I am now moving on to a chemotherapy drug called Docetaxal, otherwise known as ‘tax’ apparently pain hits hard in the long limbs day 4 and eases off after day 10. I was so worried as day 4 would have been my Christmas day. Everyone told me not to worry as I may be one of the lucky ones but the more I heard other patients talk about being under the wheels of the tax truck I realised Christmas may not be the best of days.
I went in for my first of three tax on 21st December, I went with a friend, we wore Christmas jumpers and took chocolates in ready to be all festive and cheer the nurses up however I was in for a two hour grueling needle prodding in my arm with no success. I tried to tell them that my veins were very bruised and stiff. I was struggling to stretch my arm out fully this is known as phlebitis.
Each vein they tried just collapsed or swelled up and they can’t use my left hand side for risk of lymphedema as its the operation side. It was becoming more and more obvious I needed a hickman line fitted to my chest to take blood and administer the chemotherapy drugs with better ease.
I was asked to go into the chemo ward for one final needle attempt as they couldn’t fit me in until two weeks time which is quite risky. Cancer cells could regenerate within 21 days so it is important to get the next dose sooner than two weeks. The Dr couldn’t find a vein as expected and made a few calls he managed to get me an appointment for a hickman line the next morning at North Tees. I felt so lucky but so scared as well.
The Dr sat me down the next day and told me there was a risk my lung could be punctured and would spend Christmas in the hospital. I had no idea and was soon getting upset walking into the operating theatre. The line would go from my neck to my chest via ultrasound. I had local anaesthetic and felt an uncomfortable pulling sensation. This is the result.
This is how it works
I was glad to be going home and felt like frankenstein walking around the house all stiff. It was the day before Christmas eve and there was lots of tidying and wrapping to be done, pretty hard with a alien in your neck!
The good news is one week off from chemo over Christmas and no more needles. I will have to be careful not to get the hickman line wet so it’s free from infection. It will get flushed every Wednesday in the chemo ward which is a shame but chemo should be much easier. Patients in America all seem to get these in their chest or arm from the start.
Here I am ready to go 28 December with a very very tight freezing cold cap on (not the best picture) and my new hickman line which is feeling much more comfortable. Hoping I’m not in too much pain 4th day lets see how it goes 🙂 4th chemo out of 6!
I am very lucky I haven’t had much of a reaction to tax there was a little throbbing back pain and mouth changes but I’m on day 9 right now and I’m feeling good. I do find after all the chemo if I do too much on a day I’ll be absolutely shattered and I think I need to take it slow and listen to my body, resting where I can.
My second tax went well I showed the nurse my hair and she thought I had done well with the cold cap. I couldn’t believe there was only one more to go!! During my second tax I met up with some chemo friends in Newcastle they were at the end of their treatment and were shocked how well I was during tax.
I was very lucky on tax I have to say. I only had a few aches and pains and the usual tiredness but some people are aching all over. I had a few bad days and found it so hard to do the school run. Early mornings are hard when your body is full of poison 😦 but I wanted to be there for my son. I was lucky that my mam and her husband helped me out a lot.
I felt nothing through the hickman line at all. No pain at all where as via the veins in my arm I literally felt everything and it was a very uncomfortable feeling.
Finally my last chemo!! I went with my mam and fiance and we had a good laugh with the nurses. I had finally made it to the end, how fantastic however despite ringing the bell it would still be in my system for three weeks.
I’m so thankful to all the nurses that helped me through this journey. Luckily I still see them as I go once a week to get my hickman line flushed. This will continue for another couple of months. Ringing that bell felt very good. Half way through I could easily have given up but I had made it to the end!!
I started to feel a lot more for the last round, my eyes were constantly watering and I barely had any eyelashes left. My eyes were puffy and I just felt I looked so different. I started to find food and drinks didn’t taste as good I kept telling my partner the milk was off after a cup of tea and it was new milk!
We went on a family trip to London thanks to a cancer charity called the willow foundation and I managed a night out for my friends birthday. I soon found myself with a really bad cold perhaps I overdid it but I just wanted to celebrate the end of treatment.
Update 18 March 2017 – I have found that I have felt worse after chemo has ended I think it’s catching up with me big time. My bones ache, mainly my legs and fingers. My legs feel heavy like I have worked out for days. It hurts to type on my phone and I feel so tired I’m lucky that I have good days now and again but I have no eyelashes so my eyes stream when I’m out doing the school run and my nose runs a lot.
I have caught yet another cold and I’m feeling so so weak. The hot sweats don’t seem to be going anywhere but zoladex should be out of my body by now!!
Despite feeling like an old woman some days im still doing as much as I can once I’m able so we can continue life as normal. I have met up with friends who really seem to care how I’m doing and that’s meant so much to me thank you for everyone for your time.