Friday, 26 March 2010

Hair Loss and Rubbish People.

I somehow forgot to mention in my last post that my hair has started to come out. Ever morning since my last treatment I've woken up with hair on my pillow. Not loads but not just the odd one or two that would come out anyway. Highly depressing - part of me was praying to god I would be mega lucky and get away without the hairloss. Hopefully it'll just thin out and not be noticeable but considering my hair is already thin I wont get my hopes up. :( And if I hear another "Oh it will grow back" I am seriously going to do something I regret!

This is the blog post I didn't want to do but since the aim of this blog was to show how I was coping with having cancer, I felt I couldnt not include it.

As for "rubbish people". This has definately been the loneliest and most depressing experience of my life. I feel I've had more support from people who don't even know me than the ones who are 'closest to me'.* I've had loads of messages from total strangers, my housemates spending a fortune I know they havent got to come see me, gifts and letters from people I've never met and yet practically nothing from some of the people who I thought would be there. I guess it's times like this where you find out who your real friends are. I could go on but I'm so frustrated to the point of tears and if I cry anymore I'll find it harder to breathe cos of my rubbish chest.

Nevermind..I guess I was only well..dying?

*(Dont get me wrong there are people who have been great with me)

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Chemo Cycle 2 part 1

Well after my blood wasnt good enough for chemo last thursday, they had me in on monday for a blood test. Turns out it was back to normal so I had my chemo then.

My consultant came to see me first. He had a feel of my neck and said my neck was responding really well (you can hardly feel any of the lump now!) so thats a good sign. He talked to me about getting a line put in since I've been suffering with my veins. He even said that the hickman line that was mentioned to me before probably wasn't the best option for me anyway with me only needing 3(hopefully!!) more treatments and it would leave me with scars. So he suggested whats called a long line and this just goes into my arm. Sounds loads better so I told the hospital today (Thursday) that I want one and I've got an appointment for next week. Not looking forward to it like.

So mondays chemo went same as usual. All the drugs apart from the dacarbazine went through fine but as soon as that one started I got the excrutiating pain in my hand again. It was so bad it reduced me to tears. I took some paracetomol(which even the doctor said probs wouldnt make much difference as the pain is from the direct effect on my veins). Then I sat with a heat pack on my arm and they diluted the drug down with some water. This made it bearable and I sat talking to the student nurse for about an hour while it dripped through to take my mind off it. About 4 hours later I was done thank god! Left the hospital and went to lidl to stock up on creme eggs which I then procedeed to eat 3 of followed by a kit kat chunky and I then put a pie in the oven and only didn't eat it cos I fell asleep for 4 hours. I always get the munchies after chemo because of the steroid injection. Its pretty ridiculous how much food I can put away on those days lol.

As for side effects it's just been the usual really. Tiredness the main one. Im writing this at 5.42 after only getting up at 3 and I'm shattered already. Constipation has been another big issue. Yes you really wanted to know that! As for a sore mouth, it hasn't bothered me yet thank god. Last time it was really sore so I don't want a repeat of that. My veins are giving me a bit of pain but its not too bad and i have been feeling a bit sick but I havent found myself with my head in the toilet bowl just yet so hopefully this feeling will have gone tomorrow.

Until next time!

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Chemo delay

So I was supposed to have the frist treatment of cycle 2 on Thursday but my blood wasn't good enough. Not sure exactly why but the nurse just asked me to go for another blood test on Wednesday and hopefully have the treatment on thurs. Fair enough I thought - give my arms a chance to recover. The next morning though I get a phonecall from the nurse saying the doctor wants to press on with my treatment with me being part of the trail so I have to go in tomorrow (monday) for a blood test and then to see the doctor after and hopefully have the treament then.

It's kind of annoying that they haven't really said what would happen if my blood is still not good enough but it feels like all the way through this process I've learnt more about whats going to happen via the internet rather the doctors and nurses themselves. Nevermind though, will just have see what happens tomorrow.

For side affects... My left arm was really painful the day and day after of the last treatment but I havent had the numbness I did with the first treatment. Still no hairloss on my head yet. The longer it takes to start to come out the more its gonna be upsetting I think. If it's gonna fall out I just want it over and done with. The main thing I've suffered with however is tiredness but it's hard to tell whether it's any worse than what I was suffering from just having this cancer in the first place. Oh I also had a reeeeally sore mouth this time. It started the day after the treatment and got worse over the following few days. My mam had to go to the hospital on the monday for me and get some mouthwash that works as a painkiller. It had just gotton to the point where I didn't want to eat or drink it was that painful. Luckily though it cleared up in about 2 days.

Finally got some Uni work through but finding it hard to motivate myself to do it since it is about promoting the Uni and I think the place is a shambles.... Been putting it off for a good few days but managed to write 400 words yesterday. If I leave it for tomorrow....maybe it will take my mind off feeling bad from the treatment...yeah, it's blatantly not getting done for another week lol.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

The hair situation.

Having a bit of a down day when it comes to my hair...
Don't think I'm experiencing any hair loss yet altho if i do tug at my hair enough a strand will come out but im sure thats just normal shedding of the hair.
Just fed up of being a skinhead. Makes me feel ugly and not feminine in the slightest and I know I'm just waiting for the little hair I've got to fall out.
Sick of people commenting on my wig and saying things like "oooh i wish my hair looked as good as that" or "eee it must be so easy not having to style your hair". They just don't understand what it's like. I'd give anything to have to spend an hour trying to style unruly hair on an extremely bad hair day. I'd give anything to have some hair to style.

I want to looks like this again:

Not the blatant wig wearer I am here:


Blood test tomorrow before chemo on Thursday. Have a feeling the result isn't going to be good. Sigh.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Chemo Cycle 1 complete WOO.

Yesterday (4th March) I went for my second treatment which would complete my first cycle of ABVD.

I don't know why but I had a feeling that this one wasn't going to go as well as the first treatment and sadly I was right.

All the nurses knew who I was before I even opened my mouth as they had seen me in the local newspaper!

I'd had the first treatment go through my left hand and my left arm had been achy and dead feeling for over a week after. I don't know why but I stupidly said to use my left arm again for this second treatment. Even the cannula going in hurt a lot more than usual. The first lot of drugs going through felt fine but as soon as the last one, the nasty one (Dacarbazine), went in after about 10minutes (bearing in mind this drug can take over an hour to drip through) the pain in my hand was so bad I was on the edge of tears. The nurses came over and turned the drip off while I sat holding back the tears. They gave me some paracetomol to take and then started the drip again after a short while. Straight away the pain was back and they had to turn the drip off and get the doctor.

The doctor mentioned having one of them picc(I think it was a picc??) lines put in which is a semi permenant tube inserted into my neck and chest. I nearly threw up on his face at the thought. I dont think I could face walking round with a tube hanging out of my neck or chest every day. The thought of it only being put in under sedation didnt help either. I told him I wasn't keen at all and so he said if I could manage with my arms then that was ok. Apparantly it's not often they put semi permenant lines in for this type of chemo anyway. He just said they could try as bigger vein further up my arm.

The nurse came over to put another cannula in my other arm. I thought she was going to put in near my elbow but she ended up putting into my hand. Great. Anyway, I managed to take all the drug through my right hand thank god. I think my veins in my left hand just hadnt had chance to recover from the first treatment but now that both hands have took drugs through on this treatment Im scared for next one as I don't know how Im going to cope with dacarbazine. Especially since now my left hand has a huge bruise already around where the cannula was and it was even painful just to type with that hand last night. It looks like it may have swollen a little too so I'm going to have to keep a very close eye on that.

All day after that I spent eating. I'm assuming that was down to the steroid injection I'd had before the chemo drugs. I wont even list what I had to eat or I'll be here all day haha.

But on a good note...I've only took 1 anti sickness tablet and that was before I went to bed last night and "just in case". It's 16.41 day 2 and I dont feel sick at all. I've probably just jinxed that though eh...

Having my hair shaved off for charity & going in the newspaper.

Last Friday (26th Feb) I finally got my hair shaved off! I'd said the day I realised I was going to have to come home from uni that I would shave my hair hair off to raise money for charity. I picked the Lymphoma Association as they provide advice and support to people suffering from lymphoma and their family and friends. They were probably the first place I turned too when I was diagnosed with Hodgkins.

On the tuesday a reporter and photographer from the Hartlepool mail came around to take my story for a feature in the newspaper. The next day I was on the front page of the Hartlepool Mail with a big photo and huge headline. I certainly wasnt expecting to be on the front page and it was a bit of a shock!

So I went down to my dad's cousins salon on the Friday where there was another photographer from the mail and a reporter. I was soooooooo nervous. Never ever ever thought I'd shave my hair off willingly one day! My family and friends came down to watch and I can't describe how weird an experience it was. I almost felt like I'd lost a limb and couldnt bring myself to touch my shaven head it was that strange. Apparantly the look suited me though LOL. It was a very emotional day but no tears thank god, how I kept them in I dont know.

I just hope in doing so I have helped to raise awareness of Hodgkins Lymphoma as well as raising money for the charity. That was my main aim of getting it in the paper so I just hope it's worked.

I then featured in the paper again the following tuesday with a picture of my baldy head on the front page :)