So it’s been a week since my last post, the perfect time for an update!
I previously mentioned feeling side effects to the chemo, namely fatigue, tingly fingertips and a tired jaw/teeth. These were all seemingly minor in my eyes but I was advised to give the hospital a ring just in case. I rang the switchboard number (since it was a Saturday), and was transferred through to one of the oncology nurses. She conferred with the doctor and thought that I should come in to take a blood test. Amongst other things, the blood test would show if the electrolytes in my system could be out of balance.
Although the tinglyness is a known side effect, I was told that this was slightly rare with the current treatment that I’m on (AVD Chemotherapy). And so I went to the hospital the same day, was taken to a nice waiting area with recliner seats (I do love anything that reclines to be honest) and had my observations and bloods taken. Simple as that.
The hardest part of the experience was having a coffee machine in the room but not having a clue on how to actually use it. As I sat there waiting for my results over the next few hours, I couldn’t help but feel it’s judgmental and taunting stare. If I don’t return to that room and drink a cappuccino, I know I’ll never have closure.
One cheese sandwich, a cup of tea and a few hours later, the doctor finally arrived. He did his own tests before telling me that my bloods were all fine. He advised me to mention these side effects at my next oncology meeting, but he was confident that I could return home. I too shared his view, and not just because I knew there was a chicken burger meal waiting for me on my return.
Fast forward to Thursday, and I again visited the hospital, but this time for a planned meeting with the Haematologist. He was pretty pleased to see that I’d been doing fine, minus the side effects I’ve already mentioned a couple hundred times. He wasn’t worried about these, but did say to keep an eye on the tingliness (which is still here) in case it gets worse. Apparently the feeling should go away once chemo ends, but there’s always a chance that it may not. If this looks to be the case then some of the drugs can be altered slightly as we proceed, which is quite reassuring.
He had further reassurances to give, as he explained that patients tend to find the first and second chemo sessions the hardest. People who start off well, he explained, have been known to feel that way (relatively speaking of course) throughout. Fingers crossed I’m in that category, though he did add that the fatigue will probably worsen.
He confirmed that the second chemo will be going ahead as planned on Tuesday next week, and also that I’d have a PET scan after my fourth dose (and second cycle) to review the progress. For those that are interested, he also told me that it’d be fine to have a flu jab, but advised that I get the booster or 3rd covid vaccine after the chemo is over. He explained that, whilst I could get the jabs now, they wouldn’t be as effective due to the chemotherapy suppressing my immune system.
Even without having any scans, I’m feeling very confident at this stage. I’m super thankful that I haven’t experienced any nausea or fevers so far, and I’m eating and drinking as if I’m completely well. What’s more; the lump by my collarbone, which has been living there rent-free since June, has also vanished. I didn’t even get to say goodbye.
And finally! For those that read my last post, I’m pleased to update you on the fact that my post-hospital-holiday blues have vanished along with the lump in my neck. I’m back to being completely fine at home, and getting way too used to my unhealthy routine of sleeping at 6am every night.
Roll on Tuesday, and roll on next week.