Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Final chemo clinic - done

Today was the last pre-chemo clinic and blood test I will have to do. I am so relieved, and keep crying as a result!

My bloods were super-high (9 point something, which is due to the neulasta) and Dr Iqbal said I had done really well. I've got through all 8 treatments without any delays, and only one 'scare' and I have carried on going to work throughout. I think that is pretty good. So far, I will have clocked up only about 6 days off due to feeling unwell post-chemo. I know it isn't a competition, but I am still pleased my body helped me through so well.

I now know that my radiotherapy planning will be done on 1st April and I will start taking Tamoxifen on that day too.

The radiotherapy planning is where you are measured up and tattooed prior to the actually radiotherapy starting. I forgot to ask when it would actually start (doh!) but I can ask that next week. The tattoos, as far as I am aware, are like a freckle, so they are noticeable but hopefully not obtrusive. This ensures that they zap you in the exact right place everytime and it is much quicker in and out for each appointment. The treatments were confirmed as being just 15 (every week day for 3 weeks), so that is great. I've been reading about people going through this, and many seem to feel tired towards the end or just afterwards, and/or get a slight 'sunburn' to the area being treated. Many come through it without any side effects worth mentioning and work and drive all the way through. Of course, the latter is what I am hoping for.

Tamoxifen seems to give people the same side effects that I am already getting from the Zoladex - hot flushes, dryness, periods stop, tummy weight gain - so I am hoping it won't make a lot of difference to me. As I say, I already have all of that and am coping!

The most annoying thing today was that I was all ready to go to a meeting down at Frenchay this afternoon, and because clinic was running behind and I had to collect my steroids from the pharmacy I was running late. So I called work to let them know, and found that the meeting was actually held this morning! Whoops! Not sure if I had missed an update, or if I hadn't been told! I wouldn't have been able to go this morning, so it is just as well I phoned in as I have saved myself a trip to Bristol in the rain. The only problem is, I am now supposed to be working from home and my head is simply not in the right place to do it. But then, last month (ignoring days off sick or on holiday), I managed to clock in 10 hours above and beyond what I have to do, so if today is a bit of a write-off, I don't think it matters immensely.

Dr Iqbal wanted me to have the radiotherapy planning this Thursday, but I have arranged for 'Focus Groups' with staff and students at the college, to find out what they think of the library service, so I really didn't want to have to cancel that or leave it to the rest of the team to deliver, so he reluctantly agreed that next week would be fine. I seriously had not been expecting him to give me an appointment for 2 days time, so he caught me off guard!!

Next week, I am on holiday - including this friday and this weekend, it will be a total of 12 days off work, so I am looking forward to that and am happy to fit any appointments in then! I know I will feel a bit rubbish for some of it, but I won't be thinking or worrying about work at all, and I do need a break from that. Even I can acknowledge that!

You'll also be pleased to know that I am feeling much brighter than I was the other day. Diet changes are already having an impact, I am certain. Although I am struggling to get off to sleep, but that is mainly because I am anticipating Friday's chemo - this seems to happen quite often during the week before chemo.

Oh, and my hair is probably a couple of centimetres long now! It sounds a lot, but it is still far too thin (especially on the very top and front) to be on display out and about, but it is nice and soft and after this chemo, will hopefully come back in earnest. Just in time for summer sunshine, we hope!!!

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