Weds 7 May 2014 was the day that I recommenced chemotherapy for peritoneal and pleural mesothelioma. My mind is foggy with the chemo at the moment even remembering that date I had to write it down and count backwards as I am not sure where the last 6 days have gone to!
An early start driving to Melbourne (1 hour away if no traffic) to John Fawkner Hospital for treatment and to see my oncologist Mr Allan Zimet.
Keith and I went straight to his waiting room as no blood tests were required due to having had them taken last week with the CT scans. We did not have to wait long and before I knew it we were in his rooms discussing my treatments. I asked if it would be viable to have a pet scan as well just to reconfirm results and maybe by some small chance it were a mistake the big mass that is growing in my diaphram. Unfortunately Allan smiled and showed me the Scan results again just to assure me that there was no mistake and the cancer is growing quite rapidly. We talked about the chemo Alimta/Carboplatin and what was there to gain out of having more when it wrecks my body and mind. He said SHRINKAGE - so that is good enough for me!
I am not on death's door - I will survive this chemo again!
Over to the Day Chemotherapy ward where it is like a 2nd home to me - I have journeyed with the staff over the last 10 years and we have become firm friends. Every other chemo I have had to have a Picc Line inserted due to the narrowness of my veins from all the chemo treatments. I was very surprised when it was suggested that soaking my fingers and veins in warm water and using a very fine needle just may do the trick. Bingo this worked, whereas other times it has failed dismally and the needles would just come out of my veins. So once hooked up to the intravenous machine the pre meds came thick and fast - steroids, anti nausea drugs etc, then chemo and more anti nausea and steroid drugs were pumped through my veins. After 3 hours we were able to leave the ward and return home. Straight away I needed my sunglasses as my eyes became very sensitive to sunlight. Sitting in the car while Keith drove home, my feelings felt like my head was going to explode and anxiety set in thanks to the toxic drugs.
We have had good friends staying from Tasmania until yesterday (Mother's Day) as Les came over for robotic heart surgery as in Tasmania this is not performed as open heart surgery is the only option available, and fortunately he was a accepted for the Melbourne Epworth Hospital treatment. (Keith had robotic surgery last January 2013 for prostate cancer at the same hospital with the same robotic machine). Les and myself were like ships passing in the night at home as we both were pumped up on toxic drugs and steroids making us anxious, unable to sleep and me unable to tolerate conversation, loud noises, communication including telephone and internet as I just could not focus, keep a conversation going and my head spinning. We both would be wide awake and getting up like all hours of the night like zombies so as not to disturb our partners and of course poor Charlie every time I would wake and get up - he would get a fright and think that he should get up too. So consequently every day he has been sleeping in his basket in the sun on the window and continuously yawning! He seems to have no energy - I wonder why!
Finally yesterday I started to turn the corner on day 5. Being Mother's day and with my 2 daughters having their own kids in Melbourne and interstate it is not always possible to see them on the exact day so Keith always takes me out for breakfast or morning tea. There is no way I would want to go out for lunch or dinner as the crowds are just too much for me. We took Les and Ros up to Mt Macedon (our favourite place where we live in the Macedon Ranges) to the Trading Post cafe and actually were able to sit outside due to the beautiful rays of sunshine coming through the Autumn leaves and trees. We met friends while we were there who joined us for a drink and chat. After that we visited the Mt Macedon Nursery across the road and Keith bought me a beautiful little metal bird for my windowsill. I have been collecting these little birds for about a year now and have a small collection on the outdoor ledges with the birds looking in the windows. I am not sure why I have taken a fancy to them .... . We also visited an art gallery then did a walk up the hill to a little seat where Keith and myself walk to whenever we need to - when a warrior passes, when a warrior or someone is ill and needs remembering and for myself too at the moment. A few minutes silence and just sitting there is very healing and meditating directing white light to the right people and places in life. This memorial was set up in 1985 for Ash Wednesday bush fires when Mt Macedon residents lost their lives.
I have been awake and up most of the night still with side effects of chemo. Hopefully the chemo will start to ease today. Blood tests tomorrow to see how my platelets and blood count is, then on Weds a visit to see my oncologist, if all okay then back the following Weds for further chemo.