3 DOWN – 3 TO GO!!!
I had my third dose of FEC chemo today, at my local hospital which will be my last visit there. The next 3 doses are a different drug called Tax, which is stronger and there’s a greater risk of side effects as they give it to you, so I have to go to a different specialist Cancer Unit for that. I felt emotional about leaving the safe, familiarity of my local chemo unit – I am wondering how the next 3 doses will go and whether the staff will be as friendly, helpful and reassuring as those I have already experienced – let’s hope so!
This dose went well, the only slight hiccup was the veins in my hand are bruised from a previous blood test, so for a while the nurse wasn’t sure where she could administer the drugs, but she found a small vein and with the help of lots of heat pads, the drugs went in smoothly and relatively pain free. I’m learning something new all the time – must make sure all future blood tests are taken from my arm, well away from my hand. Sounds obvious now but it’s easy to just assume all the nurses know exactly what you are going through and would think of these things, but they don’t.
My top tips for receiving your poison, as comfortably as possible are:
· Drink plenty of water the day before and that morning;
· Wear warm layers of clothing – your veins respond better if you are warm and hydrated;
· Make sure you do a last minute wee just before the drugs go in – it can take a while for them all to be administered;
· Suck on an ice pop or similar, it should help to minimize any sore mouth problems after;
· Try the cold cap for your first session – even if you only wear it once, as I did, you can say you gave it a go. I’m not bald yet and I am sure that wearing it that one time has enabled me to hang on to my hair for longer.
Talking about the hair – everyone is different but if you are going to try the cold cap, I would highly recommend getting yours cut into a short elfin style BEFORE you start treatment. I say this because I experienced considerable hair thinning just before my 2nd dose, which lead to me getting it shaved. My hair was in a chin length bob before and as it thinned it gave the impression of losing LOTS of hair, however since shaving my hair and stopping with the cold cap, the hair loss has slowed down, so maybe I was a bit hasty. If you get your hair cut short in the first place, this will help the cold cap do its job better, make your hair easier to look after and any thinning you do get will not look quite as dramatic if its shorter. Thus avoiding any knee jerk reactions like shaving your head!
I am happy with my new look but in hindsight I think doing the above would have worked better for me.
Heard some excellent news today!! I don’t read the papers but I hear there has been a major breakthrough in Breast Cancer research. The future looks brighter for people like me – read here for more info.