Yes, I’m back. I started ‘Chemo’ on Tuesday morning, 18 November. I discovered that I did not have a key gene type (HER2) that would have meant I could be treated with a Chemo cocktail with Herceptin added. This has been shown to benefit stomach cancer patients that have the gene, but not those without – like me. I am in the bigger group (90% of us). So, one of the bits of good luck I was hanging in for has fallen away, and I join the majority of patients battling with one of the other well-researched treatment regimes. Mine is called EOX. EOX stands for Epirubicin; Oxaliplatin; Xeloda. The first two drugs are infused through a cannulated vein over three hours and then I take the X pills twice daily for three weeks, usually dissolved in warm water – yuk – what a taste!
Since I had the blood transfusion on Friday and a better eating (read, drinking!) weekend I felt a little stronger to commence the Chemotherapy on Tuesday. That shite (EOX) soon puts pay to that! I felt marginally better for about a day and then have been feeling sick for much of the time – predicted apparently.
One of the combination drugs. oxaliplatin, in this case, causes hypersensitivity to cold things (eg touch fridge door, cold water, cold air etc) and sends pins and needles through my fingers for a while – very disconcerting! My worst shock was when I inadvertantly had a drink of less than luke warm water, and sent my throat into spasm, and felt I couldn’t breathe. The doctors did explain this would happen, and tried to re-assure me it would only be perception as I wasn’t really choking! Haven’t they heard that perception is actually all there is? Anyway, the good news is that this immediate effect lasts for about three days and gradually fades until the next round – about three weeks time. (It doesn’t actally – I’m still feeling it nearly a week later!) Then, repeat, and repeat etc. Longer term permanent numbness in fingers and toes is a possibility, but we’ll deal with that, if and when.
Now this really is me.
Photo taken this morning nearly one week after the start of Chemo, and three stones lighter than at Easter! Yep, I have problems, but nothing we are not trying to face as positively as we can!
The good news last Tuesday was that I was informed of the results of my cardiac pre-testing (Chemo drugs may be cardiotoxic). Blood pressure – normal (check); heart rate – normal (check); Pulse – normal (check); Heart trace – normal, (check); Muga Radiographic analysis of heart fraction ejection – 67 (apparently 60 is normal so – check, I think!). Whoopee!!!