Written in 2007, Me & Adam Ant records Louise’s first cycle with chemo and like everything else she wrote it is honest, warm and full of insight.
Chapter 7: CHEMO
All chronology is going out the window now ‘cos I’m going to write later about the 2 weeks leading up to chemo and my IVF saga… but it’s now April 19th and I started chemo yesterday and I need to write about that. Firstly on April 17th I had to come in the day before it began to get a Hickman (or Central) Line fitted. This sounded like a good plan – a line somewhere in your chest that can be used for infusing all the drugs but also taking blood.. knowing how awful it’s been when no-one can find my veins. I was really pleased (well pleased in terms of a choice of evils… not as pleased about getting a new bag!) I didn’t (And I still don’t) quite like the reality. They inject your neck with local anaesthetic (Ever had your neck injected? Not to be recommended!) then find your jugular and insert a wire down it to above your boob where they inject more anaesthetic and bring it out (boobs and necks being injected are roughly on a par of things to avoid).
Then they make a tunnel around the wire and then thread a tube thro’ the tunnel, then they insert the exterior bits with 2 tubes running of them that dangle down to your tummy. So that’s what I’ve got to live with for the next 7 months… Plus it hurt!!
So that day that I went home I was really depressed… the reality was dawning and I didn’t like it at all. On top of that I got an all over rash of really itchy little blisters… so all in all not a really great day…
The next day heading to Jimmy’s for chemo I felt fine until I got to the door. And then I wanted to simultaneously run away, throw up and cry. M & D were looking a bit grim too… Lucky that I didn’t provide that entertainment for everyone… and once I was on the ward I felt OK. Bizarrely I like the bed/ward I have. I’m in bed 8 of Ward 14 on the top floor of the Gledhow Wing. And I’m right by a window with a view over the hospital grounds and Leeds. But mostly I can just see sky. And it’s been such gorgeous sunny weather so it’s blue skies and sunshine and white clouds. And with the windows open it feels so calm and peaceful. So I’m infinitely grateful for that small mercy. And I shall cross all my fingers and toes and hope I might be lucky enough to always get a window (I nearly wrote window seat – like I’m on a plane!!)
Anyway it just turns out when you have chemo there’s a long run up to it. So the whole day I was being infused with various liquids/drugs in preparation (The nurse informed me the anti-sickness drugs can make your bum tingle – who invents these crazy side-effects??!) So I got started at about 7.30ish(?) finally. Just before, I was in the loo and thinking – I could just run away. Just tell them I’ve changed my mind. But of course I didn’t. And I’ve now had my first 3 lots of chemo infusions for this stay. And so far I feel OK. Am just starting to feel a little queasy. And I have tingly arms and my head feels achey. But I’m OK. I am sort of dreading feeling worse and it seems impossible that I couldn’t considering the toxins they’re pumping int me… but I’m trying as usual, not to dwell on those thoughts.
I had a fleeting moment of panic when it dawned on me this morning about 6.30am that this is just day 1 of 7 months and that felt truly horrendous. But all I can do is force myself not to think of this huge expanse of time ahead of me and just try and get thro’ every day.