Arriving at Addenbrookes today had very much a déjà vu feel to it; firstly because I have been here so many times before and partly because this time we are staying in the palliative care hostel which is without a doubt old student flats. Twice I have been to University and so the familiarity of collecting keys and moving into a little overheated box room resonated a completely different feel from what today is really about. D and I have been given two rooms in a flat with shared toilet, shower and kitchen and only have single beds. We have hardly spent a night apart since our wedding, so two in a bed it is!
Quickly lugging our bags in, we seem to have brought a lot for sitting in a chair, but hey at least we have some things to make it more homely. Then quickly we are off to the chemo suite to get me some poison. After about twenty minutes of waiting it seems that none of the consultants have signed me off to have treatment..... It's only been a week so I guess that sums things up nicely for the NHS. Positive thoughts positive thoughts. So here I am in the food concourse eating a suitably disappointing prawn sandwich and deliberating as to whether it is a good idea to have a costa before chemo??? When we do go back to the suite, the signature has been been signed but they are not ready for me so cue more waiting and it is actually three o'clock by the time I actually sit in the high back padded chair to which I think I will become so familiar.
To explain how this works in my case I have to take some anti-emetic (that's anti-sickness) drugs in tablet form first and one takes an hour to work. More waiting. However here we hit our next little snag. Due to my condition I have high levels of steroid in my system I have requested that I skip one anti-emetic, dexamethasone, which they give in high doses for the very reason that I do not want the steroid side effects. If my sickness becomes an issue I will of course take it but I had long discussions with doctors to try without to start and they agreed. Today however I find that on my notes is written patient may refuse but should take anyway (or speak to that effect) It would seem some doctors only practice black and white rules and don't listen to me.
However eventually I have a needle in the back of my hand and a saline flush going through. After this I start my first official poison, this one is called Doxorubicin. It comes in a large syringe of red liquid that is gradually pushed through the line mixing with saline to a colour somewhat akin to Tango. Doxorubicin is the main one for hair loss so it's three weeks or so now til I get to look forward to that one!
The treatment is over relatively quickly which is just as well because our attempts at one handed anything including gin rummy are not so successful!
I have to say I feel fine so we went out for dinner; we maintain it is good to get out of the hospital as much as possible!