Tag Archives: chemo

Chemo round 6 – day 9 return of breathlessness

Into the second week of the chemo, when infection risk starts to increase as blood count starts to drop. As well as the white blood count dropping so do the red blood cells, which accounts for the breathlessness this week, generally this starts to improve in week three. The dizziness continues , when he lies down the room starts spinning, like the aftereffects of those really bad student hangovers , only without the alcohol. It tends to make him very irritable as his energy levels drop right down , having been so fit previously , psychologically this is always really difficult.

Blood count at last test was as follows

RBC – 11.4 ( this was lowest result to date)

WBC – 2.6

N phils – 1.9

This is also the week of the nose bleeds, had a really bad one mid week last time when it took around 30 mins to stop completely . Have increased  iron content of diet with additional watercress in salads ( broccoli has been off the menu for months ).

Mentally finding it tough now, the phrase ” terminal cancer ” keeps haunting us , as we realise this last six months , however hard , doesn’t mean anything is over , indeed may be nothing has even been achieved. IF it has suppressed the tumour , there’s no knowing for how long. Then again noone has any guarantees in life, cancer doesn’t make you special.

To paraphrase Churchill,  chemo round 6 isn’t the beginning of the end but it is the end of the beginning.

 

Chemo round 4 day 7- chemo brain

deer in richmond park, london

Image via Wikipedia

The good news is the nausea is definitely much better today. So have stopped the meta and just have the exorcist ones for the evening, hopefully these will stop tomorrow. Still have the sleeping tablets for back up.

Hasn’t done a great deal, mainly lain on the couch watching black and white films, it seems to help with the constant stomach ache. He used to be such a healthy eater, now he’s a true couch potato, drinking coke and eating chocolates ( both of which help to take the taste away). Tonight will be having bacon, eggs and chips – have told him to be careful ,don’t want us turning into Wayne and Waynetta.

He has managed to gain a couple of pounds over the course of the treatment so far, ( compared to my seven!) so after this bit is over, have told him we’ll be into the getting fit stage , cycling to Richmond Park etc. Time then to get his figure back.

The blackbird is now a constant visitor, still without his tail feathers, so think he may have had a close encounter with a cat. He also seems to be permanently moulting ,so is really scruffy.

Ray was mentioning today about chemo brain – he says its so difficult to focus on anything , he can’t even list what he has had to eat in a day without being distracted. Is now concerned that at the end of the chemo , will be the proverbial husk, the lights will be on but no-one will be home. Have told him not to worry , an sure he will still be as grumpy as he was previously, so won’t be that different.

Here are just a few examples of what patients call chemo brain: am slightly concerned as I exhibit quite a few of these and haven’t had chemo, so in my case it probably is old age

Forgetting things that they usually have no trouble recalling

Trouble concentrating — they can’t focus on what they’re doing, may “space out”

Trouble remembering details like names, dates, and sometimes larger events

Trouble multi-tasking, like answering the phone while cooking, without losing track of one of them — less ability to do more than one thing at a time

Taking longer to finish things — disorganized, slower thinking and processing

Trouble remembering common words — unable to find the right words to finish a sentence

Doctors and researchers call chemo brain “mild cognitive impairment.” Most define it as being unable to remember certain things and having trouble finishing tasks or learning new skills.

For the person who has lost some brain function, even short-term problems with thinking and memory can be scary. Some people may have trouble remembering simple things, like closing doors or turning off lights. Others may notice that their brain doesn’t work as quickly as it used to.

He still has his hair, although much thinner and softer than before , it used to be very wiry , he still has a better head of hair than 90% of the men I work with , so told him not to complain, told him it will probably grow back curly ( don’t think he found that a comfort)

Chemo round 4 day 6

Continuing the ongoing battle with the nausea, we now have a variety of drugs available to us and basically try them in different combinations. It’s like having our own mini pharmacy. Latest attempt has been meta in the morning and the exorcist one at night. Doesn’t seem to have been quite so bad this time .

The restless legs are at their peak, so resorting to zopiclone a sleeping pill  . This helps with the RLS but has nausea as a side effect – so not what you want at the moment.

The good news is we have definitely kicked the gabapentin and tramadol into touch , so my drug chart has been completely revamped.

Started to think today about what he will do work wise once the chemo is finished, he did say he hadn’t given it any thought until now because wasn’t expecting to survive this long. ( nothing like a positive outlook there then) . Can see it is going to be really important to have something to focus on other than cancer.

At the moment think we have both lost sight of what normal life is, given we are hoping for a few more years after all this treatment, there is going to be another major adjustment ahead. Looking at some other blogs , not sure how anyone lives with the CT scan updates and that constant fear of Meso – The return.

I have only 7 weeks left at work , although hoping to look at consultancy work from September on a part-time  basis, so change all round really