Thursday, December 26, 2013

Best pressie santa could bring us

Christmas this year has been spent lounging around in hospital. I observed to my own personal reindeer (Saint Mike) that this was a rather extreme way of ensuring a stress-free Christmas Day!

What has been absent this year due to my planned admission for blessed relief from craptastic chemo nausea you ask?

- No psycho mummy attempting to create a feast worthy of Martha Stewart
- No control enthusiast mummy attempting to orchestrate setting of table to match feast worth of Martha
- No control enthusiast mummy cracking the complete shits because no one can get their arses enthusiastically to the table to enjoy (and provide positive reinforcement) for said feast worthy of Martha

Ahhhhhhhhh can you hear Saint Mike's sigh of relief?

Instead I came into hospital on Sunday and have remained cocooned in what is a very quiet hospital over the Christmas break. Coming to it with very low expectations it has been blessedly stress free for me too. Oh aside from the cough I've picked up from a rather over enthusiastic air conditioning vent above my bed:)

I decided not to set daddy any hurdles to jump over and left alone he has hit all the right room gets the prize for the most festive in the hospital (according to every staff member that crosses the doorstep).

The girls brought their bean bags and lay about to watch the Carols (Melbourne/Channel 9 version!!!)

I awoke on Christmas morning with a suitable burst of energy and had a wonderful visit with my little elves and stubbly reindeer. I opened my presents and didn't once have to adopt the dreaded "present receiving face"! I was just so grateful to be with my gorgeous little family and be able to share such special time with them.

Having unwrapped my gifts I gave my KATs the best pressie they could ever receive (I hoped). The news that this hospital visit spells the end of my downward trip resulting from craptastic chemo. After six tortuous cycles my oncologist has decided that I can forego cycle 7!!!!! No more FECking FEC for me:)

There were tears all round from Oldest KAT, Middle KAT and me. Saint Mike and Littlest KAT stayed composed. The relief in my beautiful girls eyes was palpable.

Truly the best pressie ever - a mummy that will start to get better in the New Year.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Catching up

Catching up. Chasing my tail. Staying afloat. Pretty much sums up what it feels like to be going through each three week craptastic chemo cycle.

Chemo day seems to be rolling around faster and faster. Recollections of merry-go-rounds. No sooner have you swung your head around to keep sight of the parent (or some other random landmark) than you've been whipped around again. The cycles seemingly getting faster and faster and everything a blur in between.

My last hospital stay was a blessed relief. The cyclozine is truly my miracle drug. It effectively alleviates the nausea as long as I can get my two daily injections. Unfortunately once I'm home again the dreaded nausea returns.

The cycle goes something like this:
Day 1 is Craptastic chemo day. The me that presents at the chemo cottage is chirpy and bright. Like a bird in the wild my camoflauge of choice is usually some sort of bright ensemble matched with equally bright accessories (earrings are my thing). In the course of the 2.5hr infusion of my FEC cocktail I am transformed into a weakened version of the me that arrived. If my colours could reflect the internal tranformation they would be faded and grey by the time the last fluids have dripped slowly into my arm. I am chauffered home by my most constand companion (Saint Mike) and it's straight into bed for blessed sleep.

Day 2 is the calm before the storm. The Emend drug does it's thang, keeping the nausea well and truly at bay. 24hrs post infusion I give myself a jab of Neulasta which is the veritable bugle call for my white blood cells to rally. I've been told I'm being remarkably nonplussed by the need to inject myself with this drug throughout chemo but I find it's really the least of my concerns. I channel my innter orange and just jab it in. It's only a temporary affliction...diabetics have it a lot worse if they have inject themselves daily or more!!

Day 3 is when the nausea tide begins to lap at the shore. The effectiveness of the Emend drug used to last until day 4 but last cycle I was dry retching by midday on Day 3 (Sunday) and it's only with a midday dose of Dex (my friend who associates with Speed) that I can get through the day. This last cycle I busied myself with some obsessive-compulsive Christmas decorating.

Day 4 it was off to hospital. The cocoon-like nature of my hospital room. The frequent "observations" by the nurses and drugs and fluids being pumped in via my other constant companion (jthe drip!).

Day 8 I bid farewell to my last Cyclozine injection and whilst the thought of being at home is attractive because I am around my favourite people in the entire's also anxiety-laden as the nausea begins to lap around my toes once more and before the weekend (Day 10) is out I am back to waist deep in a tide of nausea that although doesn't submerge me certainly makes for an unpleasant week ahead as I try and keep it at from submerging me.

Day 14 is when I start to get some semblence of normality back. Unfortunately "normal" at this point still feels like your worst sensations of chronic fatigue syndrome. Daily routine is nirvana but a struggle. This cycle it coincided with the school graduation mass and I was determined to do my "bit" with the catering and entertaining the lovely families who are departing the school this year. It was also my chance to catch up with my support crew of lovely mums who have been such a help and cheer squad.

I may perhaps have overdone things and according to Saint Mike I overstayed by about an hour. Shortness of breath, heart palpatations and dizziness accompanied my attempt to exit and I had to be helped to the car by a none-too pleased husband! It was worth it! I had a great night:)

I'm now typing away on the morning of Day 20. I've been up since 3:30am. Sleep is not my friend at present. Fingers of sunlight are starting to creep up from the horizon and the kookaburras have commenced their morning conversation. Today is blood test day to check my levels in anticipation of starting a new cycle tomorrow on Day 21.

It's a wild ride!
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