Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Oncology Appointment

Full details on my Cancer Diary page.

I had my appointment with the oncologist today, a charming Chinese lady called Dr. Lo, who immediately put us at our ease. I had been told that the surgery was considered curative, but would need some chemotherapy afterwards as "belt and braces" to mop up any rogue cells which might still remain in my system.

I had been hoping for a single cycle of oral chemo, but in view of the fact that my cancer had invaded through all layers of the bowel wall and also into one lymph node, and was the most aggressive kind, I was told that it would be administered intravenously over the next SIX MONTHS!!! I was horrified when she told us that. Also, the oral chemo isn't suitable for someone with heart problems.

I am having Oxaliplatin (eloxatin) intravenously, every three weeks, for six months. This is far more radical than I'd hoped. I shall have a PICC line (peripherally inserted central catheter) installed for the duration of the treatment, and the chemo and any other drugs will be administered through the cannula in the crook of my elbow, from which they will also be able to take blood.

The PICC line will have to be flushed every week by the district nurse. Each treatment will take about four hours. Side effects will be cumulative over the course of the treatment, and which will be most severe immediately after treatment, and may include increased risk of infection, anaemia, bleeding and bruising, peripheral neuropathy (numbness and tingling in the hands and feet), and almost universally, extreme fatigue. Nausea and diarrhoea should not be a problem because drugs are prescribed to counteract these. There may be other side effects too; it all sounds pretty unpleasant.

As we left, my hubby took me into the chapel, which is just near the oncology department. It's absolutely beautiful. All around the altar are lots and lots of little teddies given in memory of babies who had died, and this moved me so much. Thinking of that made me count my blessings, and realise that whatever I've got to face, it's never going to be as bad as that. The chapel is such a beautiful sanctuary and I'm so glad we went in there before coming home.

I will be called in again probably early next week, when they will talk to me about my treatment, and possibly fit the PICC line and do my initial blood test and prepare me for the beginning of the treatment which will follow soon after.

I just hope I stay the course and can put up with it all... I am still finding it quite hard to get my head around the idea that I've had cancer at all, and haven't been able to think about that aspect much until now, because my brain has compartmentalised it all, allowing me to focus first on the surgery, then on managing the stoma.

It's a bit frustrating to think that I shall be made to feel poorly again just when I feel I am picking up after my operation and thinking I would soon get my life back again, but I feel it's still on hold and will be for some time now.

7 comments:

  1. I was just thinking about you and hoping there would be a blog notification and there you are. Sorry to hear about the treatment - I guess it's better than the alternative. Hang in there. God is with you every step of the way xx

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  2. You can do this. I know it's not what you wanted to hear (trust me, I know that feeling well!), but my husband basically told me that all I had to do was take everything one day at a time, and he was right. I gave myself permission to sleep whenever I needed to, watch silly/stupid/guilty pleasure TV, and cry if I wanted. I didn't really do much of the last because I made the decision to be happy and to enjoy every precious moment that I could. My dogs helped by giving me lots of furry cuddles. :) Hang in there - you've got this!

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  3. So sorry to hear that it's going to be a tougher road than you were expecting, but I'm glad they're going the whole hog as it was a speedy developer, so making sure any mini escapist cell is eliminated is the best option. It's a huge thing to take on and will be even harder with the M.E., but I know you'll beat it. Loads of love xxx

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  4. I'm so sorry that you still have to undergo so much more treatment. I know words can't help you much, but please remember the number of your blog friends who are wishing you well. Blessings and Healing Thoughts

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    1. Thank you Lesley for your very kind words, which help more than you know. It is great to remember all my friends far and near, who are upholding me in their thoughts and prayers.

      Shoshi

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  5. Hello again Shoshi. I feel humbled that you took time to message me via my blog- you have so much to think about. I am sorry that the news re chemo was not what you were hoping for - but I know you will get through this next stage of treatment - sure there will be ups and downs but YOU CAN DO IT! You both remain in my thoughts and prayers. Gentle hugs Anne x

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  6. I've just realised that the comment I typed earlier today somehow got lost.....
    I'm so sorryto hear that you haven't quite finished and that you now have to have chemo. What a disappointment! But I suppose it's good that chemo exists and that it is free on the NHS. Stay positive and this too will pass. All your blog friends are rooting for you and thinking of you.
    Sending you hugs and praying for you,
    Lisca

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