Well. I survived the first chemotherapy session and am home again. Home and trying to feel normal.
Sunday night I was fine. Pain in shoulder etc., but calm.
Monday morning. Calm.
Arrived at hospital. PANIC!!!
Legs turned to jelly and eyes began leaking. Oh dear. And I had so intended to be brave. It got worse when I got onto the ward and saw all the other patients - the no hair, the lying down looking in agony (later realised that this was just sheer boredom), the wheelie things with the IV bags on 'em.
PANIC PANIC PANIC despite the mind saying DO NOT PANIC!!!
So they took my bloods and the woman screwed it up so I have a massive sore bruise now on right arm. I cried some more. The women across the way looked on sympathetically. "A newbie... awww!" Their eyes said.
And then a young girl was brought in, and she really did look awful. 18 yrs old. She had a infection, high temp, sickness, the works and I thought I'd better grow up really.
Hubby had to leave before they put the IV in so felt quite scared and alone, and desperately wanted to run run run away. Can entirely understand how some people get these diagnosis and refuse treatment to travel the world to die. Only my arm hurts so much that I wouldn't get to enjoy it, so chemo and fight the bastard till I win is the option I've gone for!
Now the rest of the day is a bit of a blur because in with the anti-nausea tabs was a conspicuous looking little blue pill. Hmmm, I thought. What's that? But being a good girl I took it. Half an hour later I felt really weird.
No really. Really weird. A kind of LSD type weird.
I thought a range of things: Is this the chemo?! Has it got Absinthe in it? Why are the letters in my story flying around? Where did the floor go?
You get the picture.
Turns out they gave me some sort of sedative but didn't think it necessary to tell me - or rather give me the option. I'd have been furious if I wasn't so high!
So off I went with me wheelie trolley - IV line not hurting at all as nurse was very good - and almost tried to go down the stairs before I saw the lift. The I took pics of myself on my phone and texted it to people to say look at me, I'm okay, when really the pics say, look at me, I'm totally out of my tree!!! I had a walk round the coffee bar and the Cancer Info Centre, called my dad but can't remember what I said, and then floated back to the ward.
Where you get to sit, and sit, and sit, and sit.
Dinner was awful. Sorry - I know the care is fab and all that, but I would've thought food was like, a bit important for sick people?!!! I had to have salad and a baked potato because there was nothing else low fat (gallstones and all that!). The salad (and I use the term in its loosest sense) consisted of 'see through' ice-berg lettuce (like on a dodgy burger) and three cherry tomatoes. That was one main course. The baked potato (again, using terms loosely) came in a potato skin but that was about the only resemblance to one. It had been scraped out and filled ...
oh oh - 4pm - hang on while I down more anti-nausea stuff...
Where was I? Oh yes. Food was shite!
And as for sedatives: In the evening I told the night nurse I didn't want the sedative and she stared at me, perplexed. And why not?! I said I wanted to be straight. She said MOST people want to be out of it. I said how am I supposed to do my healing meditations and visualisations if I'm off my head on drugs?! She said suit yourself. I told her I would.
Other interesting things:
- You have to wee in a measuring jug and then write down the quantity while on IV. The jugs are at the end of the ward and the loo at the other. This must be for exercise purposes. My worst effort was 210ml and my best was 600ml (that required a stop and measure, and restart as jug only 500ml big).
- They don't do herbal tea. (But you guessed that from above catering story, eh).
- They have two tv rooms, but only one tv works. Also, only have 5 channels, and if more than 3 of us are in there, we run out of plugs for the IV units, and the battery only lasts a short while before the alarm goes off.
- The IV alarms go off all through the night. This doesn't disturb sleep though, as you can't sleep due to constant weeing. I went 16 times in total.
I did meet a lovely lady who was born in Chile (hello if you read this when you get home!!!). We met in the TV room, and had a good old chat about alternative meds and approaches, about meditation and self-healing. That was a real life because I think a lot of people just go for the western meds and think the rest is for crack-pots. I think throw the lot at it mate. Chile lady is 35 and has two gorgeous babes. She is soooo brave and smiley, muy cariñoso we'd say in Spanish. We have swapped numbers and I hope we keep in touch.
Nicky came to collect me (thank you honey!!) so I had my own personal paramedic escort to the door, and she even made me ginger and lemon tea. And Desi rang me from Spain. And dad called in. I am sooo lucky.
Can't wait for hubby to get home from work, and the kids from school. I've only been away a day but it feels like years. Time is so drawn out on those wards!
One down, three to go. *Repeats I CAN DO THIS until believes it!*
Also got a lovely email from one of my students - Andrew, you're a little star mate - thank you!
Will keep you updated as ever. Going riding tomorrow if body feels up to it!