If you don’t look in the mirror have you lost any hair?

One of the well-known side effects of chemotherapy is hair loss. Of course it is different for each person (and each drug) but in anticipation I had my hair cut short and trimmed my beard. I also ensured that I had suitable headgear in case the loss of hair created a cold spot on my head (a relative even offered to knit me a balaclava). Continue reading “If you don’t look in the mirror have you lost any hair?”

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Countdown – three weeks to normality?

Last Thursday was my sixth (of six) chemo session. So the last three week cycle of  my neutrophils and white blood cells running for cover, bottoming out between seven and ten days later before starting to recover so that I am fit enough to be zapped again. This time though no more zapping. Actually zapping is the wrong word, more appropriate for radiotherapy than for chemotherapy, but I will stick with it for now. Continue reading “Countdown – three weeks to normality?”

Wobbly legged and listless

Wobbly legged and listless – I am sure it was a hit in the 1970’s

 Wobbly legged and listless

I’ve gone and done it again

Wobbly legged and listless

My blood is full of my chemo

Chemo, I can’t get free from these veins

Oh, oh-oh

 Well maybe not (sorry Andy Fairweather-Low). I saw my Oncology Consultant today and everything seems to heading in the right direction. The next consultation is in October just before my birthday – gosh doesn’t time fly. Only ten days to chemo 6 – my last session. Continue reading “Wobbly legged and listless”

Woolly thinking and Wollongong Snails

Before I get on to woolly thinking and the destruction of the English language I have some news just in from ‘down under’. A new class of molecules adapted from the white rock sea snail  could help fight off cancer cells, according to new research from the University of Wollongong and the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute. Of course it is early days and it could be five to ten years before any new drugs are available.  These new molecules killed 100% of drug-resistant lab-grown cancer cells in 48 hours, ten times the effectiveness in the same time of one existing chemotherapy drug used against breast cancer. Continue reading “Woolly thinking and Wollongong Snails”

Three down, three to go

Last week I had my third chemotherapy session (of six) followed by appointments with my GP and Oncology Consultant. The chemo session was very efficient and quick – we hardly needed the chit for the car to allow us to stay over two hours. The next session might be a little longer because of additional information needed for the Stampede trial. Continue reading “Three down, three to go”

“You don’t feel your usual peachy self”

That is how my sister-in-law described being on chemotherapy – not ill but not your usual peachy self. She had a different regime to me with weekly doses then a gap and then the same cycle again (more a Matterhorn than my Ben Nevis to use my earlier analogy). At one time there was just a pretty standard dose for all cancers but now it is fine-tuned to the cancer, where it’s at and to the patient. The dose is calculated on the individual’s surface area (estimated from height and weight)! Continue reading ““You don’t feel your usual peachy self””

So you want to know what my chemo session is like?

Three weeks on from my first chemo session and it’s time for Round 2. Visiting a hospital is a bit like being on the tube in London – you are surrounded by people who don’t talk but you can study them and try to guess what they are doing. Going in to Wycombe Hospital the first impression is “Oh dear, these people look ill”. Going in to the CCHU at SMH (sorry Cancer Care and Haematology Unit at Stoke Mandeville Hospital – home of the Paralympics) the impression is a little different – you know that everyone is a cancer patient or their partner or friend, but you have no idea  what form of cancer or what their prognosis is. Initially I assumed that every male had prostate cancer but soon got over that misconception. Continue reading “So you want to know what my chemo session is like?”