Friday, 26 February 2010


Oh yeah, on the 24th of the month, I was 7 years sober.

Good for me. 

*pats own head*

Fate lends a hand

Time is illusionary.

The days from Saturday to Wednesday seemed, at the time, to last a month. Now they seem like a bad dream from which I've woken.

I was sick. A lot. And when I wasn't being sick, I felt sicker. The anti-sickness tablets defected to the other side and were just sickness tablets, being throw into one of the two toilets in my flat, or sometimes, just for fun, the sink, as you can then play 'Push the Chunks' after. Not that there were many chunks after day two, just acid bile. Too much information? Go and read a blog about kittens then. Because cancer is mostly about puke, shit, sweat, tears and other 'hard to remove at thirty' stains.

And for a day or so back there, towards the end, I was stuck The Dark Zone. Where everything seems utterly pointless and futile. Where just thinking about another treatment in 9 days makes you want to reach for the [insert self-harming weapon of choice here].

And yet, today, with two days of feeling "not-sick", those dark times seem like a long way away again. Time is very strange.


I had to see my Consultant on Wednesday. It was the first time I left the house for 5 days - only to travel back to the wretched hospital.

10:15 - Arrive for appointment. Wait.
10:45 - I am weighed. Just under 12 stone. Not bad, put some back on.
11:30 - blood test - but not taken from my PICC as I hoped, as these nurses are not qualified to use my new toy, so it's another shot into the other arm. Blood sent up for checking.
12:30 - see my Consultant. I start to talk about how sick I've been but start crying as I get to the bit where I plead for treatment every three weeks, as opposed to every two. Although tissues and sympathy are offered, she does not back down. It's important that I have treatment every two weeks, apparently. I do not accept this but I am somewhat powerless here. Fate may yet help her see reason. *knowing smile*
12:50 - My spleen is felt. A new drug is prescribed to help with the nausea - a sedative known as Lorazepam. I like drugs that end with the letters 'pam'. You know they warrant their 'don't operate heavy machinery' disclaimer. So, just to stop me feeling sick, during my next bout of chemo I will be taking Lorazepam, Cyclizine, Ondansetron and Domperidome, to be of course gakked with my normal breakfast of Allopurinol and Ranitidine, with a side-order of Codeine, Paracetomol and to be washed down with a Movicol juice to stop my bowels turning to concrete. On my arm is a tattoo that says "Drug Free". Oh how I laugh. On top of these extra drugs, I'm written the 'script for two more self-injecting 'white blood cell booster' needles, to be plunged at the weekend ...
13:15 ... to the hospital pharmacy to drop in my script and then to the ...
13:30 ... Cancer Ward to clean up my PICC line, which is coated in dry blood. I walk in to That Place that made me so sick only 6 days ago, take a deep breath, and ...
13:32 - puke in their toilets.
13:45 - PICC line cleaned.
14:00 - Back to the pharmacy
14:22 - Lose temper in pharmacy
14:30 - Get 'script items.
14:35 - Leave hospital. Punch air.


Time passes

Friday morning. Phone rings whilst driving to work.

It's my Consultant.

"How are you feeling?"
"Better now, thanks. Not sick."
"Good. You know those injections you're taking..."
"Well, don't use them. There is a very slight chance it can cause a spleenal rupture when the spleen is enlarged, such as yours"
"Oh, cool. OK, so, er what happens when I can't have treatment because of my low-blood count then - which, as you know, has happened every time I haven't had the injections"
"We will delay the treatment for a week"
"Right. So you're telling me that there's no injections from now on and my treatment will probably be delayed for a week"
"This might just be the best phone call I've ever had"

And on that bombshell, I'm spending my weekend hanging out with people with bad colds, staying up way  too late and only eating raw eggs ... gotta keep those white blood-cells down at all costs.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

chemo 4

... or 2b, as I've been corrected.

Right ho .. a short post, you know how I am writing about chemo afterwards.

The PICC insertion was relatively painless, but you wouldn't think it to look at me. I was wriggling around like a lizard on a ... where is that analogy going?

You can see the end result from my previous picture post - a permanent line to just above my heart. Spooky.

The good, nay great news, is that all the chemo drugs were put through me with no pain whatsoever. I took the evil veinpain drug as quickly as it could be administered.

I was in such a good mood about this that after being picked up at the hospital at 2:00pm, rather than 5:30pm, that I went back to office before rapidly descending into a 'whitey' and puked in the office toilets.

The sickness was strong last night - I was physically sick three times and had a bad nights sleep, so normal service has been resumed, but I am still grateful for the PICC line, no matter if the end result is the same.

It's started leaking blood today and I think it's going to need cleaning more than the once a week it's been scheduled for, but it's still a medical miracle.

Overall, this is a big result ... I've been given different anti-sickness pills (*shrugs*) and I am awaiting the next phase of lethargy to kick in ... so I probably won't blog much for a few days, as it's all 'same shit, difference cycle' now, but if anyone suffers from veinpain and is offered a PICC line - it's a no-brainer.

Better get back to my deaf father, who has returned this morning to play the 'how loud does the TV go?' game.

Have a good weekend/week/life.

Thursday, 18 February 2010


PICC in.

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Here we go then ...

... About to have a PICC line put in my right arm, because my left is still knackered from the previous treatment.

Chemo itself will be tomorrow now.

Nervous ... There's something about the term 'tube threaded towards heart' that fills me with nervous horror.

After I will have a chest x-ray to check 'it hasn't gone into the heart'.

Anyone got any morphine?
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Back to hell

Its official. I hate this place. I walk in and I want to cry. The smell, the memory, the impending treatments. It sucks the joy out of me and I can't even fake a smile to the nurses.

I don't even know what is in store for me today. It might be the PICC line, it might be chemo, it'll probably be both, or it could be nothing.

All I know is that I feel slightly sick already and I'd rather be anywhere else but here.

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Monday, 15 February 2010

Lean Spleen And The Injections

... Great name for a band, that.

I'm here just to let you know that I'm in a good mood. The weekend was good - a great balance of doing things with people - like bowling, AA, visiting friends - countered with some quality time by myself feeling not-sick. You treasure those days.

As I've previously mentioned, I have been instructed to give myself three injections to help boost my white blood cell count, so my treatments can continue every 2 weeks, as opposed to being delayed. I was told to stick myself with one on Friday, Saturday and Sunday,but when it came down to it, I just couldn't do it myself. On Friday I didn't even bother trying. The needle itself it only really about 2 cm's long, and it needs to be stabbed in under some pinched stomach fat before the the 5mm of gooey liquid is pumped in with the syringe. Thankfully, an ex-girlfriend jumped at the opportunity to stab me in the gut with a sharp object and she did the tricky bit for me in my office. It doesn't hurt at all, but it's the action of stabbing myself that I just can't do. I suddenly have new respect for captured Japanese soldiers in WWII .

In a rather optimistic moment of insanity, I thought I'd try myself on Saturday. It was ridiculous. I stabbed the needle in about 2mm and then instantly pulled it out again, leaving a drawing pin hole in my tummy. Like a school boy that had pricked himself with a needle, my bottom lip dropped and I said 'ouch'. That was my one and only attempt to do it. I'm such a big girl when it comes to this sort of thing. I failed to find anyone on Saturday to do the job, so it didn't get done (I got moaned at by my Key Worker this morning about that). but I managed to find volunteers on Sunday and this morning, so my three injections are now done. Hooray.

Speaking to my Key Worker, it's looking like they are pushing for this PICC line to be put in soon. I think I'm going to be called in tomorrow or Wednesday to have the procedure explained to me by the nurse. It's fair to say that I'm not looking forward to this at all but it has to be better than the chemo experience I had last time - and yes, my arm is still hurting. That's 11 days of vein pain so far ...

I was having a little feel of myself in bed last night - stop sniggering at the back - and I've concluded that my spleen is shrinking. This is good news. It doesn't feel as 'up high' as it was before ... it used to stick out a bit more ... I think it's definitely a more lean spleen. Hopefully I'm not imagining it.

Right ho, not a very exciting blog today. Not even a funny one either. But I thought I'd just drop by to say that I'm well, I've had a good weekend, I'm actually quite happy, looking quite healthy and feeling grateful for my sick-free days.

It won't last.

Friday, 12 February 2010

crossing the piccet line


"I wonder how that little ray of sunshine the Kemo Kid is, you ask yourself?" Well, wonder no more, my dear carcrash blog lovers, as I'm here to update you with more tales of medical misadventure to make you feel better about your own life.

Life has continued to be a huge pile of steaming dog-shite, full of sickness, self-loathing, self-pity and erratic bowel movements. You probably gathered that I was less-than-happy from my last less-than-optimistic post, however since yesterday, which was Thursday in case you missed my opening word, the dogshite coated clouds have parted slightly and my chemo-charcoaled heart has been somewhat lifted by the disappearance of my constant background nausea. Somebody give me a Yay.

Let's rewind a little ...

The ol' 'vein pain' in the arm came and went. And came and went and came and came and fucking came. Every day it seems to get less 'pricky' and more gross/larger, less defined but more painful. Imagine someone hit the centre of your upturned arm with a flat mallet about 10 minutes ago. That kind of dull ache - strong but hard to place specifically. In my case, this ache would be coupled with the nausea - the end result being that my arm, and my very 'being' as it felt like, continued to relive that damn chemo session over and over.

By Wednesday I'd had enough. Six days of it continuously getting worse and no real end in sight was enough for me to call my lovely Key Worker nurse and beg for help ... they asked me to come down to see them a few hours later. Impressive service. As well as hair, cancer seems to be able to make queues disappear.

So back to Camp Chemo it was. I walked in the door and nearly gagged as I sucked down a lungful of the hot, disinfected air that hangs heavy in this already too familiar place. Nice people, shit place. The opposite of Milton Keynes.

However, a special little room was found for me and after being seen by a couple of nurses to check my arm wasn't about to fall off, I had a good talk with my Key Worker nurse, which turned into more of a councilling session as I poured out my frustrations to her ever-listening ears. She calmed me down a bit - reinforced that the treatment I was having was particularly heavy, that the pain was somewhat normal and they would look at solutions for me.

There were slight concerns about my arm, but as I already knew, because there are no external physical signs - no swelling, red marks, lines etc - then the only solution for now would be painkillers. The conclusion was that my vein was irrated and probably sore/inflamed from the treatment. Well, 'no shit', but it was still good to hear, as by this point I was beginning to wonder if I had some sort of mental psychosomatic pain - maybe this pain didn't really exist but my brain was just feeling some phantom sensations related to the nausea and treatment. However, I'm "happy" to report, that sitting at my desk here on Friday, with no nausea at all but an arm that's throbbing like a paedophiles cock in a playground, that my little theory bubble has been well as truly popped and sent earth-bound. There is a pain and it is very fucking real. A cocktail of codeine, neurophen and paracetamol helps a bit but not as much as you would think. Still, it passes the day.

After moving on from the specific arm pain, we spent some time discussing my general adversity to this treatment - as by this time and in that state, as far as I was concerned, I wasn't coming back for a few weeks, I just couldn't face it. I was going to rebel. I was going to skip Chemo Class and there was nothing you could do about it. I'd give the cancer a couple of weeks to do its worst, as it seemed preferable to another chemo session. 'Right to refuse' and all that.

However, as I'm fond of saying and must find alternatives to, a solution has been presented to me, in the form of a rubber tube ... or a "PICC Line", as I was informed. Time for the googles, methought ...

They say a picture paints a thousand words and they are correct, as to me this pictures says 'fuck' exactly one thousand times.

This is a 'permanent' line that goes from your arm to somewhere near your heart and means that nurses can pour stuff in quicker and easier. It's like having your own petrol cap fitted. There's lots of potential here for fun/death ... every junkies day-dream.

Plus side: this will reduce/eliminate the vein pain I have in my arms. The whole procedure will be quicker. I will be able to attach it to a helium tank and turn myself into an inflatable toy.

Down sides: I haven't read the leaflet yet as I'm firm believer that when it comes to medical stuff that ignorance is bliss, but let's face it, there will be downsides. There's always fucking downsides. It will probably be prone to infection. It will need cleaning. It'll cause irritation. It'll be a stupid colour. It'll snag itself on a hedgerow twig and rip out my heart through my arm. There's always stuff like that.

Still, I'd piss on a spark-plug if I'd thought it'll help this vein-pain business, so on Monday, I'll be making a date with High Commander of Camp Chemo to have this piece of garden hose shoved through my system towards my heart, which I will be looking forward to with my usual enthusiasm.

As we all suffer from short attention spans nowadays and you've probably received 8 email/Facebook alerts since reading this drivel, I'll let you go. But I'll be back soon to post about how I'm getting on self-injecting my white blood-cell booster needles (hint: *i'm* not) and probably more about my tediously throbbing arm, painkillers and other self-piteous musings.

Still, now the nausea has gone, I'm almost glad to be alive again. So much so, I'm going ten-pin bowling tonight ... IN YOUR FACE, ABJECT MISERY!

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

chemo session 3

I've had enough of chemo. I hate it. With a passion.

It's Tuesday morning. 06:30. I want to go to work, but I still feel sick and I ache. The background sickness is still more foreground than background and frankly, I've had enough.

It was a tough session. A session that I'm going to find it hard to write about without making myself feel sicker but my lack of blogging is playing on my mind, like some unfinished homework.

The session was pretty much the same as before, but the last drug, the one that causes me all the "vein pain" (dacarbazine), was twice as painful as before. I can't describe why or what was different, but I felt something wasn't right. One two occasions I demanded the treatment was stopped and in fact, due to time constraints (they are not allowed to administer drugs after 5:00pm, as there are no doctors help in the event of a reaction), I only managed to get 50% of this drug in me. I was hoping this would result in 50% less sickness, but that was not to be.

To confirm my suspicions that something wasn't right, my vein continues to hurt even today. Not all the time, but very periodically ... a sharp pain that shoots into my hand and up my wrist... whilst in itself the pain is not unbearable, it brings with it the sense, the feeling, the taste and the sickness of the treatment ... it's like I'm still having the drug administered into the vein. Hence, five days later and I'm still feeling horrible.

I blame my brain. It's started making all kinds of connections to feeling sick. From now on, Ready Salted Crisps are off my diet list, as are 'egg on brown' sandwiches. Why? I was eating them during my last treatment and had to stop half way through, as I felt horrible. Now, the thought of those crisps actually brings on a very strong feeling of nausea. I guess this is no different from drinking a litre bottle spirits as a kid and spending the next three days feeling like death - just the thought or smell of it will turn your stomach.

The problem I face is that it's getting worse every trip. I actually fear the place now. I'm internally fighting against going back. The most depressing thought I have is that I still have not managed to do a "every two weeks" stint - as each time I have been delayed by my low white blood cells. The thought that by the time I'm back on my feet, it will be a mere 7 days before I return is crushing.

Speaking of the "every two weeks" thing, I have been given a solution to my low white-cell count problem. As of this coming Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I am supposed to impale a 3 inch needle in my gut and push the plunger - to give myself a bone marrow boost.

This is not going to happen.

What is going to happen, is that I will spent 45 minutes standing naked in front of a mirror, shouting at myself for being such a pathetically unmanly human being as I stand poised to plunge the needle but unable to move my arm, before finally getting dressed and crawling on my hands and knees to a nurse in my treatment centre, begging her to put my out of my pathetic misery. It will take her 5 seconds.

Be sure to come back Friday for that blog of frustration.

Since I started this miserable blog, I've had to open a window to suck down some fresh air and drink some lemon and ginger tea. Because I feel sick.

Christ, I'm sick of chemo.

Absolutely sick of it.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Silence is sickening

If I'm silent, its because I can't write about it yet. This 'makes me feel sick just thinking about it' thing is stronger every session.

I will when I can ... But I'm alive and well ... well, sick. Or well sick, if you're a chav, innit.

Hate chemo.

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Thursday, 4 February 2010

Trying. Again.

Right-ho. All set for Camp Chemo. I'm assuming my white blood cells have been multiplying like council estate citizens in the last week and I am now well enough to be made sick again.

We shall see ... Yes, we shall see ... *fade to black*

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