Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Steroid heaven, here we come

Sorry I haven't updated for a while - there simply hasn't been anything interesting going on, and I couldn't be bothered!!

So what has been happening? We had the snow like everyone else. It started on Tuesday 7th and the College was closed at about 1.30pm that day, so we all scooted off home. Well, I say home, but actually I got a lift into Gloucester and stayed with Greg at his office until about 4pm. The heavy snow had stopped for a while, but the roads were busy with people leaving work early, so it paid to leave it a while as there was very little traffic when we did leave. There was a bit of snow on the roads going home, but completely clear by the time we hit the M50. But it did snow overnight, so College was closed again and we all had a 'snow day' at home!!

I was cruel boss though, and asked the team to come in the next day, even though the car was telling us it was -13 degrees!! 4 of the team didn't make it in, but were happy to take it as holiday and we had enough staff to open up. There was some confusion for the following few days, as the College opened up for exams and staff, but was closed for teaching/classes for the further education students. The University's website considered this meant we were closed, so put that on its pages! We weren't! We were there!!! In fact, I worked on the sunday to keep things open for the poor students doing last minute revision!!

The excitement nearly started again the following wednesday with a further overnight flurry, but we all made it in OK - Greg and I took a detour up the M50, down the M5 and through Gloucester as the A417 through Corse and the road via Newent were blocked with cars and lorries that had slid in the snow, but we got there!

We made a start on sorting out Greg's house by ordering a new kitchen from B&Q. Should arrive in about 3 weeks time, so he can get started taking the old one out and organising central heating in the meantime.

I had my last Zoladex injection on Wednesday last week, given by the GP, and she asked me to check a couple of things with the oncologist and was very understanding. She (Dr Chen) was the GP who first took a look at my lump and referred me, and who I initially spoke to when we were thinking about starting a family. She specialises in women's health so was particularly interested to see me. Next day, I saw the nurse to have my second swine flu jab. Between the two of them, and the continuation of hot flushes (which are becoming sweatier) I didn't feel so great on Thursday evening last week, but it passed and I was well enough to go to work as usual!

This weekend just gone saw us do a marathon journey to Edinburgh and back. Why, you might ask? Why not, we would respond. I didn't want another weekend doing nothing, so wanted to go somewhere. Greg wanted to take photos of the Forth Rail Bridge, so we went there.

Booked a Travelodge on the Friday, set off at 8am on Saturday and I drove as far as Lancaster. Greg then took over. We arrived about 3pm, and then spent bluddy ages trying to find the hotel. We went past it at least twice before we spotted it - a narrow doorway between the shops! A few drinks out that evening, me passing out on the hotel bed, and then off again in the morning. Greg treated himself to a tripod for his camera, then off to the Forth, then home via Loch Lomond and Glasgow.

Greg did all the driving on the way home - his choice, he gets bored as a passenger unless he is sleeping - and after a detour to Kendal for a chinese takeaway, we arrived home at 11pm. Sorted! Found that the river Wye is probably the highest we have ever seen it, due to all the snow melting off the Welsh hills!!!

So this week, today in fact, I have been for my usual pre-chemo clinic, and my bloods are nice and high at 2.8 on the neutrophil count (that'll be the neulasta injection then!!) so we're all set for the first of the Taxoteres. I have been warned that the side effects may be worse - there is less nausea (but I didn't have any before anyway), more aches and pains (which I can take ibuprofen for), possible diahorrea (is that better than constipation, I'm not sure!), and heartburn. I have to take FOUR steroids TWICE a day from Thursday until Saturday so I have also been given sleeping tablets. It makes sense - my sleeping pattern was disturbed on TWO tablets ONCE a day, so I am not surprised to hear I may need medication to help sleep this time around. I didn't ask for it, but they give you these things just in case.

I have an additional 2 appointments to add to my diary: the first two herceptin treatments need to be given separately from chemo, which hadn't been explained before. The first will be given a couple of days before my chemo, on 10th Feb, at Velindre, as they have to give it more slowly to check your reaction to it and allow your body to get used to it. It will take 5-7 hours!!!! The second will be on 3rd March, again at Velindre, and will take 3-5 hours. The third is given at the same time as the Taxotere at Nevill Hall. I'll be all done on these by February 2011!!

Oh, and back to the questions my GP asked - I can now have a 3-monthly injection for the Zoladex, according to Dr Iqbal; I'll be on the Zoladex for another 2-3 years; and yes, my blood pressure is a bit higher than my normal, but not so high to need any treatment. It was 130/98 at the doctors last week, 141/90 today and my normal is about 110/70. The steroids can affect it apparently.

Will report back on Friday folks. Love ya xxx

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