Thursday revealed a different challenge, one that I didn’t expect. I went to the hospital Thursday with a big smile looking pretty well. After three hours of my last chemotherapy bag my forehead began to crease into a frown, my shoulders grew to my ears and I felt so weak… It was like a severe hangover.. I didn’t look so pretty once I had left haha.
I got home and got straight into bed, I began to feel quite vulnerable and dependant on the people around me. Usually I am in full control of my body and for the first time I felt like I had no control. My neck started aching along with my back and rib cage, it might have been from the constant renching.
That night I was really tearful, I kept crying into my hands thinking how weak I had become in just a few hours. Before I had the chemo I felt strong and unbeatable, now I felt like this… How could this be? I didn’t want to feel or look ill. I have to beat this. Once I had cried I felt a lot better, Darren comforted me and reassured me that it was ok and good to cry. I had a few dry crackers and finally went to sleep. I slept all night and woke up at 5am.
Yesterday was a strange day, I woke up feeling fine and ate some porridge, but as the day progressed I had spurts of sickness and had a constant head ache. Darren called the hotline and asked if I could take paracetamol, unfortunately, the doctor said I wasn’t able to as paracatemol can mask a tempreture. The doc instructed Darren to check my tempreture then if it was ok I could take codeine. Mum took my tempreture and I took codeine. I had a nice warm bath yesterday evening with some bath salts and washed with Sanex (for kids) as I don’t want to dry my skin out. I have also started using E45 body lotion just to protect my skin of any dryness that may happen as a result of the chemo.
Today is a good day. I have been for a walk to get some Fortisip (a food supplement which is high in protein) and I’ve had some toast too. I just received some more cards and gifts today. I’m lucky to have such kind and supportive around me…
Although I have so many beautiful and kind people backing me, this is the most isolated feeling I think I will ever experience. I wonder why this happened to me?…It doesn’t matter…I CAN DO IT!
I begun my treatment today, the first lot of injections hurt as they went through my veins and I felt a little worried… scared that we’d have a repeat of Tuesday.
As I write this blog, I am finishing my last bag of treatment and I think it’s safe to say it is in my body. I feel very unwell. My stomach feels similar to motion sickness and my head feels heavy. My mouth keeps watering and I’m having to breath to stop myself from being sick. The nurse has given me a heated blanket to help with the discomfort in my arm, but the smell is making me feel sick. I just want it all to be over now. I want to get home and into bed. I have lost my appetite and can’t think of anything I could possibility eat now. Sipping water is helping and hopefully I’ll be on the mend soon!
This morning I prepped myself for my first lot of chemotherapy. Myself, mum and Darren left at 8am, Darren drove and we went straight for some breakfast… I had a coffee with egg and salmon it was d’lish. We walked over to the hospital at 9:45. I informed the receptionist of my attendance and sat down in a bright white waiting room. I couldn’t help but scan the people and begun categorising them in my head. I looked at each and every one of them and asked myself if they look unwell or not, if they had hair and if they had the typical redness caused from the steroids. I begun getting a little tearful, I felt guilty that I still had my short curls and their were lovely men and women with no hair.
Finally, my name was called and I was asked to pick a seat, I sat next to the window and my mum and Darren sat next to me. A man came over and told me he would be fitting my PICC line, he said once the line was in they could begin chemo and after chemo I could go home. Me and Darren walked with the man to a different part of the department whilst mum stayed with my stuff and chatted to another patient. I noticed that the majority of the patients were much older than me and I think they were also looking at me thinking I looked young too( or maybe my hair was sticking up haha).
The nurse went through all the paper work, described to me what and how he would be doing the procedure and I laid on the bed. After running the ultrasound wand over my arms he said he would fit it through the right arm. I removed my bra and swapped my top for a beautiful pink gown… Not. He injected my arm with local aneasthetic and begun tracing the PICC though my veins into my chest. “Oh no, come on Hannah give me your veins” he muttered under his breath. The veins on the right side kept rejecting it, so he opted for the left arm. The same procedure happened, aneasthetic, ultrasound and….BAM It was in.
“Excellant it’s in” the nurse said..I think he was happy I hadn’t been the easiest patient. As he smiled with relief I felt a strange tingling in my chest, I said to the nurse, “David I can feel a tingling in my chest, and my chest feels heavy.. David my lips are tingling and I can feel a sensation in my legs” (David was not the name of the nurse, using David for the purpose of this blog)
David told me to stay very still as he needed to remove the PICC line very quickly as I was having a reaction. Darren told me he pulled it out fast but carefully. He elevated the back of the bed so I was sitting up right and I began to panic. At that point I was struggling to breath and my hearing became muffled, I began seeing black and white circles. Darren jumped off his seat and David told Darren to hold my hand whilst he went to get the doctor. I told Darren I couldn’t breath, Darren helped me to keep up the deep breathing. I turned my head to look at Darren holding my hand and I couldnt help but notice the sweat pouring down the palms of my hands.
David came running back with a doctor and the doctor yelped “hit the button… Call for back up” with in seconds Darren was moved out the room and I was surrounded by the most caring and calm doctors and nurses. One specific nurse kept reassuring me.. “Hannah baby you can do this, keep calm and deep breaths” they placed oxygen on my face and inserted a canulla in my arm in order to insert Piriton, Buskopan and anti-sickness.
I felt sick and with in seconds I had brought it up, it was so painful. Once I was sick the stomach cramps started.. This was all happening at the same time. Professor Silvia Montoto (my consultant who happened to be working on the unit at the time) laid me back to get the bloody flowing and I remember thinking my number had been called, my life was coming to an end and I hadn’t even started it… I was terrified!! I repeated in my head “I am strong, I can do this breath keeping breathing and do not stop” I kept saying sorry to the team helping me and thank you for their help… Needless to say I had lost dignity for one hour and I felt so sorry for the team having to deal with me.
One of the beautiful angel nurses filled up rubber gloves with hot water and massaged my stomach and back… She was just so caring and I’m so grateful for what she/they did. The cramps went and I laid back speaking to Professor Montoto. She explained I had a reaction to the local aneasthetic, Lignocaine and that my blood pressure has dropped very low. She pulled back the thin white sheet and showed me my legs… What I could see could only be described as blister looking rashes.
The doctor kept me attached to fluids and kept obversations going all afternoon. Mum and Darren were very tired from today antics but I’m so happy they were both there to support me – thanks you two.
I couldn’t have the chemo today but I said I would go back on Thursday to start it. I am still in total shock, my body feels emotionally and physically drained… We haven’t even got to the start line yet and I’m pulling out the jazz hands…. Hahaha. #Dramatic
It’s the night before my first lot of chemo, it’s been an emotional one today! I was very upset and scared this morning, I really wanted to cry some tears but they just wouldn’t come out. I went to work and was completely overwhelmed by all the support from all the lovely people I work with. I received lots of thoughtful gifts, cards and flowers…feeling the love and support.
Last night I had awful dreams about the PICC line hopefully I’ll sleep like a baby tonight and be ready for tomorrow’s fun. I have been given lots of helpful tips and advice from a lecturer from uni who went through a form of cancer and smashed it… Just like I will too!
I’m not scared for tomorrow but intrigued!!
I discovered a little quote tonight in a tiny weeny book that was bought for me by a beautiful friend.. it sums my situation up pretty well:
“People are like tea bags. You find out how strong they are when you put them in hot water.”
Morning, awake early again! I keep dreaming the strangest dreams. I tend to dream what has been on my mind during the day. I have discussed with the hospital and agreed to have a PICC line (perophereally inserted central catheter) inserted on Tuesday. It is used when having chemo to prevent my poor veins from getting damaged. You can imagine it has been on my mind…I dreamt that it was painful.
On a more brighter note, the embryologist called yesterday she said, 8 of the 13 eggs fertilised (which is great) therfore, I have 8 fertilised embryos and 5 eggs in storage!! I didn’t have any discomfort yesterday after the procedure on Friday, so I went to train with my friend Francesca. I had never trained with Francesca until yesterday, but only trained by her needless to say, it was tough but great!!
We are getting closer and closer to Tuesday and I am becoming a little anxious. I have begun reading lots of beauty tips for when I undergo the treatment… Hair care/loss, nails polish, sensitive moisturiser, primer for redness, makeup and the list goes on…I didn’t realise it would all be affected, however it’s a good excuse to go and treat myself haha.
It’s marathon day today – good luck to all taking part!
I have just got home after my egg collection. Myself and Darren arrived at Barts this morning at 8am. I had the usual observations (weight, height and blood pressure) and a cannula inserted into my vein (the needles was very big today). After, I went into a small theatre where they gave me a sedative and some strong painkillers via the cannula. I laid on the couch feeling a mixture of worry and concern about what the next 40minutes would hold. I was concerned about the pain killers not working, as those thoughts went around in my head my body felt slightly numb and my eyes closed… the sedative defiantly worked.
“Hello Hannah wake up, stand up please and sit in the chair” the procedure was done and the nurse was taking me back to the bay in the small ward. The feeling was quite nice actually haha.
18 golden eggs lighter… I sat up in a comfy chair, whilst Darren sat on the usual plastic chair beside me. An embryologist spoke to me about what they would do with the eggs they removed and that she would call me tomorrow morning. The nurse said my pulse was quite low and that I needed some sugar. Darren popped to get me a fizzy drink, which I didn’t want to drink because of my already bloated stomach. Two cups of tea, 4 cookies, a bite of a flap jack and a sip of lemonade I was ready to go home.
Before I left, me and Darren went to the day unit where I’ll be having my chemotherapy. I had to have some bloods taken and to speak to them about my chemo which will begin on Tuesday. The ward was so quiet and boring… I’ll be taking a big bag of things to keep me occupied, not sure they’ll allow me to do some press ups on the ward haha.. Just kidding.
IVF treatment done…
Now for the next treatment… chemo!!!