So I'm back in Barts. It's been a long day but finally my chemo has started. The first bag went up about 19:45. Hopefully that will mean I'm done by early Friday morning. Today has been mostly sitting around in the Day room. I arrived at 10:00 and after a quick blood test and a history check up, I had to wait for a bed to come free. Sometimes it's quiet on the ward and you get assigned a bed in like 20 minutes. Today though they are running at full capacity. So I had to wait for another patient to be transported to another ward. It was almost 16:00 by the time I got my room. Weirdly it's room 6 where I was last chemo session. I have returned to the scene of the crime.
Before I could start chemotherapy I have to have a central line fitted. This is a thick tube that is inserted into a vein which the drugs are then delivered intravenously. Last time around they tried unsuccessfully to insert it in to my neck. After the doctors had about eight attempts a anaesthetist was called from surgery to try. He does this for a living and even he couldn't do it. The process is painful as it involves having local anaesthetic and then a bloody big needle pushed into your vein. Then a guide wire is inserted so the tube goes into the right place and doesn't end up going into the artery which is sitting next door to your vein. It's like a complex version of the game where you have to get a loop of wire around an obstacle course without setting off the buzzer. Anyway the upshot of all this is they had to go in via my groin. Now that sounds painful especially if you are reading this and also happen to be a man. I have to say it was a lot less painful then my neck, which swelled up so much I looked like David Coulthard.
So this time around they went straight for the groin. After a quite painful exploratory effort on my left side, they switched to my right and had much better luck. My vein was in much better shape and guided by ultrasound they got the tube in. No wonder junkies swear by shooting up there. The great thing about a central line is that it spares my arms being battered by cannulas. Also they can draw blood from there so my arms should escape too much needle action.
The process of having chemotherapy is quite painless, but does cause side effects. So before my first bag went up I had an anti emetic to try and stop any sickness. My main worry is sleep as I have insomnia and don't want to be woken up when I do get to sleep at night. Trouble is the chemo is in 4 hour bags which means changes at midnight then again at 0400. They have to wake you up to check your date of birth and NHS number. It's a safety check thing which I get in theory but in practice is bloody annoying. Anyway such is life of a cancer patient. Onwards!
Currently I'm listening to Pete Paphides on second albums.. Watching Rich Hall on American Indians... Reading Emma Jackson on indie music and misrepresentation of women.
Production Note: Squarespace is working badly on my tablet. I can't post pictures or make links work. I'll try and fix this for next time!