Monthly Archives: May 2012

More problems than cancer?

I saw my oncologist, Dr Tache, yesterday and described my symptoms to him. He listens, and it’s obvious he does, and that’s good. When I was telling him that there had been two or three days when the roof of my mouth, much of my tongue and the top of my throat had all been numb, his ears really, really, picked up and he commented “I’d have sent you to the hospital.” It seems these symptoms might be indicative of my having had a stroke. They aren’t symptoms I’ve ever heard of in connection with a stroke and I’d just put them down to side effects of the chemo and/or the neulasta which, of course, boosts my white blood cell count but can be quite painful, this time causing pain from my pelvis to my knees for three or four days. Had I had trouble with my speech, with my vision, crushing pain in my chest or my arm or even a sudden urge to void my bowels then yes, I’d have associated all of those things with a heart attack, but not the numbness in my mouth and throat which in many ways seemed just to be an extension of the varying patterns of numbness I’ve been experiencing on my tongue ever since I started the ABVD chemo to rid my body of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Anyway, although we went ahead with the chemo yesterday, Dr Tache is concerned and wants me to have a variety of scans and specialist reports to make sure my heart, brain and lungs are all functioning as they should be which is all fine and dandy, just as it should be, but, of course, some of them must first be approved by my insurer, so, who knows whether or not Dr Tache will get to know what he wants to know and whether or not he will be able to make an informed opinion as to how we continue my treatment.

We all had a great time with my daughter who had an absolutely nightmare trip over here. She’d booked her flight with US Airways from Manchester in England which meant a drive of about 100 miles from her home in the West Midlands. When I went to bed the night before her flight the flight had been put back, but, when she arrived at the check in at around 8 a.m., she discovered that the flight had actually been cancelled. The best US Airways could offer was a flight on the Sunday, two days later. Not a lot of good when you fly home two days after that. Now, I know nothing about US Airways reliability but this site http://www.euclaim.co.uk/us-airways-flight-delays seems to show that the Manchester – Philadelphia flight was cancelled three times in seven days which hardly sounds good does it? Anyway thanks to the efforts of her husband and British Airways my daughter managed to book on a BA flight from Manchester to Heathrow and then on to Miami, finally arriving at her hotel some 21 hours after she left home that morning. I think her journey was worth it. Will she ever again try to fly US Airlways? I doubt it.

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Filed under Cancer, chemo, chemotherapy, Dr Jason Tache, Neulasta, Stroke, US Airways, White blood cells

Knackered

It’s a while since I posted for the very simple reason that I’ve been totally knackered. Usually each half cycle ends with my having three or four or even five good days: the number of good days has dropped steadily the further I’ve gone into chemo to the point where at the end of the last half cycle I had none. Was I happy? I don’t know as I really didn’t have the energy to think much about it.

Sleep seemed to be totally elusive and I was back to the sleep an hour try to sleep for three hours then sleep again for an hour and so on. Peak time for being awake was between 2 a.m. and 4.30 a.m. which wasn’t a lot of fun. Throw in a fair amount of stomach pain and you will understand why I’ve not been blogging.

My eldest daughter had given me the excellent news that she was flying into Florida from the UK for my birthday and I was really worried that if things continued as they had I would be unable to spend any quality time with her at all. The day before my daughter was due to arrive I felt really wretched. On the day she actually arrived I felt merely awful ut between then and now I’ve been OK, so, four good days. The visit has been an excellent boost for my morale and I hope to keep that raised after she departs today.

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Filed under Cancer, chemo

Some cancer research

I thought people might find these articles of interest:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-18007789

and

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-17905601

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Three more months

I seem to have been living in some kind of a daze these past few weeks. I guess the chemo is starting to take a bigger toll on my energies – it’s certainly starting to take a toll on my waistline, though that’s probably not a bad thing in the long run!

It’s now just over a week since I got the good newws from my oncologist, Dr Tache, that my CAT scan results were “good”. I had to ask what “good” meant! It turns out that, as far as they can tell from the scan my Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is gone, but, as “we don’t have a Star Trek scanner” we need to continue the chemo for another three cycles. It is good news. I know it’s good news and yet, the continuing of the chemo feels like a continuation of the gaol sentence as, from the outset I was told I would be cured. When I knew the chemo was working on the cancer itself there was a fair trade off between the fatigue, the queasiness, the need to not mix with people, the limitations on where I could go, the lack of employment and cash on the one hand and the expectation of good health and a long life on the other, but, if the lymphoma is gone then there is now really nothing for me to set those things off against and in a way that is an unexpected blow to my morale. When I knew the chemo was attacking the cancer as well as my body then I understood why I walked along the street like some kind of nonogenarian penguin who, having, spent their entire life at sea has landed in port, got totally rat-arsed and lost their walking frame to boot, but now when I walk that way I don’t really understand why. I know, intellectually, that it is to make sure the whole cancer is totally eradicated from my body, that there’s nothing lurking somewhere awaiting an opportunity to leap out and scream “I’m back and this time I’m not going away!!!”, but that’s not the same thing as an emotional understanding is it? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not full of self-pity over my plight – I’ve read enough blogs over which I’ve shed many tears to know how very fortunate I am – but I’m ready for moving on and I think that, emotionally, I need something which shows that I am doing.

When I started to lose weight I thought to myself, “This is ok, I could do with shedding a pound or twenty” and I had this image in my own mind that the physical me of, say, ten years might start to emerge, but, as I look in the mirror, the me I see starting to emerge is the me of fifteen to twenty years in the future and that’s a scary thought – actually it’s also a scary image but we won’t go there! I think, though, that this image of the future is something to which I am able to attach a resolution which is to improve my physical condition, to work my body while I still can, to restore muscle tone and shape rather than looking like the proverbial bag of spuds, but, again, it’s something which I want to start doing now and yet I know I don’t have the wherewithal to do it yet, or rather I know that if I do try then there will be a loss of energy for the next few days. As I only feel to have energy for three or four days out of the fourteen day half-cycle that’s not really a good swap is it?

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Filed under Cancer, chemo, chemotherapy, Dr Jason Tache, fatigue, Hodgkins Lymphoma