Thursday 15th September 2011

Second Treatment Day

Today is my second dose of chemotherapy.

It is a lovely day outside; a pity to waste it in a hospital ward. BUT, getting rid of my lymphoma is worth it. Today's blog will give a flavour of the amount of just sitting around that the treatment entails. I am gradually getting used to it, but naturally, I am not someone who enjoys doing nothing.

I had a rather disturbed night, very aware of the sore on my coccyx. The doctor suggested that I tried sleeping on my side. I tried that, but it didn't work and my hip is aching more today than for the last couple of days. The lack of sleep is not a problem .. I have a lot of waiting around today, so if I doze a little, that won't matter.

I have a good 3G signal in the treatment room, so if I am awake, I should be able to make some use of the time.

I think I need to be patient today. I have been allocated a treatment chair. I have been here for an hour and nothing has happened yet.

It is around 10:30 and I now have a cannula. The Rituximab drip should start shortly.

One of the suggestions that Peter Warne gave me was to collect together a set of my "favourite" praise choruses as words to initiate my daily quiet time with God. Sitting here has given me time to go through an old Songs and Hymns of Fellowship book, to select some appropriate ones. Don't tell the publishers, but I will scan these in to a PDF on my tablet. This is one thing I have been meaning to do for days and haven't got round to it. I have 4 more sessions of chemo after this one. Every session represents an opportunity to do activities like this.

Today is going very slowly and I am not incredibly comfortable sitting in a chair. At 11:45, I have only just started the Rituximab drip which will probably take around 2 hours. I keep looking at E-Mail to see whether I have anything that I need to answer.

No new mails for more than an hour! So back to a task I started weeks ago.  Whenever we went on holiday, I kept a log of what we did. I am transcribing the log of a family holiday, camping in France in 1986, to merge with photos, which I have already digitised.

12:20 and according to the pump, the Rituximab drip has exactly one hour to go. Apparently, sandwiches are coming shortly. One ham and Edam sandwich later and I am still hungry. I think I will need to send Sue down to Costa for something else when she arrives.

I was optimistic about the hour. It is almost up and the Rituximab bag is still half full.

13:30 and the food trolley is back, with coffee and muffins. Maybe, I don't need to send Sue to Costa after all. I am beginning to lapse into a kind of stupor.

Another action knocked off my action list. I was actioned to buy a data projector for HCASA. I have sufficient web access to make a selection and place an order. In the end, I have gone for a tried and trusted lightweight Infocus model.

14:00 and the Rituximab is still going. The latest estimate for completion is about 7 minutes time. It is a good job that I am valuing every minute of life these days.

14:35 The Rituximab is finished. I need a saline flush to get the last of that drug through the tubes and then I get the rest of the drugs, "pushed" through the cannula by a nurse. I may need to wait a while for a nurse to be available, but it is still much earlier than the first time.

Actually, I did not have to wait very long. By 15:40 all of the chemo is in my system, including a particularly evil looking syringe of red stuff, which has the same impact on my waterworks as beetroot. 

I now have a saline flush and when that is done, we can go home. I will be back tomorrow for a lumbar puncture to complete this round of treatment.

Sitting in a chair attached to a drip left me very stiff, so when we got home, I went for a walk (if that is what you call the motion with crutches) to post a letter. Back in the house, enjoying a cup of Jasmine Silver Needle tea, I feel physically exhausted. I am going to get up and switch my PC on in a little while. Later on, I am sure I will be sitting down watching Birmingham City on the TV (if I can find ITV4).

A token attempt to do some AtE work before dinner made me feel a little bit better.

After dinner, I have a light-hearted argument with Sue. With crutches, there are not a lot of things I can do around the house. I can do clearing and washing up in the kitchen. I am having problems stopping Sue tidying up to make the washing up easier. Tonight, she did agree to let me tidy up as well.

I need to start thinking about the two formal dinners I have over the next 2 weeks. I bought my DJ when I was >16 stone. Now that I am only about 12½ stone, that won't fit well. I will need to visit a hire shop in the next couple of days.

The other challenge is shoes. One of the symptoms of my cancer, is swollen feet and legs. Currently, I only have 1 pair of shoes that fit, a very wide brown suede pair. For some reason, Sue is not keen on my wearing brown suede shoes with a DJ!

So overall, a very good day.