Tomorrow is a really important day for me as it will be the first time since the 7th February 2012 that I haven’t had the anti-cancer ABVD chemotherapy drugs pumped into my body on a fortnightly basis and I am sooooooo looking forward to that. For six months I’ve been feeling wretched from the chemo infusion and then gradually begun to feel a bit less wretched towards the end of the two weeks only to know that the day after the whole thing will start over again. Well, tomorrow it won’t! I know it will take some time for me to start to feel normal again, to look at my nails and not see the differently coloured “chemo band” on them. I know it will take time for me to regain muscle mass and that it will also take time for me to discover whether the damage done by the drugs to my heart and lungs is significant in the way it impacts on the kind of life I hope to lead. All of this has led me to start thinking about things I want to do as my health returns. I don’t mean “do” in the sense of “I want to bring about world peace” (although that would be nice!) but on a much more prosaic and very selfish level. It’s not definitive – actually at the moment it’s much more lustful, or, perhaps, hedonistic!
- Eat a salad
- Eat a crunchy apple with juice trickling down my chin
- Have my first post-chemo haircut
- Enjoy a long walk in the park
- Concentrate for several hours
- Get my Florida driver’s licence
- Drive a car with my wife as passenger instead of chauffeur
- Get a job
- Go shopping – I really can’t believe that one but it’s true!
- Go out for a meal
- Be around people
- Have enough energy to get out of the house whenever I want to
- Stay awake for more than three or four hours
- Linger in the library when choosing books
- Participate in a cancer research fund-raiser
For three weeks I’ve been watching Le Tour de France – well the highlights anyway as my chemo-brain could cope with that level of concentration – and have been utterly amazed and impressed by the performances of Team Sky, particularly Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and Mark Cavendish. Watching world champion Cavendish playing the domestique and bottle carrier was an amazing statement about team dynamics. A clean British cycling team not only winning the Tour but also having second place is amazing. Bring on the Olympics!!
Below are some links to sites I’ve recently come across which deal with recent cancer research. Hope something here may help you.
Can aspirin help to stop cancer spreading? The answer seems to be “maybe”. Check out http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2012/03/21/aspirin-and-cancer-the-picture-becomes-clearer/
Here’s a site I haven’t previously come across which details research projects. Unfortunately a link to the cancer pages won’t work so I’m afraid you’ll need to use the search box in the top right corner to go there. I couldn’t find a way keeping both relevance and date as filters so, assuming you go for relevance you’ll have to work your way through the various pages for the bang up the minute research. http://www.research.gov/research-portal/appmanager/base/desktop;jsessionid=LdqCPtnLL1c8nwMnB3v2GJyfGHwXznMxSLxKPJTFsCV2sllmGtRW!1287126019!854248404?_nfpb=true&_windowLabel=statesAndTerritories_4&_urlType=action&statesAndTerritories_4_action=selectState&statesAndTerritories_4_id=CT
EU approval of a new lung cancer drug, Xalkori, http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/07/20/us-pfizer-europe-idUKBRE86J0OU20120720
I couldn’t find any way to shorten this title “AT13148 Is a Novel, Oral Multi-AGC Kinase Inhibitor with Potent Pharmacodynamic and Antitumor Activity” http://clincancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/early/2012/06/26/1078-0432.CCR-11-3313.abstract
Neuroblastoma and crizotinib http://www.icr.ac.uk/press/press_archive/press_releases_2012/22923.shtml
“Critically, we demonstrate that selective inhibition of the enzyme RNA polymerase I, that is responsible for synthesising the major ribosomal components, can be used to selectively kill cancer cells while leaving normal cells untouched.” http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/news/archive/cancernews/2012-07-10-Experimental-drug-activates-key-anti-cancer-mechanism
“Lung cancer discovery confirms drug target’s potential” http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/news/archive/cancernews/2012-07-12-Lung-cancer-discovery-confirms-drug-targets-potential
I’ve mentioned several times that one of my fears was that the chemotherapy would leave me nailed to the bathroom floor vomiting and I’ve thought myself very fortunate that this has not happened. Well last night it did – seven solid hours with an already empty stomach. Was it actually the chemo or just some bug as it’s now a full week since I had my last infusion? I don’t know, and, to be honest, I don’t really care, I just know that I’m glad it ended especially as I wasn’t able to swallow and keep down any medication during those hours.
Today I feel much, much better, fatigued but then that now seems to be a totally normal state of existence, just as being unable to get to sleep until dawn and then needing an afternoon nap also seems perfectly normal.
My hair is now visible! There’s still a lot of skin showing but I have every confidence that my pate will have a proper covering relatively soon, and, presumably, soon after that, the rest of my hair will start growing back in – I do miss eyelashes more than I ever thought possible!
Like most, if not all, cancer patients undergoing chemo most of my hair fell out a while ago since when it’s been growing back slowly though I still seem to have less than many a new-born babe, but, today, I got a real buzz when I was walking and could feel the air stir my hair. It’s not much is it, but, it gave me a real spring in my step after what has been a tough two weeks of fatigue.