The second lot of chemo Gordon began well. We went in a little earlier as Gordon’s blood levels needed to be checked each time before chemo. He got his blood count check and his red blood count was 108. His other bloods came up a little low, but okay for chemo. Apparently the chemo will destroy the good blood cells as well as the bad ones, so the doctors have to keep an eye on everything – good and bad.
We didn’t have to wait long for a chair (sometimes the chairs can get full with the amount of chemo patients and they call it a chair wait), and we got taken in to one of the smaller rooms.
Before they can even begin the chemo treatment, they need to run anti-nausea medication through the portacath. This takes about an hour, so Gordon sits in a big, comfortable lounge type chair while Kiki and I sit nearby. The nurses are always running back and forth, checking on the drip, checking on the medication and being absolutely wonderful.
When it comes time for the chemo to be put through, it comes out covered in a black bag (I’ve been told two reasons – one is that it’s toxic and the other reason is that it can’t have any light on it). I’ll check and let you know next time… 🙂 When the chemo gets fed through, the nurses have to gown up in the ‘magic purple aprons’, deep purple gloves and cannot let us near it.
We had a lovely nurse, “Kym” the first time Gordon had chemo, and the second time round, he had another lovely nurse too. Unfortunately, I can’t remember her name, (which I blame on chemo fog).
During this time, Kiki and I wait patiently and try and stay out of the way. Kiki immersed herself in a book this time round, and I simply talked to Gordon about nothing that I can remember… (that chemo fog again)!
Because the whole process takes a few hours (probably four all up), Kiki and I decided to go to the nearby Subway store and get some dinner. It was nice to walk outside of the hospital and get some fresh air. Kiki doesn’t say much about Gordon and what she’s feeling, but I hope one day she’ll open up and tell me her version of all of this.
Nearly at the End
When we came back from getting our dinner, Gordon had been given some sandwiches, a cup of tea and some cookies. He loves his coffee, so I’d gone and got him a coffee from the hospital cafe (which he tells me isn’t too bad – high praise from him). Dr Jim Coward (his oncologist), was there and was explaining that things were looking good and that once the chemo had gone through, they had flushed the IV, then we could go home and enjoy Christmas. Yay! Nearly finished.
Kiki and I finished our Subway and my sister turned up. Being a Breast Cancer Survivor herself, she liked to ‘check in’ and see what was happening to Gordon. She always did nice things for him, like send a card when he was coming up to his next round of chemo or cook us dinners when Gordon was in hospital. We also have a closed Facebook group set up for Gordon, and she is always posting encouraging thoughts there for him.
Soon it was time for the IV to be flushed through and we were all sitting around chatting. Soon enough, the nurse came by and said that there was only about 10 minutes to go, so Kiki and I decided we would move the car (as the parking meter was about to expire) to the front of the hospital in the 15 minute parking zone. It would make it easier for Gordon to get to it to go home.
While we were gone, Gordon began having adverse reactions to the chemo. By the time we returned, he was on an oxygen mask as his larynx was constricting, his muscles were involuntarily twitching, his hands were trembling and they had him on an ECG. Dr Coward was there as well as two other nurses. Dr Coward ordered some magnesium to help him and new blood tests. The ECG was showing erratic heart movements, his oxygen levels were low and his twitching was getting worse.
They didn’t know why he was having such a reaction to the chemo drugs, nor did they know what was going on with his heart. He had had a stent put in a week before we got married, earlier in the year, so they were concerned. He was admitted to hospital and taken to the Cardiac Care Unit (CCU), where he had four nurses monitoring him all night.
By the time Kiki and I got home, it was 11pm. It had been a very long day…..
You might like to read: How we coped at Christmas, living with the side effects of Chemo.