August 29, 2012 § 1 Comment
First of all to put all this in context I have been diagnosed with Non Hodgkins Lymphoma. I have lymph nodes lighting up all sites in my body with big external lumps in my left groin – and more presenting in my right. Earlier in the year the glands in my neck were enlarged but after two needle biopsies some how managed to disappear – personally I think it is because they tried to suck them out through the needle. My cancer is rates as stage 3/4 – ie multiple locations, both sides sides of my diaphragm. I have had a bone marrow biopsy which showed some irregularities but currently (and thankfully) too small to be definitively identified as cancerous. In terms of the ‘grade’ of the illness, ie low or high grade with high grade being aggressive and curable and low grade slow growing, treatable and ‘less’ curable, my diagnosis is that I appear to have characteristics of both – follicular and large cell cancer cells. All this is to say that the treatment program is ‘aggressive’ with an all out effort to eliminate the disease. Having said all this, I am also pleased to say that the prognosis is good – in fact probably great given that when it was first suggested I had cancer the prognosis was for ‘palliative chemotherapy’. So in the scheme of things, all that I have heard since is positively positive!!!!!
So after finally having all the tests – at least 5 different needle biopsies, a core biopsy on the groin nodes and finally a surgical biopsy to remove a whole node for tissue testing – plus of course, all the other CT, PET etc scans – treatment finally kicked in this week.
HAZCHEM – that’s exactly how I feel in terms of all the drugs that have been fed into my system this week.
Here we go:
The first treatment required – over a two day period – around 9 hours of intravenous drug feeds, so pretty heavy going.
Day One was pretty good. Really didn’t feel too bad after that at all. It was just the Rituximad and thankfully I had no reactions.
Day Two was the heavy chemo stuff. I pretty much felt like I was literally ‘glowing’ from the drugs – not in terms of looking great but simply because of the toxicity of the drugs. That afternoon, not surprisingly, I felt very light and woozy in the head and quite nauseous. I love my cups of tea but to be honest couldn’t even face up to one – the thought even made me feel sick. Toast and vegimite (stable for many Aussie’s) was about all I could stomach. I went to bed with a headache but after taking some headache tablets managed to actually get a good nights sleep.
Day Three – yesterday – I woke up feeling much better than I expected. In fact started to feel like a bit of a fraud getting all this attention for being ill but actually feeling not too bad. Thankfully the day wasn’t too bad at all – just tired and a bit nauseous as the day progressed. I actually managed some rice with some spinach for dinner which tasted especially satisfying after the staple of toast the previous days. During the day I had to return to the hospital for the pregfilgrastim injection – in my stomach and which hurt like hell for some reason. I used to have a really high pain threshold but after all the biopsies I’ve had with no anaesthetic, I find I now have no tolerance for pain at all !!!!!!!!!
So today – feeling OK so far. Woke up and got up early. Thought I was hungry until it actually came to preparing breakfast – in the end toast again. I’m not complaining it’s better than nothing and its not like I’m vomiting or anything. It is just this underlying nausea that turns you off wanting to eat too much. Having said that it is something I am going to have to watch – I have already lost quite a bit of weight and can’t afford to lose anymore. In any case I have this fantastic wardrobe of clothes that I have to make sure I can still wear. It is a great collection of beautiful pieces that I have collected over time and that I have no intention of throwing out – so the goal, which is a good one, is to make sure I regain the weight to make sure I still get to wear them. I’ll tell you about my clothes another time – the one thing I have spent my money on. I love being a fashionista, mind you it is a bit of a struggle at present.
Let’s see how todays pans out………………………..stay tuned