One thing I don't talk too much about is the pain. One of the tumours is in the apex of the left lung and is interfering with a group of nerves called the brachial plexus. This group of nerves basically provides almost all the nervous functions of skin and muscles for the entire upper torso - meaning I get a range of pain feelings from pins & needles in the skin of my left arm/hand along the ulna and radial bones, numbness, an internal itching that cannot be scratched, burning sensations, and your basic stabbing/ache type pains. Added to that, the pancreatic tumour sits in the middle of an incredibly sensitive organ, so producing a griping pain in the midriff area.
So that's the mechanics. But what about the practicalities? I'm currently taking 75mg of Imiprimine each day, 80mg of Oxycodone (a derivative of morphine), and 150mg of Diclofenac. On top of this little lot I've been having an extra 40-50mg Oxynorm liquid over the course of the day. And this last week, the pharmacy screwed up so I didn't get my Diclofenac until a day later, by which time the pain had returned with a vengeance - then it takes days to get 'topped up' again! All these meds have left me constipated yet again.
The worse thing is when it starts in the early hours - like this morning when I woke at 5am in considerable discomfort. The two hot wheat-packs did little to settle the pain, which seemed to come from my entire stomach/midriff area, and by 6am, when I wanted to take some oxynorm, I couldn't because I have to take the Tarceva chemotherapy tabs on an empty stomach, and hour before eating or drinking. I have to take the chemo at 7, so at 6am I went downstairs to try to give hubby a bit of respite, and to put the telly on to drown out my sobbing and howling. I managed to hang on until 8 am when I downed the morning's meds, but waited another hour or so for them to kick on, having let the pain build up so much.
Luckily, it doesn't hurt when I ride, and most of the time the pain meds have been working well - but this week has been awful. If I'd been told how much pain I'd experience this year I'm not sure what I'd have done!
I love my life and am so grateful to still have it, but when the pain really kicks in and my husband and children have to watch me writhing in agony and sobbing like a baby with colic, that's when I get really scared. But I never say I want to die, I say I want to live! And I look to the day when this is all over and I can live a normal life again - sleep through the night, and go more than an hour without pain medication!
Righto - am knackered now - so gonna go get some catchup sleep!