CHEMOTHERAPY TREATMENT 4
Chemo Four! I'm half way there!
This was my last chemo on Doxorubicin the pink stuff.
These next 4 Chemo sessions i'll be on a stronger Chemo drug compared to the last, which is called Paclitaxel.
Slightly different side effects which i'll explain in Chemo 5.
Unfortunately a few days after chemo, I picked up a bug somehow and I was admitted into hospital with an infection.
MY HOSPITAL EXPERIENCE
It all started with a few sneezes and I got progressively worse as the days went on. With symptoms of a runny nose, chesty cough, teary eyes, muffled ears, but no temperature.
So my husband called my lovely McMillan Nurse for advice – she advised that we go to A&E as I could have a chest infection as I suspected.
Even if your temperature is at a normal level, you could still get an infection. Picking up an infection whilst on Chemo can be extremely serious. As Chemo is killing the white blood cells, the body isn’t then equipped to fight it.
If you are a Chemo patient, the wait at A&E is only a 10mins wait or so, as you are priority patient. Though, getting a bed isn’t that quick unfortunately.
When I was seen, they checked me up and took a large sample of bloods/blood cultures and I was immediately put on an Antibiotic intravenous drip.
Although, I really didn’t want to, I was to stay overnight to be monitored.
In all I stayed 2 nights, which was beneficial to eliminate the worst of my infection. But to endure 2 nights in Hospital whilst under chemo was extremely difficult and uncomfortable for me.
It was the first time I had ever been admitted into hospital, so it was certainly a new experience. All the nurses were fabulous and I really do admire their hard work and love for what they do. The NHS would be nothing without the Nurses!
It was difficult because of the sleepless nights, being stuck in a bed surrounded by many others with their own difficulties, in a ward filled with visitors, and just a curtain to give you privacy.
The loneliness is overwhelming, but being on chemo is lonely as it is, as no-one understands or most just can’t comprehend what your feeling or what you’re going through.
My chemo symptoms also include heightened senses, such as sensitivity to light and small noises.
In a hospital ward there is usually not much consideration for noise or quiet, due to constant visitors and nurses constantly coming in and out. The nights were very difficult as I was not able to sleep.
The first night, a poor young lady was suffering from constant seizures throughout the night and the nurses were doing their best to alleviate them, with not much success unfortunately. Hopefully she was okay.
The second night I was moved to another ward which was smaller, more compact with more patients.
I thought I’d be able to get a better sleep here, but I was mistaken. In the opposite bed, there was a much older lady, with her relative staying with her - which isn’t allowed but for some reason they let her.
She was constantly talking very loud, bearing in mind she’s only 2 metres from my bed, she may as well have been talking with me. She was talking in another language and for some reason she just kept talking for around 30mins.
I couldn’t sleep as well as the other patients, so I spoke to the Nurse and asked for ear plugs, but they didn’t offer them, I asked them if they could tell them to stop talking. As it was midnight by this point and everyone including myself was not in the best of situations.
They ended up moving her to another ward just for the night so everyone could sleep.
With so many other things on my mind also, I just couldn’t sleep for another couple of hours after that anyway. Later I found out the poor old lady opposite had dementia, so she was uncontrollable at times.
I was fully exposed in Hospital in so many ways, but to be honest I just didn’t care.
All the patients there are suffering in some way or another. I would walk around with no hat, bald and free!
Sometimes I would just stare into space. I didn’t have the energy to even look at my phone, read a magazine or even keep my eyes open.
I just slept most of the time and woke for the food and went for 1s and 2s when I needed too.
Absolutely no embarrassment, no care for my privacy or how I looked mattered to me whatsoever. All that mattered was getting better and I still feel like that now. I didn’t care who stared or who felt sorry for me, I would just smile at them and do my own thing.
Just before I was leaving, the lady in the bed next to me, a young lady similar age to me, was about to have surgery to have her gall stones removed from her gallbladder, which can be a risky operation but usually successful.
As the Surgeon left with the signed consent papers, she started to sob. My husband was there at the time too and walked passed her. He came back to me saying, she’s on her own and she’s crying. I said quickly give her tissue. He immediately gave her tissues and said to her "don’t worry you’ll be okay."
My husband came back to me, the privacy curtains were between us, and he started crying, saying she’s on her own.
We both just started crying; it was just sad that she felt like that and there was no-one there to comfort her. We're both such softies now - always crying haha.
I later came to speak to her, I sat with her and asked her if she was okay and why she was crying? She said “I’m just so scared.”
I told her “I know you’re scared, it’s very daunting going into surgery. But you are a strong young woman and you will bounce back. It’s just a phase you have to go through to come back better on the other side.” I told her my mum was 60 when she had her gallbladder removed and she was okay, “so you’ll be fine too”.
I told her to be brave and strong and that I will be praying for her. I told her that I’m also going through a phase in my life, she knew immediately I had cancer, being bald and all. She was nodding and crying and looking at me with love, it was a lovely moment, even though there was so much fear and hopeless emotions between us.
I told her I promise you, you will be fine and I kissed her forehead with watery eyes. She thanked me with such sincerity and I went away.
Its’ moments like that, where I know that love and support to anyone you can help can be priceless…