Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Zitta-dee-doo-dah! Zitta-dee-day!

So after complacently cruising through chemo round 2, I can report that like most aspects of the cancer journey there's a fairly consistent cloud to every silver lining. In this case just three days after the cetuximab was pumped into my system, a rash appeared on my chest. This, of course, is recognised as being a sign of it's efficacy and I am very pleased it's to have the rash. Initially bright red rash appeared with the odd 'acneform' spot that was painless and easy to ignore. No comedones in sight just a maculopapular rash. Oh yes, I am fully conversant in the language of spots these days. For those of you less fluent 'comedones' are blackheads, and an 'acneform' rash is 'acne like' but not actually acne and maculopapular means something too. And I have really bad peritus (itching). Lord knows why the medical profession can't just use common parlance (speech).  

Anyway by the weekend my 'ooh this is a positive sign' happiness had worn off and the horribly itchy spots throughout my scalp, round my nose and mouth had become a tad less 
exciting. I now have spots across my scalp, covering my chest and back, round my nose, hairline and chin and I'm wearing so much cover up I could easily join a reality TV show - admittedly it's pasty white not orange but the look is all there. I've had to stop wearing a necklace as the itching is so unbearable and have taken to downing a few anti-histamines to cope. 

So by Tuesday the scabby horrible itching reduced me to tears and I phoned my lovely husband at lunchtime sobbing with self pity. He was of course wonderful and whilst my skin still felt horrible at least I'd had a virtual hug and some extra support. 

Fortunately my up and down emotions can create some moments of humour. Later on that day Al received another phone call from me. When he answered he could only hear some strange noises and my voice breaking up. Thinking I was crying he reassured me that everything was okay and said "it's alright sweetheart you can talk to me, just tell me what's wrong". What a lovely man. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, this kindness was directed at my back pocket. Al was gently and sweetly, giving love and support to a misdialed call. I had inadvertently dialled his number when I put my phone in my pocket. Still as someone with bowel cancer I expect my bottom could do with extra reassurance.  

Today's trip to the hospital was fine, and they've doubled my antibiotics to keep the cetuximab rash under control. This is good, as currently without make-up I could frighten people. Rather than 16 from the back 60 from the front, I have a case of 14 from the chin and 40 from the wrinkles. It does seem a little unfair. However I am also aware that without the spots I would be seriously stressed that the cetuximab wasn't working. I can tell you all, that other than the vaguely pleasant train trip to Guilford, there's not a completely easy part of this journey...

My 14 year old chin...thank god for cover up!

My Chemical Romance

So what a difference two weeks or at least a major change in attitude can make.

Two weeks ago chemotherapy laid me out; it made me sick (although some of that was a bit of medication adjustment needed), my bones and muscles ached and I was completely exhasuted. The weekend of chemotherapy was basically meant a lost one. And not in any sort of fun way.

The second weekend of chemotherapy has been far more managable. In fact, I've pretty much sailed through it. Yes I've been tired, and the steroids are a disaster sleep wise
but we also completed a successful (and obscenely expensive) trip to Waitrose (I'm much too ill for Sainsburys), had a lovely long dog walk and I've made brownies, cheese scones and a cherry cake, oh and squeezed a sharp new bob into the mix (haircut). All good.

To back-track to Friday night...

On Friday night I attempted to exorcise my steroid demon through a relaxation app, Tibetan monk chants, and yogic breathing - did I mention the resurggence of my inner-hippy? I managed to avoid whacking Al in the face but by 2am the gentle and holistic techniques were out the window and some sleeping pills were required. A blunter tool but pretty essential. I could feel my limbs twitching and buzzing and thoughts were racing through my head randomly and annoyingly.

Not relaxing enough for me.

However this didn't destroy Saturday. Al managed to keep Rosie under-control (this is a major achievement) and I went back to sleep for an hour. So the day was recovered and had a lovely walk with the dog, and the chemotherapy.

Al says this is a hand grenade. I say it goes in the washing machine. Men are from Mars...

Saturday night saw a far early submission to the sleeping drugs but then I woke up at 3.30am wide awake and speeding through the valley of the 'roids. Getting a grip on my other side-effects has been wonderful but this one is a challenge.

So other than some sleeplessness it's been exceptionally uneventful.  Maybe I should make this blog about baking?