Ginger Snaps - The blog of Jayne Hawkins

Go Sober!

Right, all this toxic medicine has clearly affected me more than I ever thought possible and as a result I appear to have gone off the old vino! So I have decided to make something good come out of this disastrous occurrence and go on the wagon for October to raise some money for Macmillan Cancer.

Go Sober for October!

I would really appreciate it if you would kindly donate the price of a bottle of wine or the cost of a drink or two to this fantastic cause!

Side effects of treatment 2

05 Nov 2013

Day 19 of cycle 2 and it’s the eve of treatment number 3 which will be half way through this part of the journey YAY!  They brought me forward two days as I will need to be there for the whole day and Wednesday fits better with their current workload of patients so I am getting things a couple of days early.  I’m fine with that as it means I now finish a couple of days earlier.  YAY again! 

As you know treatment number 2 was a little eventful with my slight reaction to the chemo drug but I had everything crossed the next few weeks would be less eventful!  I had kept a diary of what happened in cycle number 1 so that I could see if any patterns were emerging which would help me plan around “being poorly” if need be.  Luckily enough cycle 2 followed pretty much the same pattern as cycle 1 which was actually quite reassuring and I’ll be fairly happy if that continues throughout to be honest.

Day 2 brought a little bit of the “runs” (can’t spell the “D” word lol) but over the counter tablets sorted this out straight away.  Day 3 was injection day to boost my bone marrow and white blood cells which went fine again although why people do that for fun is a little beyond me.  Day 4 thru 8 brought the pain and soreness from top to toe but painkillers, baths, my wheat bag and electric blanket helped with this and thankfully didn’t stop me going about everyday life. 

Day 7 had floored me on cycle 1 so I was kind of expecting this but part of me was convinced it was because last time I hadn’t got up and dressed first thing and lay around all day which I am not very good with personally.  However, day 7 this time around coincided with the kids being off on holiday and Simon working in Manchester so I had no choice but to get myself up and ready.  Once up, showered and dressed I felt fine so we ventured into Newcastle for a bit of shopping before coming home to make a cake, do a few crafty things, a bit of ironing and I cooked tea.  I knew I had to keep going until Simon returned in case I sat down and flaked out but luckily the tiredness didn’t hit during the day so it was all good.  I did feel a bit tired later that evening and sore but day 7 this time around was a whole lot better! 

Day 8 wasn’t too bad either, I did feel a bit jaded but Leo had been asked to play a game or two of basketball that evening with the Cramlington Vikings U14 team on the Newcastle Eagles basketball court and then we were watching the Eagles match afterwards.  I had to be fit for that so I relented and had an hour sleep that afternoon.  This picked me up enough to watch the games and have tea in town too but I decided that that was all I was giving the cancer this cycle! 

The oral thrush had come back again by this point which was most unpleasant, that hung around for a week or two and I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’ll probably have that for the duration.  It puts me off my food so obviously I’ll be a size 8 by the end of this whoohoo!  Also the chemo brain had returned, in particular one evening I sat and cried whilst saying to Simon "Im such an idiot these days"......he simply agreed and laughed at me!  

Day 9 arrived and we went on holiday!  We have a touring caravan and had booked to go the Lake District but as it was my low immunity week and the site was nowhere near an A&E department we changed it to a little farmers field 10 miles or so up the road from where we live.  Not very exotic but it was “away” which was all that mattered.  We had a nice week just chilling out, wandering around the castles, beaches and villages of Northumberland.  The kids played out, we read, watched movies and played monopoly!  Chemo farts in the caravan I thought were amusing but oddly enough nobody else did!

  • Side effects of treatment 2 - Picture 1
  • Side effects of treatment 2 - Picture 2
  • Side effects of treatment 2 - Picture 3

Day 13 last time was the day the hair came off and the spots arrived on my face.  This time the stubble was still hanging on and was even growing and sadly the spots arrived again, this time all over my head where my hair should be.  They didn’t bother me, weren’t sore or itchy but by the end of our week away they looked fairly disgusting I must say, large white/yellow zits with lots of redness around them, nice!  I do have pictures but I’ll spare you all don’t worry.  I eventually rang the hospital about them and had them checked out on day 18 but they think it is a reaction to the Perjeta drug and this reaction is known to peak in cycle 2 so fingers crossed that’s the case for me too!  Whilst at the hospital I had my bloods checked and they were fine which was nice to hear and means I should be good to go for treatment 3! 

So that just about sums up a thankfully uneventful cycle 2.  I totally appreciate everybody reacts to and handles things differently.  Also the different drugs cause different side effects in different people, this much is clear from talking to my new online friends I mentioned in a previous blog.  A lot of the ladies are on a drug called FEC and forgive my language but I gather the majority of them will be quite happy when the FEC “fecks off” as sadly it really does seem to have floored a lot of them which can’t have been pleasant. 

I personally find a lot of the side effects I’ve had on Docetaxel more niggling and annoying than anything else, they certainly haven’t been debilitating and for that I am really grateful.  The thrush is awful and with me 24/7 but the only thing it does is stop me eating a lot which isn’t too bad I guess.  The spots are rubbish but affect those who have to look at me more than they do me!  The pain is easy for me to fix and Id personally take pain over nausea and vomit any day!  I admit to pushing myself to get through any tiredness as I think this is best for me.  Other little things include a crusty nose (sorry) than can bleed quite occasionally, slightly dry skin and eyes.  But as I said previously they in no way stop me so I can’t complain at all really. 

A few people have said that it must be hard having to see to the boys on top of all of this but I think the fact that I have them to look after is actually a big help to me as they make me get up each day so by 8am I am up, showered and dressed before I take them to school and then get on with my day.  Luckily this stuff hasn’t floored me (apart from that one rotten day) so I haven’t felt the need to take myself off to bed and I have everything crossed that that continues as its good not just for me but everyone else too.  Simon works for himself from home and my parents live close by so I know I have help available but we have all agreed that as long as I can manage I will continue to do so and they will let me get on with things but if I do need help they will be there which suits me down to the ground!  Simon makes a dreadful cup of tea so Ill always have to do that for myself regardless of what state this puts me in! 

So we are reaching the halfway point although technically that will be in a couple of weeks when any side effects start to clear up.  Hopefully treatment 3 will go smoothly although it will be a long day, I reckon three and a half hours to administer the 3 drugs, four half hour saline flushes plus possibly the need for piriton (those nasty hedgehogs yay) and hydrocortizine to get the chemo into me plus faffing around time!  However one long day is better than two or three days that’s for sure. 

After this treatment I have an MRI to check how much things have shrunk, I think I can feel a difference myself so hopefully the stuff is working well and I am on the correct drugs. 

I think all that is left to say is “BRING ON ROUND 3”!!!!!!!!!!!!

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