All entries for September 2006
September 21, 2006
What is really strange is that there seem to be good days and bad days with the chemotherapy. Tuesday was a brilliant day. I seemed to have a lot of energy and was baking and cleaning. Very domesticated! Went to the gym and went swimming. Felt really good after that. Does not sound much, but it took up most of the day. Felt great and was thinking futures. Sometimes it is difficult to know what to do for the best. I do sometimes wonder how I managed to work at all – my brain is somewhere in my boots half the time.
It can get quite lonely at home, although I have lots of good friends who come and see me. The curse of the professional woman is that friends are too, so during the day it is difficult to meet up.
Wednesday was a really own day. I felt dperessed all day. I am not sure why, although it might be to do with stress. The littlest things going not quite to plan seem to become overly important. It might be chemical, I don’t know what effect the drugs have. All I know is I was glad the day ended. Nothing seemed to go right and I had no energy. Probably overdid it on tuesday. Maybe I need to learn to pace myself better: always been a problem.
Today, I am fine again. I did sleep better which may have helped. Starting to be optimistic again and get a few things done.
September 18, 2006
I was being a bit optimistic when I wrote the last entry. After that it was all downhill. While I did not have the agony of the first time, my legs and arms ached as if I had a very bad dose of flu. By wednesday I could not do a thing. Everything was hard work, I did a lot of sleeping, which was probably a good thing to do. I could not eat much. I ended up with the good old comfort food of Heinz tomato soup, not something I would normally eat. I found it impossible to do the juicing I have to do every day. I know it is good for me to have the juice (raw carrots, beetroot, celery and watercress) but it was just too much to do. It was a measure of how bad I felt that I did not add anything to this blog which is the reason for the great gap.
The good thing is that by thursday afternoon I was starting to feel better, particularly after being able to meet a friend for coffee sitting in the sun. Still tired, came home and flopped on the sofa. Getting to play some really restful music which helps me relax. I enjoy listening to lieder and medieval music, makes me feel good. My energy was still down on friday. I had Qi therapy which works on helping the energy flow within the body. It is very relaxing, but I think my energy was so low I was not responding as well as usual. It took acupuncture on saturday to help the flow. I really feel a lot more energetic now. It is quite an amazing change.
Got to go to the cinema to see The Wind that Shakes the Barley. A film that everyone should see. It is not just about the narrow context of the Irish Civil War, but it demonstrates the wider issues of revolution, pragmatism and idealism. A brilliant experience. Even got to the gym on sunday, although that might have been taking things bit far. I have to be careful to conserve my energy and I may have overdone it.
But I am getting better all the time. I will be fine over the next couple of weeks, I am sure. Although the round of blood tests starts again.
September 11, 2006
Friday was another long day, having my chemotherapy. We did not start until nearly 10.00am with all the pre-med stuff. Lots of anti nausea infusions and then Piriton to prevent adverse reactions to the Herceptin. My blood pressure went up rather high while this was going on. Not sure of the reasons, it did start to come down to a more acceptable level. The nurses wanted a doctor’s view, but he seemed to think everything was OK. However, it slowed the process down rather. Then it was 3 hours for the paclitaxel. I thought it would be a bit shorter, but I was wrong about it. Finally left the hospital about 6.15 in the evening. Quite tired after what was a long day. However, it all seemed to go well.
I have had no nausea. My legs are not hurting. The Gabapentin is doing the trick there. Just a bit tired, although that should wear off in the next couple of days. Starting to get the pins and needles feeling in my hands and feet. I can put up with that particularly as I have a good massage oil which contains lavender and St Johns Wort.
It is a bit of an effort to do things. I am reading a lot of light books, particularly detectives. I read Andrea Levy’s “Small Island” which is an excellent analysis of attitudes to Caribean migrants in the early 1950s. I found it really stimulating. You can see the ideas refected in all the migrant waves. We need to be more welcoming society.
September 07, 2006
Got the good news this morning. My white blood cell count is back to normal so I can have my second dose of chemotherapy tomorrow. I was getting a bit worried as it was taking so long to get back to normal.
It is starting to be pin cushion time again. The number of blood tests is going up again. At least the last two times the nurses have managed to find a vein. Often they can’t and I end up with bruises in both my hand and my arm. They are going to monitor me more closely to see the response to this chemo. If I still have problems they will reduce the dose to try to get everything onto a three week cycle.
I still find it dificult to think there is a problem as I am feeling really well. Everyone says I look good, even my hair. I have the most amazing wig that is really stylish, it looks quite real, which is great.
I guess next week will be fairly quiet while I get over the worst effects. I hope the capsules I have been given will mean that my legs don’t hurt so much. I am not quite sure what to expect with the tingling in my hands and feet.
At least it is two down and four to go!
September 05, 2006
I have been really disappointed with the Labour government. I was a Labour Party activist from about thirteen years old until Tony Blair invaded Iraq. I gritted my teeth over Kosovo, but Iraq was one step too far. Not only has Blair aligned the UK with the USA in a way that no longer makes us trusted in the the world, but this government has adopted Tory party policies such as PFI. I cannot believe that a Labour government is making future generations pay horrendous sums of money in interest to line the pockets of rich shareholders in private building companies. The current NHS and education services are paying through the nose for maintenance and repairs, reducing money available for front line treatment. I suspect that we will see more health trusts in deficit in the next few years. What I would like to see are government bonds to finance these projects. We all know that it is fear of raising the PSBR that prevents this, but the current approach is not sustainable particularly as there will be fewer tax payers in the future.
I was really angry when Blair stopped Mike Tomlinson’s ideas from being put into practice. I am really impressed with students who have taken the International Baccalaureate, they are rounded people in a way that A-Level cannot emulate. We need radical change if our education system is not to fail our children. But this does not mean faith schools. Religion has no part in education. The philosophy, principles, beliefs and ethics of religion should be studied but if we want an integrated society let personal beliefs be just that. This means a change to the 1944 education act to remove the act of worship all schools have to do currently. Integration will not happen through segregation which is what is currentlyproposed.
This Labour government needs to remember its roots and to realise that business only wants profits which may not be compatible with the need for social justice and opportunity for all.
I do appreciate that there are some things that the Labour government has done that make people’s lives better, such as the minimum wage. What we need is a period of reflection and review to remind ourselves of what Labour really stands for.
I have been waiting patiently for my next blood test which I had yesterday. I was hoping to have my next chemo tomorrow, but the hospital has just phoned to say its not possible as my neutrophil (white blood cells) count is too low. The problem with this is that it leaves you prone to infection from your own bugs. It is really frustrating as I am eating well. Juicing raw vergetables for the antioxidants; eating watercress and beetroot and carrots, not sure if there is a flag of this colour, but I would be a sure fire match for it. Physically I feel great, but it is not safe to move on to the next chemo dose until the levels are right.
My concern is that it will mean that the chemotherapy will be less effective as it is being done over a longer time. Alternatively, the dose may have to be reduced which again reduces the effectiveness. I have found that it is possible to give growth factor drugs to help, but I will have to talk to my oncologist about it. So it is off to the hospital again for yet another blood test tomorrow.
I do find it difficult to take each day as it comes, but it is something I will have to learn to do!