5th June 2013
Sitting in the Alan Walker Cancer Care Centre watching the nurses hustle and bustle, bringing in new patients, checking names, dates of birth and settling into the chairs.
I sit in chair No 3 looking out a window into the carpark and Royal Darwin Hospital in the background. It is a hot day.
The session starts with my nurse Anne going through a checklist, of asking you if you have had any side affects, reactions. Nausea, vomiting, tingling fingers and toes, red rashes, itching, aching bones, pain, constipation, diarrhoea, sleeplessness? I can happily say No to most of the questions. I am getting plenty of sleep and rest.
However my liver activity is UP. I can safely say that has come from too many long lunches and long evening drinks with friends.
The chemo week begins with a blood test taken in Katherine 2 days prior to check that white blood cells are at the right level and to check any other variations.
If my white blood cells are too low, they put the chemo off for a few days and luckily, to date my readings have been good. The second day I have to start a 3 day course of Dexamathasone, a steroid that helps combat allergic reactions, but also hypes you up and causes me to have a big hot flush reaction that lasts for 24 hours. I feel like my chest and face are on fire. This drug also makes my mouth feel a bit gritty and thirsty.
The nurse gowns up and puts the cannula into my arm. Veins still good and easy to find but hurts a little more this time. First a saline infusion to clear the vein. Then the Docetaxel follows by Cyclophosphamide. This takes over 2 hours.
We were able to find a copy of our local weekly Katherine Times at the Nightcliff Newsagency. I read the paper, take some photos for Facebook. Catch up on emails. Shaun makes me cups of coffee and is immersed in his IPAD.
Sometimes the nurses are very loud in discussing their daily lives! A bit annoying when trying to rest. Doctors come and go to discuss particular issues with patients who seem to have allergic reactions and losing weight etc.
Following Chemo I have an appointment with the radiologist to discuss the process…6 weeks rather than 5 as I was first told.
The radiologist then takes more Xrays and lines up exactly where the Xrays will be targeted on to the breast area where the tumour has been removed. They tattoo three small dots, one each side of my breast and one near the tumour area. I asked if they would like to do a small bat on my hip while they were out with the tattoo gun. They declined. (: LOL.
Another long day completed and we hit the road for the trip home. Shaun wants to get home in time to watch the State Of Origin Football on TV!