poor nurses had no idea what to do with me as they never have patients in there for port fittings, so they didn't know if I could have a cup of tea or whether I should be nil by mouth.....we didn't have long to wait though as I was soon called up to Interventional Radiology for the port fitting.
Rather embarrassingly, I wasn't allowed to walk up and I had to have a ride on the bed - the porter was adamant, as were the nurses.... although the porter did rather admit that I looked healthy enough to walk, and was definitely too well to be having chemo later.......appearances can be deceiving.....
So, the port fitting.
Went fine, but was quite unpleasant and not an experience I would like to have again. I do admit though, that it has got to come out at some point and teleportation isn't an option.....
Once we got enough local anaesthetic in it was more comfortable and only took about 45mins. The consultant and team were fab, and I was made a rather wonderful cup of tea afterwards by one of the radiologists who wouldn't let me be spirited away until I had finished it! They even shared their biscuit supply, so I've promised to take a cake in when I have the port removed.
So, feeling a bit uncomfortable I'm wheeled back down to the DPU where I just about have enough time for a slice and a half of toast and to get dressed (and for a friend to be turned away from visiting by the guards at the door) before I'm wheeled round, in a chair this time to the Chemo dept for my first session.
The Chemo nurse, Richard, who takes me in is lovely, and as I'm starting on a cocktail of 3 drugs, has to sit with me the whole time putting them in. We had a good long chat about all the side effects I might experience, including red urine (some of the Chemo is red), and after a bit of a cry from me (it has been a long day), we start.
Despite my misgivings and fear about having the port put in, seeing 4 or 5 people around me with their arms soaking in water to try and get their veins raised enough for a drip, I am extremely relieved that I have been given one. All I can feel is slight pressure as the liquids go in, and conversation soon takes my mind off it.
As well as the chemo, I'm given lots of anti-emetics via the port, which should last into the night, but I also have a list of pills to take when I get home which WILL, I'm told, stop me from being sick, which is good news.
My Onc Dr popped in for a brief chat and he seemed on reasonable form, other than calling me Tracey....
So, after about 2 hrs we are finished, and I sit with my bags and pile of pills ready to be picked up and go home. I bumped into a lady that I met when I had my node clearance - she's waiting for her first session, and we exchange notes. She has been a lot more sore than me post op, but seems on relatively good form.
I've got my next two sessions booked: 10th December and 2nd January, so on the up side Christmas and New Year won't be a total write off...
By the time I get home, I'm quite shattered but the children are due home any second, so I have time for a quick cuppa. Friends of ours have kindly offered to stay the first night and help, as I'm not allowed to lift anything heavy for the first day or so post port fitting (not worth me rushing home to be helpful then was it!) and my husband shouldn't be lifting the children either...
I feel okay for a while, but then get terrible indigestion and have to lie down. I take one dose of pills and keep my fingers crossed for a bit. Fortunately, the children go to bed quite quickly so they don't see me go downhill.
I was in so much pain from the indigestion that I rang the Acute Onc Team who are 24/7 and asked whether it's a normal thing. It isn't, but they are quite happy that it could be normal for me and advise me to take some Gaviscon and my next lot of anti-emetics.
So, I downed the Gaviscon and was sick within 30 seconds. Bugger. Just as well I got that toast for lunch....
On the plus side, my stomach was much less sore afterwards.
I won't bore you with all the details, but suffice it to say that my first night was miserable and I was ill every 2 hrs until I stopped drinking, at which point I managed to sleep and not be sick... not ideal, but it got me through. I eventually worked out that one of the pills I have been prescribed makes me sick - 2/3 times withing 15minutes, so under advice from the Acute Onc Team we decide to give that one a miss. I can't take the steroid I've been given as it has to be taken with food.....(whoops).....but can take one other which only makes me sick after 2hrs, which is an improvement on 15mins...
Tuesday was similarly awful and after a chat with the AOT I went to the GP's for an anti-emetic jab. Getting through the receptionists was hard work, but lets just say that they have had some early training on how to treat cancer patients and have been reminded that if they don't know what they can prescribe for sickness, they have specialists on hand called Doctors who do.....
Anti emetic jabs hurt like hell, but it worked and I got some sleep when I got home and managed to keep a couple of dry biscuits down.
I can't remember much of Tuesday in honesty, except sleeping in various positions, and eventually being able to drink. I was less sick towards the evening/night, that I can remember, and when the eldest child was upset overnight, I even managed to be a parent and cuddled up with her in her bed. I'm not sure who gave more comfort - me or her.
I have been re-reading parts of my blog, and I think I'm going to need every ounce of bravado that I have alluded to thus far to get through. It will all be worth it but my God I'm scared.