So – back to the UK and to more chemotherapy. I have to say that I am getting used to it, and think I have been lucky to escape most of the worst of the side-effects that come with it – though I do have some homeopathic tablets which certainly help alleviate the symptoms.
In general I seem to find that the day after the chemo I am pretty well okay, then start to experience some problems the following day. Then I have a couple or three days of feeling rubbish, though not as bad as I feared. Then (so far – thank you God) the symptoms abate and I am reasonably okay through to the next lot. All of which – I have to say – is far better than I imagined it would be.
I have now had my fourth of a course of six treatments and though I was scheduled for a scan after the first three, for some reason though everything was booked up my scan was not until after the fourth treatment had been given.
Before each ‘infusion’ of chemicals they check your blood and also you get to see a doctor who asks how you are feeling, and what symptoms you have had since the last chemo – I think they then use this information to prescribe the next treatment. Each time I have seen a different doctor – some very caring and sympathetic, and some rather cavalier. This time I had a lovely young oriental doctor who was very caring and concerned.
I said how much better I had felt over the last few weeks and months. I was not longer in pain, and had completely stopped the painkillers I had been on. As well as talking to me he gave me a through external examination and declared he could no longer feel the largest of the secondary growths, which apparently had been easily palpable below my ribcage.
My fourth treatment went as well as the others had, and the scan was duly booked, though for Kidderminster rather than Worcester.
On the day I felt well enough to drive myself over, and having had this type of scan several times now knew what to expect – at least I thought I did.
The hospital was quite a small one, which was good, so only a short walk from the carpark to the reception, then only a short way along the corridors to the treatment area. The staff, as the ones in the chemo ward in Worcester, were friendly and welcoming and after a little wait I was having the port fitted for dye which is injected during the scan.
As usual I was asked to lie down with my hands stretched out behind my head. Now those who have followed my blog from the beginning might remember the entry entitled “My Wonky Arm” ( http://www.theworldismylobster.org.uk/39-my-wonky-arm/4582336874 )
My right arm is not happy when stretched and turned, and of course that is exactly how it had to be on the scanner bed, but I tried not to think about this and lay there with my eyes closed.
Normally when the scan is running they talk to you through a loudspeaker in the machine, explaining what is about to happen and asking if you are okay, and every other time I have felt reasonably happy, and not had to reply, or maybe just grunt a ‘fine thanks’- but this time when they wanted to know if I was okay I replied ‘No – I need to move my arm’. Now whether they just assume you are okay, or, if, as I have been told, I have a quiet voice, I am not sure, but they just carried on, and I just carried on lying there. A bit of whizzing and whirring as the machine went backwards and forwards, and once more I was asked if I was okay, and once again I replied I needed to move my arm. Once more no reply, and I stayed still.
Eventually the machine seemed to stop and the disembodied voice told my the scan was finished. Now I am not keen on the scans, so have found the best way to tackle it is to keep my eyes firmly closed from the beginning to the end, so having been told it was over I simply thought – thank goodness for that and tried to bring my arm down, but for some reason I was not fully outside the machine, so my arm jammed halfway up and halfway down – just about the worst possible position. The pain was excruciating, and I involuntarily yelled out. I just couldn’t get my arm to straighten. The three nurses in the control room rushed out, with me wailing ‘Get me out of here’
Eventually I could sit up and straighten my arm and the pain eased off, but I did feel sorry for the patients waiting outside as they must have heard my screaming and shouting “Get me out of here” not conducive to a first experience of a scan.
But …… when I went to receive the results it was GOOD NEWS all the way! The oncologist in charge saw me in person, and could hardly keep the smile off his face as he explained that of the four secondary growths around my abdomen three of them, including the largest had completely disappeared, and the remaining one could now be considered ‘inconsequential’. Plus the primary problem involving the lining of my uterus had improved to such an extent that the surgeon in charge of my case had said she would consider operating in the new year after my final chemo treatment. Something which had been off the cards since the very first diagnosis.
So GOOD NEWS all round. Thank you God.