Friday, 3 June 2011

A New String to my bow, or is it Syringe to my bow?

Time to do an up date having now had 4 cycles of chemo.  I was thinking quite happily that I had passed the half way mark, only to find that I will be having 8, not 6 six cycles of this nasty stuff.  This means that I won't be finished until August but luckily we had not planned our big holiday until October.

Several of the side effects have caught up with me though.  One is the neuropathy one gets in the fingers and toes which is irreversible.  It is the sort of sensation you get when your hands or feet are cold and then start to thaw out.  Th next doses will have to be reduced so that I tolerate the drug better.

One of the other side effects is oedema in the leg.  I thought this would go away and was maybe only affecting  my leg because of the knee operation.  However, the swelling in my right leg this cycle did not go down and when I discussed this with the oncologist's registrar this week, he ordered an urgent ultrasound which I had today.  This revealed that I have a thrombosis in my calf (DVT) for which I have to have heparin injected daily.  Fortunately I can do this myself.  I was given another lesson in how to get the syringe in a suitable fatty bit of skin (I have lots of possible sites to inject!) and sent home with an enormous bag of syringes and a bright yellow sharps bin for the disposal of said articles.

The ultrasound procedure was slightly embarrassing as I am extremely ticklish around the knee area (not sure if I am the only one who has ticklish knees - David drives me mad trying to grab my knees to see the response.)  As the radiographer got closer to my knee, I took a sharp intake of breath.  she apologised as she thought she had hurt me but I then had to explain between giggles that my knees where extremely ticklish and I would try not to whack her hand away.
"Strange" she said "I haven't come across anyone with ticklish knees before,"  it's usually the armpits that make people giggle".  I have always known I was joined up wrongly.

I was advised not to do any competitive exercise for at least a fortnight.  Just as well then that I did the multi-day orienteering event last week-end in Shropshire. Although the swelling was bad then and according to the Registrar I was rather lucky that the exercise hadn't forced the blood clot towards my lungs. I was told to be very sensible for a week or more and only do gentle walking.  Advice which of course I will follow to the letter!

The oncologist is also planning a CT scan for me to check that the chemotherapy is reducing the metastases and to find out why I am still having breathing problems.  As it was impossible to get a cannula in to infuse the contrast fluid last time, I may have to have a pic line inserted this time.  This is a permanent 'port' inserted into a more major vein in the arm into which can be plugged a variety of tubes to push things in and get things out of one's body.  Sounds like fun as it is not done under anaesthetic.  The registrar assured me it was a painless procedure.  (Although that is what the dentist said when he was filing my teeth down this week!  I have had toothache to add to the various bits of my anatomy to cause problems).

The good news is that my biochemistry looks very good.  The result of blood tests show that all levels are now almost normal again.  So hopefully the chemo (horrid though it is) is doing the trick.

The house moving is going ahead nicely.  We have sold our house and found another one near Wadhurst.  If all goes according to plan we are hoping to exchange and complete before the end of July.  The new house has a fantastic garden complete with large pond, steps, decking and lots of interesting nooks and crannies.  The house has lots of querky bits too and needs hardly any changes.  I will have to start clearing the shed now.  I have been waiting to plant all the vegetable plants that have arrived from the seed company.  At present they are in big pots - so hopefully I may get them into the garden of the new house.  I am hoping lots of people will come and see us when we move and  plan a big house warming sometime in Autumn.

Until the next blog ................. Anita

1 comment:

  1. Dear Anita. I wanted to tell you and your blog Followers that I am running the Cancer Research Race for Life on Sunday 12th and you will be upper most in my mind. if any of your followers are minded to donate to this worthy cause the link is or check my facebook page LOL Rowan x