Saturday, March 9, 2013

Chemo kicking my ass - part 1

Chemo has dropped me from a height and I've quickly discovered that I don't bounce.


Having the treatment was very relaxed and straightforward. Four hours sitting in a comfy chair, listening to music & audiobooks and chatting to nurses. I felt fine the whole time.

I came home a little rosie cheeked but felt was about an hour later that the nausea kicked in and kicked in hard.

THE FALLOUT: First week post treatment

THURSDAY: I went back to oncology for my Neulasta injection feeling really wretched after all night vomiting. The nurses took one look at me, popped me on a bed and hooked me up to fluids and IV ondansetron for an hour. I felt a bit brighter after that, had my injection and headed home with some sleeping pills in hand to help me through the next couple of days.

FRIDAY: The sleeping pills knocked me out and I have no recollection of Friday at all.

SATURDAY: The nausea & vomiting ramped back up again. I went up to our local emergency room late in the afternoon and they hooked me up for more fluids and ondansetron for nine hours. Poor hubby had to bundle our two sleepy boys into the car at 2am to bring me home. They fell back easily into deep slumber while I lay on the couch in the lounge feeling miserable.

SUNDAY: Just two hours after getting home my entire body began aching with bone pain. It was excruciating and I spent several hours moving about trying to ease it with no success. By mid morning I was shivering, vomiting and barely able to walk so Hubby took me to the Canberra ER. They admitted me fairly quickly but I fell into a sobbing heap on the floor as I hobbled through triage. The pain was unbearable. They got me onto a bed and pumped me with painkillers, more fluids and ondansetron. I couldn't stop shaking from the pain. The afternoon ER staff as best they could, tried to ease the pain & nausea. They ruled out an infection and my white cells weren't dangerously low. After four hours and a call to oncology they told me that the pain was a side effect from the Neulasta injection (which causes the body to make more bone marrow) and they were sending me up to the Oncology ward for the night. About 6pm the ward clerk got me to sign the paperwork to go upstairs and then the wait began.

At 6am there was still no bed for me in oncology and I had reached my limit. After 17hrs in that emergency room my stress levels were through the roof and the proverbial 'straw' that broke my back was when a maintenance man started painting the wall directly opposite my bed. The horrible nurse I'd put up with from midnight didn't seem to think that paint fumes were an issue. I gawped at her incredulously then felt real rage. I had been through enough! I was still in agony, still vomiting, hadn't slept, was alone, was afraid and felt completely unsupported. I told the nurse that I was going home and her response was a shrug of her shoulders and a curt "fine". The doctor ran up and told me that I should stay, she seemed surprised that I was upset. She asked me why I was still in pain and in disgust I told her to look at my notes since she hadn't a clue. The nurse demanded that I let her remove my cannula and then I hobbled out of the ER with tears streaming down my face.

It felt like I'd been put into a dinky row boat and set out to sea with no oars.

Hubby came and took me home and I spent the next two days feeling utterly wretched, bedridden and very reluctant to continue with chemo.


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