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Friday, 22 July 2011

Po(r)t Luck

I guess in some ways, I could say I'm an extremely lucky girl. And in others extremely unlucky. Lucky, because; they caught my disease before it spread far enough to kill me, because I have a cancer that has a cure, not only that but a 95% cure rate and only 9(ish) months of treatment, because I've not been that ill with the treatment I've had and my body seems to cope well with it. Unlucky, because; well, obviously I have cancer, because if it had been caught earlier then it would have been easier and quicker to cure, because not only do I need Chemotherapy, I also need Radiotherapy with a chance of being left infertile, and of course because of my huge lack of luck with my ports.
   I've explained, or tried to explain, what my port is before. But the nurses hate me for my ports. There's constantly a problem and when I get called into the treatment room to get my grippers in, they feel pressure and when/if they manage to get them in, even after 4 or five goes, they'll get a round of applause from the small audience I seem to always have. If any of them get in in first time, they deserve a bonus on their pay cheque. I've had a port now for four months, and in that time I've had two ports, one potentially-fatal infection and five trips to surgery for it to been seen to and probably about ten line-o-grams. Most patients with long-term illnesses such as Leukaemia, which is usually a 2-3 year treatment course, only have (on average) probably two ports.

My first problem was only a month after it firstly got inserted, my line wouldn't draw back blood and got blocked. So the nurses injected a 'Mr Muscle' type fluid in the hope it would unblock over night, unfortunately no such luck. I then got blood cultures done and it came back saying I had a Pseudomonas gram-negative bug so my line had to be removed instantly. I was told not to google Pseudomonas, because I'd get scared, so of course, I googled it to find out that 60% of people with a compromised immune system (very much me) actually die from the bug so I was glad to see the back end of that one. Two days later, I was fasted again and whirled back into surgery (24 hours after I started fasting) to get a new line put back in on the other side. Giving me more scars on my neck and side. I'm almost symmetrical now.  So HORRAY end of line problems. Ohh no no. This line decided to play the awkward game and be very mobile. To the extent that I had two nurses holding it, and one inserting the gripper. (bearing in mind that the port is less than an inch in diameter.) So no wonder my left hand side is completely nerveless and I don't even notice them putting the needles in, even without magic EMLA cream. (this could be very fun in the future)
    All was going well with line numero deux (minus the mass swelling) until one day, whilst getting fluids pumped into my, liquid started gushing down my side and continued to do so for an hour or so. I went for a line-o-gram (basically an x-ray) and there seemed to be no problem. The next day, my site wasn't nearly as swollen, but still poured liquid at us after taking it out. But the chemo must go on. That was about a month ago now and even at the beginning of the week, it was still leaking. So I got a cannula put in and got my chemo through that. Imagine getting bitten by a vampire- the excruciating, burning pain, and double that- this is how chemo going into such a small vein in your hand feels. La-dee-da got another line-o-gram (I'm sure the x-ray staff think I have a thing for them) the other day which showed the contrast they injected going into my line and pouring straight out into my tissue, which is simply not good for chemo. So, OF COURSE, today consisted of fasting and returning to the beloved theatre to remove my line.

I am now, officially lineless, with only five more infusions to go until FINITO. I'm hoping to be free my mid-October. This gets me beyond excited, if you haven't already figured.                                    

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Summer Lovinn'

So it seems my prayers have been answered and it's finally the summer holidays. Not quite going to go as I'd planned with 3 weeks in Portugal and a week in Ibiza, livin' it large and loose, but nevertheless, my friends are finally free. 8 weeks of freedom doesn't make such a difference in my current schedule, nor does a break from work since I haven't worked since March, but all the difference is made in that I now have people to chill with that are not my parents nor my nurses. AWOO. I also have the next two weeks drugless as that's my fourth cycle finished today. The end is drawing very near and I am VERY excited. 31st August is the last day of chemo, then I have radiotherapy, then my face unbloats to a normal shape and size, and life slowly becomes..normal. Wow, that's a word I haven't used in a while referring to myself. Well, summer's got off to a good, eventful, SUNNY start, although I think those three days of scorching weather seem to be over, but let's just hope the sun puts it's hat on and comes out to play for the next 8 weeks, please.

So summer is here and it seems as if spring has sprung too. Obviously not in the seasonal sense, as spring is before summer..but in the hair sense. Yes, that's right ladies and gentlemen, the hair is making a sneaky appearance. Although I've been told not to get my hopes up as, with two more cycles of chemo (only 8 more infusions though) there is a chance that it could all disappear again, but still. So the razor has been dug out from the deep corners of the bathroom and my legs are needing shaved. I was hoping in some ways that only the hair from my neck up would grow back-so my lashes, brows and head, but apparently you don't get to make that decision. I'm also beginning to worry that my hair follicles have some crazy boost and decide to grow me a beard. awkward.

As exams are finished and everyones on skite patrol, I've actually been going out. I've gone out more in the past month than i did between new year and April. Loving reconnecting with the social side of life, although I'm unfortunately not quite the skitelord I once was. (of course this is sarcastic) But I promise that I will be once this is all over. I've been told it can take up to six months to fully recover from Radiotherapy, but as my schedule currently lies, I'm free for the second week of October and do not plan to spend a single day/night at home. People keep asking me what Radiotherapy is, and the honest answer is; i do not have a scooby. All i know is they zap me every day and it burns your throat to the point where you can't eat for weeks. Sounds pretty fun eh?

I came accross this is town on Lothian Road last week with Lily. Was significantly awkward and surprisingly hillarious to me, although very offensive at the same time. What sick sick people would cut ill people's treatment to save money for the government when there's criminals living in jail costing millions who deserve to have to pay. Oh society these days..