I started my first chemo session on Monday and I think we can say the steroid induced insomnia has well and truly kicked in as I've been awake since 3 these last couple of night. Thank God I'm only on them for 3 days and there are puppies to cuddle and instagram to scroll through whilst I'm awake!
So now I'm facing the aftermath of the drugs. On Monday night I started experiencing what I can only liken to the worst hangover you or I have ever had and it's not gone away yet (and I have had a crap load of shot induced poor decision hangovers!) You know those nights when you forget the 3 shot rule exists for a reason and end up drinking a bottle of some cheap ass tequila that someone brought back from a Mexican holiday. That sort of hangover. I got the remnants of the sort of night out I had 10 years ago without any of the fun or the good stories of falling down and making a fool of myself to tell from it. I've also got an attractive red face from one of the things I've take in the last 72 hours - I could not tell you which one though.
So the actual chemo session was pretty boring, kind of an anti climax after all the waiting for it. The day consisted of a lot of sitting about whilst my oncologist came to see me (it's been awhile since we last chatted due to the prolonged ivf. More on that another time) more waiting for my bloods to come back and my chemo drugs to be sent up, then more waiting for anti sickness and steroids to kick in whilst they put the cannula in my hand. The up side to having gone through Bupa with work is that I get a private room to do this all in.
Then came the cold cap. I'm not sure if you'll be familiar with the cold cap but it's a -25 degree riding helmet looking thing that you wear to trick the chemo drugs into missing your hair whilst they hit your body. I decided from the start I'd try it. We've no idea if it'll work but I might as well give it a go. And I'm giving it the full go. I've bought the Simple shampoo I'm told I can use, the wide tooth comb brush I'm to only use every few days and a silk pillowcase is on the way. I might as well try. I've also got some serum on the way to try and protect my eyelashes and eyebrows because there is no drawing those things back on with my make-up abilities.
Anyway, the cold cap is on for maybe half an hr before treatment and the same after. It wasn't as bad as I expected to be totally truthful, but it was still bloody cold! And now I just have to wait and see if it's worked, although the rate my hair sheds as it is, I might not actually notice if it starts falling out slowly.......
Then comes the hard stuff. The chemo course I'm on is called EC90. Which means I get a dose of 2 different drugs each time I go in. The E stands for Epirubicin and the C for cyclophosphamide. The Epirubicin is a red drug that has to be pushed into my veins by my oncology nurse to make sure it didn't spread from the veins, and by my nurses account this is the drug that can cause the big issues like hair loss and the tiredness. It also makes your wee red which is a nice little side effect. The cyclophosphamide is given through a drip in to my hand after the Epirubicin has gone down.
And then, after the drugs had done their thing, and the cold cap was removed, I was sent home with a huge bag of medicine to see me through the next few weeks. And yesterday I headed back in to the hospital for an injection to make my white blood cells reproduce quicker, which should stop me getting fluey, from the low blood cell count. But because it's making your bone marrow work harder, it can make you achy and tired. It's just a barrel of laughs isn't it.
But we've started. There's no going back now. There are now only 5 more chemo sessions to do and 5 is so much more doable than 6 isn't it. Plus now I know the immediate side effects I'll be far more prepared! I might just go in drunk so my next hangover is justified!