Tag Archives: pacitaxol

first cycle complete!

Well – another long day at the hospital yesterday.  Kim dropped me at Cathy’s at 8.30 in the morning.  Had brekkie with her then headed into the hospital.  Had my dressings from the operation changed in the morning and whilst they had a room ready for me this time, my chemo drugs had not arrived and didn’t turn up til about 12.30.  Cathy stayed chatting til about 12 – it was nice to bounce some work ideas off her and gossip and then I just relaxed til the chemo finished just before 5.  Chemo was so much easier with my line in – no needles, and it doesn’t get all cold like it does in your arm.  My neck is still a little sore but will get better.  Kim came to pick me up and we drove straight down to Barton.  

I was really tired and grouchy last night but we found a decent Indian takeaway and had a yummy Rogan Josh.  Planning a quiet weekend – a nice meal out tonight, Mandie and her dog Bob are visiting in the daytime tomorrow but other than that lots of R&R and short walks.  Kim is still struggling to train with his achiles hurt.  He was crazy enough to don his wetsuit and attempt to swim in the sea this morning but his face just got too cold so he didn’t make it very far!  He has the OS maps out though and is planning a big cycle instead.

So, that’s the first cycle of chemo over.  5 more to go – I’m looking forward to my week off next week and have a few nice things planned as well as a bit more work.  Still planning to take it easy though – don’t worry!


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Work update

Well I made it into work this morning.  Had a good natter with my colleagues and then met with the Head of the Business Partners team who briefed me on a project that she and the HR Leadership team would like me to scope and work on – it’s a great little project about developing talent and capability within HR.  (Brainstorming with my ex-colleagues would be appreciated!).  Quite excited about the project. 

Unfortunately however, the driving did wear me out and I was meant to hang around to have lunch with my team at 1pm but by 12 I was fading fast so I said my goodbyes and got myself home.  Lunch perked me up so I started watching this seasons ‘Lost’ (I know – I’m miles behind) and then went over the road for a cuppa with my neighbour and her kiddies.

My feet have started to ache this evening and seem a bit swollen – a side effect of the Taxol.  Not too worried about chemo tomorrow – the lack of nausea last time has helped me relax about it a little.  I’m getting my Groshong line fitted next Tuesday after chemo. 

Time for bed! 

Amy x

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First chemo done – so far so good

I have just awoken from the longest sleep ever – about 15 hours!  (Thank goodness – a completely different first night to last time when I was projectile vomiting all night!).

We had a very long day yesterday – turned up at the hospital just before 10.30.  Waited about an hour to see Dr O who spent some good time going through all our questions, showed me the scan report that had been talked through over the phone and signed my consent form for the chemo.   Then, we had to sit and wait for chemo.  We grabbed a sandwich from the trolley then a nurse came and told us it would be at least 1pm before we started so to go and stretch our legs.  We had a brisk half hour walk in the sunshine and headed back for one.  About an hour and a half later I was finally called in!

I was glad to see a familiar face – Nurse C – a no-nonsense older nurse who I knew never had any problems getting my veins in the past and sure enough she got my canular in without fuss.  (For those who don’t know, most chemos are admitted intravevously so a needle called a canular is fixed permanently in the back of your hand for the duration which they can then screw different bags and tubes in to feed through all the various drugs).

So chemo started – fed a bag of saline through to flush it out, then the Avastin.  That took about an hour in total and no side effects.  Then they had to put through another flush, some anti-sickness meds and some antihistamines before I could have the Taxol.  By the time we were due to start Taxol it was getting late – about 5pm, and the private ward was closing.  They asked if I would mind walking down to the main chemo ward and I said I was fine but within 5 minutes of that conversation I came over all woosy  (the antihistamines had knocked me out I think) so we got a wheelchair organised for the long walk through the hospital.  From then on I pretty much slept through the rest of the treatment – about another 90 minutes or so.  So we finally left the hospital at 7pm.  I slept all the way home, crashed on the sofa until the pizza arrived (new rule – no diet on chemo days), ate it and promptly fell back to sleep.   Kim ferried me to bed and other than a little diarrohea I haven’t had any problems at all.  Slept through til 9am and feeling okay today, if a bit spaced out.

So, promising stuff – I know there will be side effects but at least I don’t have to worry about sickness.  It also means I feel more comfortable accepting offers from other friends to look after me on chemo days when Kim has to work as I wouldn’t have wanted to put them out if the sickness was bad – but I know I’ll be the perfect houseguest – fast asleep wherever you put me!


p.s GOOD LUCK TONI – Thinking of you xxxx


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The rest of the diagnosis: Part Two

It has taken several weeks and piecing together lots of bits of info to arrive at todays diagnosis, which is not 100% complete even at this stage.  It is actually quite difficult now to remember exactly what order we learned all the bits of info so this might not be a  completely accurate record.

After the initial diagnosis I had to wait a week to get booked in for scans.  In one Monday I managed to fit 3 scans in:  First, the MRI of my head which I have written about already.   For this you lie in a machine with headphones on and keep still.  There is an injection of some fluid that helps them scan you. 

Next, a CT scan – you lie on a bed that moves through a big  ‘donut’  scanner and it took pictures of my body from my pelvis up to my neck.  This is actually quite a quick one, except you have to drink a special drink before hand which takes a while take effect so you have to wait once you’ve taken it.  Also, there is another big injection to have, which is supposed to be injected by a machine.  In my case, however as soon as the machine started injecting I screamed with pain as it really stung.  Unfortunately this is as a result of my previous chemo weakening my veins so much that they couldn’t take the pressure of the machine injection.  As soon as I screamed they stopped it and a nurse came and did it gently by hand instead.

Once the CT was out of the way, we headed over to the main Radiology dept for an injection of a radioactive dye which takes 3 hours to take effect.  We disappeared for a while in the 3 hours (not relaxing unfortunately – we had to go to my house to get a removal quote) and then I came back and had a bone scan.  This again, involved lying still for about 40 mins whilst a machine slowly scanned me.  After a day when I spent most of it lying still on my back I was exhausted!

We then had to just wait (again) until the Friday before we got any news.  Work was so busy that I was not too anxious at this point – I just threw myself into it.  On Friday we met with Mr B who delivered the news:  Good, bad and ugly.  The good news was that the bone scan was completely clear.  The MRI showed no activity except a bit of thickness at the back of my eye.  The not so great news was that the CT had shown three areas of ‘suspicion’:  my right breast, a small area at the top of my right lung and my left armpit.   The other bad news was that they had done more work on the original biopsy and found that it was not a new DCIS primary cancer, it was in fact a bit of cancer within a blood vessel in my breast (i.e spread from somewhere else).

This meeting raised so many questions, most of which Mr B was not able to answer.  We came away confused and deflated, without any clear answers about what would happen next.   We knew that Mr B was going on a weeks holiday but he promised to contact some colleagues over the weekend and to call on Monday with more update.  

Over the weekend my eye got worse, Monday came and went and we grew more and more frustrated.  At this point I was still trying to do my job, but by the end of the week as more bits of info came through I found myself thinking less about work and more about the cancer.  Mr B did call and explained that they wanted me to have another scan (a PET CT) and that he wanted to talk to a thorassic surgeon about what was going on in my lung.

So another week passed whilst I waited for the PET scan.  In the meantime I think that’s when I saw the eye surgeon who confirmed the cancer and my radiotherapy was set up.  The PET scan was similar to the CT except this time I had an injection half an hour before the scan and had to lie still to let it spread around my body before I went in.  Luckily this time I didn’t have long to wait for results as Mr B called me that evening to confirm it had shown evidence of cancer in my armpit and lung.  Therefore, he said, the most likely course of action would be a course of Chemotherapy.  He still had to speak to the thorassic guy to see whether I might need any additional action on my lung, and suggested Dr O (onc) would be in touch regarding the chemo. 

I saw Dr O at my radiotherapy planning meeting on Thurs.  He confirmed he was recommending a course of chemo.  This would be a combination of two drugs, Pacitaxol (which I have had before) and Avastin (a controversial new drug normally only given to private patients in the UK at the moment but with good results in the US and other countries).  Last time I had chemo I had 8 sessions over 5 months.  This is planned to be 18 sessions over 6 months (YES I did say 18!).   Chemo is the best treatment in my circumstances as the cancer has obviously spread to a number of places and drugs are the only way to systemically treat the whole body at once.  If there are any tumours left at the end they may operate, and radiotherapy can be used to treat very specific localised cancers, but chances are there are small traces of cancer in places that haven’t shown on the scans yet so the chemo should blast them all.

So I finished the radiotherapy to my eye and had to get PPP to approve the Avastin and now I’m booked in for a pre-chemo session on Friday, where they will fit a PICC line (which I have requested) and then I start chemo on Tuesday.  It will be every Tuesday for 3 weeks, 1 week off and then start again x6!

Of course I’m scared – I remember how awful I felt last time.  I expect I’ll probably lose most of my hair within a month of starting, and I don’t know whether I’ll be sick or not this time.  However, I guess if I’ve done it before I can do it again.


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