I had to sign a form stating that everything about high dose chemotherapy had been explained to me and that I knew the dangers. I knew that I would receive very very strong chemotherapy for a week, followed by having my stem cells which I had harvested in November, returned. This would enable my immune system to come back so that I would be able to fend off infections. It would however take a number of weeks for my immune system to return. I would also be a risk at many various complications. I would most likely be fed through my port, on a substance called TPN (Total Parental Nutrition) which would keep me alive and hydrated while I was unable to eat or drink at all. I would also be on a morphine pump, which would give me a constant supply of morphine because of the amount of pain I would be in (For anyone looking to buy one of these for personal use, they're hard to come by. Trust me, I've looked!) I would be in for at least four weeks, in isolation. For the three months after my high dose chemotherapy I wouldn't be able to go anywhere near big crowds. I would also be at risk of having my lungs fill with fluid, my kidneys stopping, my liver stopping, going into a coma, catching a life threatening infection, just plain old death and a whole other bunch of fun fun things!
It was somewhat unusual having to sign a form with all these things listed on it but I realised this was the only way to kick this thing's arse! Cancer picked on the wrong guy when it started with me and I was going to show it a thing or two!
The drugs I would be on for the first week of chemotherapy would be busulfan and melphalan. I had to take the busulfan in tablet form, which meant I was taking about 140 tablets a day! On the last day of the first week I was given the melphalan through my port. I was also be on hydration for the whole of the week, to stop me getting dehydrated. This meant I was attached to the drip stand 24 hours a day for a few weeks.
I was put in Room 8 on Ward 78 as it was the isolation room, as about a week or so after the chemotherapy had been given my bloods would drop, meaning I would have no defence against infection and would be confined to my room.
The first week of my high dose chemotherapy passed almost without incident, and I to get out into the dayroom as much as possible in this week because I knew within the next week or so my bloods would fall and I wouldn't be able to. This was just the start and I knew it was going to get a whole lot worse. Worse than I could ever imagine.
For an indication as to how much morphine I was on, look at how huge my pupils are!