on the chemo train

I've had the first chemotherapy session and my gosh it was tough! I was so focussed on the physical side effects that I was not prepared for the way it impacted my mental health. Going in and having the actual physical procedure of chemotherapy was ok, I felt quite calm and it was a bonus that Matt was able to come in and be with me. Again the nurses were amazing they explain things well and they keep you calm and they genuinely show that they care. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it was quite relaxed, the radio was on and other people lots older and mainly men were just getting on with their chemo, sat in the chair and doing crosswords or reading the paper. The dreaded chair was at least comfy and the nurse had to prepare my veins by soaking my arm in a bucket of warm water. The bit I wasn't looking forward to was getting the cannula in my arm, but it was fine, very gentle and just a tiny scratch.

Once in you can't feel the drugs going in, and they have to keep checking that nothing leaks out as it can cause serious tissue damage. The first drug that I have is bright red and I had 6 syringes of the stuff no wonder it wiped me out! It only took around 40 minutes to administer. The nurse talked through everything and the side effects, and they gave me an alert card and thermometer because the risk of infection is high any signs of high temp or flu like symptons need to be reported straight away.

When I came out I was glad the first one was done and was feeling quite good. By the time I got home and had a cup of tea I had a headache and had to go straight to bed, niavely thinking that would help and I would wake up later on feeling fresh and ready to eat an evening meal. I woke up at 9pm feeling sick and vomited. Your provided with so much anti-sickness medication it's crazy so I didn't expect to be sick. Then I woke up around 2am (which happened for 3/4 nights in a row thanks to steriods) and I vomited again and everything right from my diagnosis was running around my head. By the time I finally woke the next day I was exhausted. I managed to force down half my breakfast just enough to guzzle down my next lot of anti-sickness tablets that I desperately wanted to get rid of the nausea that didn't seem to be easing.

It's a weird feeling a cross between early pregnancy nausea and the most horrendous hangover, but each day I was getting my nausea under control and managing to eat little and often and of course sleeping when I needed to. By day 3 I thought I was feeling better and managed to spend some time sitting in the garden, but soon my mood hit a low point and I couldn't shake this feeling of anxiety. I was so paranoid at getting an infection that I kept and eye on my temperature constantly and did end up seeing the out of hours GP as I had a heavy chest and couldn’t take a deep breath, which was down to feeling anxious. It’s really hard to try and rest when your mind is racing full of thoughts, I was only just realising the extent of what I was going through. Each day I felt a bit better and tried to get outside for fresh air and walks whilst trying to focus on mindfulness and breathing. By a week later I was feeling pretty much back to myself and in a more positive state of mind. I know I’ll be ready for the next one now and just got to keep going! There is an end in sight.

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