Blasting the tumour with a rare selfie.
After a longer than anticipated break from my IV induced Chemotherapy, it was time yesterday to do a 'Take 2' and re-present myself back in the Bons Secour private hospital for my deferred Chemotherapy from last week, but more about that further down this blog. If you will, just permit me to move sideways for a few moments. You have met Myra here in my blogs before, the unstoppable care assistant who is like a 2nd Mammy to me when I go in for my treatment.
So as yesterday was approaching, it was time that you, my reader would get the opportunity to put another face to one of the many names on my medical team that has earned my full and unmitigated respect. This time it was the chiefs turn. The man whose expertise plots out, installs and monitors the battle plans to disarming my inoperable stomach tumour. The man, for when he speaks, I hang on to every syllable he says. So yesterday morning as himself and his entourage surrounded me, my intention was to get a selfie with my Oncologist, Dr. Oscar Breathnach. I carfully picked my moment and duly launched my well researched approach: "Doc, the 50,000 people who are reading my blog tell me they are sick and tired of looking at my mug shot and want to get a look at your face instead". Bingo, that got his full intention. So as I was taking our selfie shots, to keep him interested, I mention to him "Doc Breathnach, I am your next success story, it's now time you are captured here as part of it" and then <SNAP>, here's the shot I got below.
Pulling a rare selfie with my Oncologist, Dr. Oscar Breathnach.
Photo © Aidan Murphy 2017
Getting back to our 'Take 2'. For your information, one of the main side affects of all Chemotherapy is that it kills the good as well as the bad. This includes (my good) white blood cells which look after my bodies immune system. These guys could get depleted if not checked on and measured very regularly, hence the important requirement in having them up at a sustainable level.Would my white blood cell count give that green light? I'm told yesterday, my count was on the boundary mark but my Oncologist, Dr. Breathnach made the decision to go ahead with the infusion but it was subject to a plan of action. My instructions were to go back on my daily (oral) tablets which I had been off for the previous seven days but to suspend the dosage of same one week before my next scheduled IV treatment in the hospital.
The game plan here is by suspending the last week of my tablet based Chemo (my orally delivered meds), will give an opportunity for my white blood cells to recover. If they recover, the ability of my immune system to do similar and fight off all infections will also happen.
It takes on average 2 hours plus for my IV based chemo treatment to be administered but the time does fly, literally!!. Yesterday, I had the good fortune to have a very pleasant visit from my friend and paragliding pilot Dara Hogan. It was a great catch-up as I'm always very interested to chat about and indeed be educated on other facets of unique aviation, especially from the other pilot advantage. Minutes flew past like seconds, really. Thank you so much Dara for driving over all the way to Glasnevin to visit me and for the very palliative bottle of wine you brought, thank you so much again. Next to pop her head around the corner was my friend Mags Connolly. Nurse Connolly is in the extremely busy Theatre end of things in the Bons Secour hospital, but managed the time to pop by and say hello. Thanks for that Mags, so much appreciated.
I've mentioned before here in my blogs, some of the side affects that Chemotherapy can deliver (at no extra cost I may add). One other of the unpleasant side affects with my chemotherapy, and I stress here MY Chemotherapy (as my cocktail of chemo meds may differ from others) is during the administration by syringe, my back passage exit feels like it's being stung by nettles. Extremely weird I can assure. The trick here is for your Oncologist Nurse (Jakki take a bow) to administer the syringe contents of this particular chemo med reasonably slowly as the intensity of the nettles stinging affect is linked live and in full sync with the speed of the delivery of this specific syringe content.
So if you ever hear me telling you:
"This Chemotherapy is giving me a pain in the arse, I am not lying, it really is".
After yesterday's Chemo session, I was conscious of my previous week of 'detox'. The last time this happened and when I got my Chemo 're-tox' if you like, it was akin to receiving my treatment from day one. The point I'm making here is the larger time gap between my chemotherapy, the higher the intensity of the side affects the treatment carries with it. You can read about these side affects in one of my previous blogs.
Leaving the Bons Secour yesterday, we arrived home here at 3:20pm. I just had this exhaustive sensation in both my mind, body and soul. Alison gave me a yogurt I asked for but hadn't I forgotten about one of my recurring side affects where my throat goes into a spasm. In English, any cool or cold fluids I swallow feel like they transform instantly into large ice crystals as they slide down my little red lane which to frank about, is not the most pleasant of experiences in the world. Having said that, for me, this particular side affect tends to keep receding and by day 5/6 post Chemo, it's barely noticeable on the coldest of cold drinks.
As I rolled into bed yesterday afternoon, I felt I was loaded with Chemo which is not me trying to be smart here. I felt messed up in the head and feeling physically shite in my gut (crap for my US Ballooning family). My throat spasms, the pins and needles in my fingers, nose, ears and my feet where all saying hello to me. I slept solid from 3:30pm to 6:30pm. When I woke up it was like having a chemicalisd hangover. I have no idea what the latter is but I'm pretty sure I had it.
It is now 7:30am in the morning. I am awake solid from 2:30am. The steroids I get during every IV Chemo have this as their main side affect. This will subdue after the next 2 days all going well.
With every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, which you are also experiencing as it's the time I've taken in updating my blog.
Thank you so much for reading this blog.
As always, please feel free to share or just pass on my homepage web address. I am constantly being reminded of how beneficial my blogs are to both patients and their families. That being said, I have gone and done something about it.
If you are employed in an Oncology patient assist or front line medical department please do email me looking for some contact cards (pictured above) which I will gladly post out to you at zero cost. The cards are high quality and extremely useful at passing onaidanmurphy.com
Very best wishes,