Thursday, 15 March 2012

High dose chemotherapy-Week 1!

On Monday the 7th of March 2011 I returned to Leeds General Infirmary to receive the results of the recent chest CT scan. They showed that the grey area had been infection and that the antibiotics had got rid of it. This meant I would be starting my high dose chemotherapy the next day.

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!

1 comment:

  1. All I can say is WOW!!& I'm so glad to know that since you are writing made it through it!