Friday 9th September 2011

Two Weeks Into Treatment - Reflections


As my treatment proceeds, I realise that my blog entries are getting more and more mundane. That reflects a return to a life that is closer to normality.

Trying to analyse my feelings, I am now assuming that I will beat this lymphoma and join the community of people who are completely cured. This has been reinforced by my experience through the first session of chemo. Supposedly, I have just passed through the worst week and week 3 is just building up to start all over again.

Side effects have been relatively mild. I have been tired this week, but that is hardly a side-effect. The chemo is intended to kill cells and that is what it seems to have done. Unfortunately, it does not discriminate between cancer cells and similar good cells in the blood. By today the drug to increase my blood count seems to have kicked in and I have a lot more energy. I have had no nausea and no lack of appetite.

The biggest problem was constipation, but that now seems to be controlled.

BUT as Sue reminded me this morning, it is important that I don't get complacent. I have five more rounds of chemo to go, and there will almost certainly be bad days to cope with. A cure is not guaranteed. Although it doesn't feel like it, my cancer is serious. I have a long fight on my hands.

It is important for me to remember that my treatment and progress is in the hands of God. It is important that I continue to pray and I will welcome the ongoing prayers of others.

On the positive side, the condition of my hip seems to be improving. At the worst time, I could not bend by leg, could not take weight on it without pain. Muscles in my leg were so weak that I could not lift my leg.

The crutches have allowed me to remain mobile without putting weight on the hip and to avoid any movements that would aggravate the fracture. Last night was the first night I have been able to lie in bed with no pain in my hip at all. When I am sitting down, I can now straighten my leg -- so I am getting some strength back in the muscles. Again, however, I must not get complacent. I am still taking slow relief Morphine Sulphate to provide pain relief.

I do have a related problem. I will be on steroids for the foreseeable future and that plays havoc with my diabetes control. Steroids interfere with the use of insulin in the blood. As a result, my blood sugar level goes up and down like a yo-yo. I have to test multiple times a day, which entails pricking on of the fingers on my left hand to get some blood. The ends of my fingers are like pin cushions and tingle most of the day.

Back to today. Last night was quite disturbed, but I don't feel too tired. In fact this was the first day in almost 2 weeks that I went straight to my computer after breakfast.

Today's blog so far has been written at my usual table in Starbucks while Sue does a little bit of shopping.

Now to the "Pringle's Plan". I am trying to kill multiple birds with one stone. I am encouraged to take light snacks between meals to help rebuild after a long period of losing weight. I also need to take exercise. I have decided that, if I need/want a mid-afternoon snack, I am going to walk to the co-op to get it, rather than walk to the cupboard and get out a pack of Pringles. I can't buy chocolate every day. As a diabetic, this is not good for me. There is a secondary benefit. The Pringles in the cupboard are in big packets and I tend to eat too many. If I go to the co-op, I will buy the much smaller tub.

The plan didn't work! The co-op only had a large tube of Pringles, but I did get some exercise.

I have not actually done a great deal of work this week. My ability to concentrate has been a problem. Today, with more energy, I am embarking on a piece of work that demands quite a lot of attention. I have until next Thursday before I start to get more drugs in my system.

Preparing my blood count injection only took a few seconds, without the benefit of the illustrated instructions (see yesterday).

The ward sister from the Basing unit at the hospital phoned me this afternoon, just to make sure that I did not have any problem with the self-injection and whether the laxative had cleared my blockage. I really am **very** impressed with the quality of care that I am getting.

Less impressive is the communication between departments. On Monday, I have go to outpatients at the hospital for a follow-up appointment after my failed colonoscopy in August. I tried to explain that the problem has now been diagnosed and is being treated, but to no avail. I will have to waste a couple of hours on Monday.

In the evening, Chris joined us for a pizza at Pizza Hut. His house purchase is going well. Just waiting on searches. Everything else including finance seems OK. Finally, we got a call from Jenny. She, Graham and Sammy will be coming to visit tomorrow afternoon.

Disappointing news at the end of the evening. The teenage girl with a stubborn infected wound I first mentioned a couple of weeks ago has not had a good week. The infection continues to be stubborn and she has been feeling ill this week. A subject for our prayer this evening.