Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Chemo is done!

Whoo-hoo. I went in for the final chemo session today. The ologist decided to abbreviate the last session based on the fact that one of the side effects of the CPT11 drug had begun to kick in and he was concerned that it may get far worse with a full third session. I won’t go into the details too far but I’ll quote him – “You won’t want to spend the day of your son’s wedding sitting on the can!” So my last chemo was just a full infusion of the cisplatin drug without the CPT11 frosting on top.

I certainly won’t miss the new drug as it really messed around inside my head – a tenuous place at the best of times. After last Tuesday’s chemo round, I suffered most of the week from what is known as “chemo-head”, only really coming out of it on Monday afternoon. Basically I was in a fog although my thoughts were coming thick and fast. Trouble is, I couldn’t process them properly. A thought would come along, clear and lucid, but then be instantly replaced by another before I could do anything with it. “What was that?” was the main repeating thought of the week. I also had a giant case of the munchies all week – in fact I put on a few pounds. Hhmm. Can’t concentrate. Giant munchie frenzy. Surely this stuff can’t be related to… No, of course not. Whatever am I thinking?

The other major effect that I’ve been suffering is tinnitus or noise in my head that’s not really there but goes on continuously. Now I’m sure everyone’s seen the Lord of the Rings” movies. You remember when the great orc army goes on the march? (The orcs are those ugly unwashed things with British accents and Austin Powers teeth.) The orcs are chanting and belching, banging their swords on their shields, and their footsteps crash in lock-step over the land. From the distant castle the noise comes on the wind, faintly at first as quiet conversation falters and fails, then building, slowly and ominously. As the army gets nearer and finally appears over yonder blasted hill, the guttural sounds swell to a fearsome crescendo that chills the mind and dulls the senses.

Well, my noise is nothing like that at all; good grief, that would be really scary. My noise is hard to describe, but is high pitched and continuous. Consider countless microbe-sized three year old girls, all playing together at once in between my ears. That’s my noise. It’s relatively background so doesn’t interfere with speech or hearing too much, but it’s there all the time in the quiet moments. So I hope it goes away. Actually, my brother Robin has suffered from tinnitus since the early 1970s and in 1981 he went barking mad from it, so I really do hope it goes away or I’ll need to be locked up as well.

Sound a bit whiney, don’t I? Well, as many of you will attest, I’m still getting off very lightly compared to most. I plucked up a great deal of financial courage and had a haircut on Saturday, hang the expense. Yes, my hair, or what there was of it when this whole thing began, is still in place. I do make sure not to make sudden movements with my head, but so far so good. My weight is still pretty much what it was when I started as well. I’m back to eating most everything, albeit with some discomfort from the radiation burning inside. I cannot praise enough the attitude of all the ologists, in particular the chemo dude, for keeping our deep desire to make it to Kevin’s wedding at the forefront of my treatment. Every choice that’s been made has had two main components – is it going to kill the beast and is it going to leave me in a fit state for travel to the wedding, eating steak, drinking English ale, and embarrassing my son and his new bride.

It’s looking really very good at the moment.


At 10:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are even funnier with the pen than in person, and that is saying a mouthful!
So happy that the sounds in your head are microbial sized three year olds and not Orcs, but I do sympathize. I get that every once in a blue moon and it is distracting to say the least.
We look forward to news and pictures of the wedding. Have an English Ale for us and try not to embaress the kids too much!
Hugs and kisses, Lora

At 11:16 AM, Anonymous Robin said...

I take umbridge at the bit where I went mad in 1981 - I went mad in 1947 and have been suffering with Rogeritus ever since. Tinnitus is nothing compared with Rogeritus, but I know what (or who) I would rather put up with in the long term.

Your mad brother. See you at the wedding.

At 3:53 PM, Anonymous Chris & Gill Hunt said...

Sounds as if you are getting the better of the beast, sense of humour leaves a lot to be desired though, as usual, but good that you still have it. Will raise a glass of English REAL ale to you and yours on the 9th. Extreemly pleased that you will be able to make it to blighty for Kevin's wedding. Look forward to seeing the photo's. Have a safe trip, love to Kath and the boy's. Gill send's a special hug to be redeemed on our next visit!!


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