Before you start chemotherapy there is plenty of consulting with doctors and nurses, well in my case there was. You ask your questions, listen to their answers and think that you have a pretty good handle on what’s to come. Your don’t.
The day of treatment itself is such a long one. The nurses set you up in a very comfy recliner overlooking Melbourne’s Docklands. You have everything at your disposal that you will need, including the wonderful volunteers that run around after you. After numerous checks to make sure you are who you say you are, the IV is connected to the port and away you go. My chemo cocktail consists of:
Commonly known as FOLFOX6 (Modified) (Fluorouracil Leucovrin Oxaliplatin) with Bevacizumab. In total it is meant to take about 5 hours for these drugs to be pumped into my system with the Fluorouracil staying connected to the port for 46 hours. However, this first cycle took almost 12 hours due to a delay in the drugs I needed. Luckily I had my partner, a good book and a tablet with Netflix to keep me entertained. The Fluorouracil is disconnected from my port after the 46 hours by a district nurse who thankfully comes out to the house. I have affectionately nicknamed this “Floyd”. Not sure why, it just seemed like the right thing to do.
Nothing can prepare you for what the drugs are about to do to your body. Personally, I think I got lucky as I have had minimal side effects so far. But the side effects are unpleasant none the less. I first felt the peripheral neuropathy whilst still at Peter Mac. My finger tips became sore when I touched anything cold such as water, door handles or cold air. This side effect lasted for about a week and it’s such an easy one to forget about. I would go outside and BANG!, cold air….sore fingers. This can also happen in your toes and more seriously in your throat that leaves you with a choking feeling. Thankfully I haven’t had that at this stage. The second side effect is the nausea and boy how this one loves to hang around. For me it’s a five day stretch of feeling sick which only the tablets and eating seems to help. Then you get the fatigue. This hit me three days after the cycle and I was unable to stay up past 7pm most night. As I said, I consider myself luck to only have these side effects. But time will tell if I will get more.