Looking after the burden!
24 Nov 2013
Well since Jayne has been blogging away I thought I would get in on the act to give a bit of insight from a different perspective.
As Jayne mentioned the finding out was definitely the worst part. When she went to the doctors you always expect to come back with some tablets or cream to sort the problem out, you never really fully expect that you are going to get the news to head to hospital for a series of scans. That will always get the alarm bells ringing.
Fast forward to the full day in hospital and it was a pretty depressing day all round. When we were told the news, although I was pretty much expecting it due to the nature and fullness of the scans she had had, I must admit I bubbled a bit. Jayne on the other hand had prepared for the worst and was stone faced throughout. Similarly when we told her folks, I bubbled again while Jayne was quite calm and collected. Jayne's Mam ended up consoling me as opposed to her.
The worst bit of it all for me was the waiting and the helplessness. It would be around a week before we found out the results of the biopsy and scans. As this kind of disease is a one where time is of the essence I found it frustrating that things weren't shepherded along a little quicker. For some reason I expected to be in the next day for the results and then treatment started at the end of the week.
Looking back I realised that obviously there are procedures to follow and scheduling of all the various people in and in fact we were seen to really quickly.
Although Jayne was putting a brave face on it all one of the most difficult thing was being totally helpless and having nothing to say or do that would make any difference other than trying to help and support where I could.
Fast forwarding to the first treatment and the whole thing was quite uneventful. Jayne handled all the drugs well through administration with thankfully no side effects on the day. Although it was three days away from work, which is hard when you work for yourself, I managed to set up a mini office in the hospital using the hospital bedside table for the laptop and tethering my phone. Jayne was happily chuntering away to other patients and the nurses so I bashed on with work.
The first week of the drug side effects went without incident, then by week 2 things started to hit the fan. First up was the "chemo farts" which could only be described as the after effects of the consumption of a fermented vindaloo, however they mainly were emitted under the confines of the duvet. If Jayne was a fan of a dutch oven, it would have been me being rushed to A&E!!
Then there were the steroids. I have never really seen Jayne drunk, but it was like she was in a constant state of being a bit tiddly and hyper. For those who know me I like a quiet life, so Jayne bounding around the house like a giggly schoolgirl was a bit too much, needless to say she was treated like such and told to sit down and shut up.
Then there was the addled brain. In this house I can remember lyrics from songs that I heard a few times back in the 80s, but on the other hand I can't remember where we went on holiday last month or even what I had for my breakfast. Jayne, however has an encyclopaedic brain and can rattle off dates and times from events in the last 20 years and is uber organised. On the drugs, she has no idea what happened in the last 20 minutes and quite disorganised. I find myself telling her something and then her swearing blind I haven't told her at all. I now resort to telling her something in front of the kids so at least they can back me up. At least now if a joke goes down well I have the opportunity of telling it again!
The hair thing has been an odd one. The one thing that Jayne has always said is that her hair falling out was the least of her worries and she didn't really mind as long as it didn't come back in curly.
So cue a couple of random outbursts of tears about it. I blame the drugs again. So anyway rather than wait for the hair to start coming out in chunks we decided to take control and get the clippers out once it started to fall out. The result wasn't too bad actually and Jayne quite suited a grade 4 although it gave her a striking resemblance to Sue Pollard which I reminded her of on most occasions.
Within a few days of that Jayne then emerged from the shower with about 70% of her hair gone, with it all now in the plug hole, so no change there then. So that night the clippers came out and the remainder was taken off. That took a bit more getting used to.
Now that the Sue Pollard resemblance was out the window, I needed to make light of the situation and my brain started blurting out a series of bald people looking for Jayne's new nickname. Kojak was too obvious, Captain Picard came up, but he has hair at the back, Duncan Goodhew, Terry Tibbs (from fonejacker - google it), but with the glasses it was defo Harry Hill. That tickled me and so now I call her that to try and force a smile from her, but I tend to get a punch instead.
Although the hair was gone I initially had a surprise each time I saw Jayne as she was either, rocking the wig, the bald coot look, the "bad hair day" hat, the bed hat or the bandana on the odd ocassion (mental note - she doesn't take too kindly to me to answering her questions with "Aaarrrr" in a pirate accent when she is wearing that).
Fast forward a number of weeks and we’re now approaching treatment four with no trepidation as apart from one minor reaction, which the nurses dealt with swiftly everything has been fine and the side effects have been very minimal. We get there early doors and then I sit in reception while Jayne gets plugged in. Then I set up my office while Jayne gets the drugs and I am treated like a butler getting water for her every five mins. Even the nurses have starting calling me bloody “Carson!”
So that’s about it from me so far. Joking aside though, she has been incredibly brave throughout it all taking all treatments and side effects in her stride and we are all very proud of her.
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