This is an insight really in to what goes on behind closed doors at my oncology appointment. (Like you’re actually bothered haha, humour me)!
Every 3rd Wednesday is the day before my chemotherapy and targeted therapies. The purpose of 3rd Wednesdays is to check my bloods to ascertain whether my body can take another round of chemo. The big ones they check are my red blood count, my white blood count (neutrophils) and my liver function. I don’t know if all hospitals are the same but I have my bloods taken and an hour later they have my results on the screen at my oncology appointment. Ba-Bam! The speed at which things happen makes me feel super important like a VIP. Normal people wait days for blood test results, but everything is sped up when you have cancer.
Feeling well does not mean that much in terms of results, but bloods seem to be more battered towards the end of your treatment not at the beginning.
So we sit in a small room which is very clinical. There’s 2 chairs and a bed and drawers full of dressings and creams. The oncologist asks me how I am. Because it’s 3 weeks since my last chemo I feel relatively good so I always reply “great.” They ask about my side effects. This month I’ve had horrendous heartburn and acid reflux. My left eye twitches a lot, my mouth is foul and feels like it’s been coated with cement for two weeks. Everything tastes bad even water! I have painful bones and muscles for 5 days and I’m constantly tired. I know that these side effects are nothing compared to all that’s on the list. It could be worse.
We don’t talk about the emotional stuff. I’m not sure if it’s the done thing or whether they are even trained to deal with people crying or freaking out. So I don’t. Not that I really want to anyway. But let’s be honest. It’s not just physical side effects with this disease it’s tough – a test of strength and will. I don’t tell them I cried all night the week before or I have nightmares about dying because with all due respect there’s not much they can do about how I feel on the inside. (I don’t cry and I don’t have nightmares FYI, just an example).I always ask a lot of questions. If I don’t agree with something I will challenge.
I would say I’m a nice and at times humerous patient but I’m very strong-willed and confident, after all I’ve been doing this for three years now I’m practically a cancer pro!
And that’s basically it. Off I go to prepare myself for the next day. Steroids, a big dinner and an early night.
Tomorrow will be chemo no. 3. Time flies when you’re having fun…