On Starting Chemo (again)
You take what makes me
to the brink and back, see which
cells survive the cull
I had my first chemo session today – a combination of epirubicin and cyclophosphamide. Epirubicin is an amazing bright red colour (as will your pee be for the first 12 – 24 hours!). I always think of chemo as the old sledgehammer to crack a nut analogy.
In order to try and wipe out the cancer cells the drugs will have to be indiscriminate and destroy lots of other types of dividing cells too. It explains all the delightful side effects form chemo- hair loss, skin problems, fatigue, stomach problems, nausea and vomiting, constipation, nails dropping off, weakness etc etc The hope is that these cells – from you hair, gut, intestines, skin, bowel etc will replaced and repaired whereas the wee cancerous buggers, that divide so much more rapidly and can’t repair themselves and will die off. Obviously they can be crafty and are continually changing and evolving and not being affected by treatments and not all of them will be killed off. In the really full-on chemos, it’s almost as if patients are being taken to the brink of death but not quite – to be resurrected again hopefully minus their cancerous cells.
Mine will hopefully not be as bad as that but won’t be a walk in the park.
I have read about fasting being a positive thing to do – a couple of days before , then during and then a day after your chemo apparently allows the chemo drugs to target the cancer cells more effectively while being kinder to healthy cells and minimising side effects. I have managed just over 60 hours on water only (with a sneaky miso soup when i got wobbly) but it didn’t help that the lady in the chair opposite me in the ward was given a Mars bar or that later on some lovely ward helper was offering me and the last remaining guy in our section coffee and biscuits. Had to restrain myself from wheeling over my chemo stand and ripping the packets from his hand. Still not long to go…I am already planning my post-fast first meal. Dreaming of squishy toast and peanut butter, probably not the healthiest option but go with what your body tells you (although I am ignoring its suggestions of piles of chocolates and cakes…although whose to say what happens when I get unleashed in the supermarket…). So far my side effects have been fairly minimal but we are only on day 1 – lets hope this red devil is a bit more of an angel on this occasion…