Chemo Preparation

On 4th June Steve and I had to attend another hosiptal appointment to go through the possible side effects of the chemo again. We were seen by a chemo nurse called Daisy. We were taken into a side room, the cancer unit is on the 5th floor of the hospital and the room had wonderful views over our town and we could almost see our house. It was a beautiful sunny day but it was all lost on me as the daunting prospect of chemo was drawing ever closer. I was just so aware of the hours ticking by until the nasty chemo drug would be pumping through me and I wanted to slow time down 🙁
Daisy was an Indian lady, very kind and had probably done the chemo speech countless times but her words were new to us so we listened carefully. Now being Indian her accent was strong and since that chat Steve and I have tried to mimic her voice but I don’t think I do it justice and I sound more Irish than Indian but it makes us laugh.
Okay so there seems to be one basic answer to every single side effect that you may have, try reading the following with an Indian accent.
If you get cold symptoms, you go A&E
If you have chest pain, you go A&E
if you are sick lots, you go A&E
If you have runs more than 10 times a day, you go A&E
If temperature goes above 37.5, you go A&E
So I think you get the basic idea as the list she goes through goes on and on with always the same advice, you go A&E. She only strayed from that advice twice and so for any mild symptoms it was “you call us and we tell you, you go A&E” and for out of hours help “you call the Oxford out of hours number, and they tell you, you go A&E”.

We were also told that parking was cheaper if you are on chemo, finally a perk! and it’s really 007 stuff too. When attending the ward you pay a reduced daily amount of £3 and in return you are issued with the secret password for that day, which as a one off special treat we were given it for that day. One other perk was that before each round of chemo starts you have to have your bloods taken at the hospital. I was issued with a special envelop for the next blood tests due prior to round two of chemo starting and it was a special colour. This meant that you just had to go straight to the reception desk and hand it in and I would be seen as a priority, no taking a number like your at the deli counter for me mate, this was like fast tracking rides at Thorpe Park.
We left with yet another leaflet on the possible side effects but instead of heading home we went into our local town to get pre chemo stuff.
Now on the pre chemo list was a soft toothbrush, pile cream (for sore bum) and condoms. We headed for Superdrug, the condom section was next to the pile cream so I’m obviously looking at pile cream and Steve is on condoms.
Steve and I had been together since October 2000 and in the early days yes we used condoms as it’s not only about preventing babies it’s about protection (that’s Health and Safety covered for any kids that maybe reading this). When Richard was old enough to be sexually active I remembered that we still had condoms left over from those early days of courtship so I decided that I’d give them to him. He took them and some hours later came downstairs and threw them at me and said that they were 7 years out of date, whoops. Good job he didn’t use them I thought and oh that reminds me I must also clear out my spice cupboard soon as there’s always scary out of date stuff in there too.

I selected the pile cream with ease as Nicky had said go for the analgesic kind to ‘numb your bum’ and poor Steve was still struggling with the condoms. “I can’t believe it” he said, back in my day there was only two choices and now there’s shelves upon shelves of choice. Which ones do we go for” he said and proceeded to go through the assortment of options. “do we want ribbed, extra sensitive, coloured, flavoured, extra large, extra extra large, latex free, Durex as a brand or Superdrugs own, which are cheaper? I didn’t know what to advise and so he opted for the Durex branded in extra, extra, extra large, in fact it said on the box ‘hung like a horse’ so at least the shop assistant would be impressed, LOL.
Back at the car park we entered the secret code for the day which was Pimms and headed home.
The next day after chemo I was issued with a big bag of drugs. The bag of drugs is always on the kitchen worktop next to the toaster (don’t ask) and in the bag is the condoms. I occasionally say “these condoms aren’t making their way upstairs are they” just to embarrass Steve in front of mom or Rebecca. He feels their presence everyday as he only brought a pack of 8 and chemo is for 6 months, how long will they last? is one of his worries and they taunt him daily.

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Married to Steve, I have two children - Rebecca and Richard. Steve has two children, Lauren and Chris. Rebecca lives with us (nurse Rebecca) and my mom Judy also has become nurse and housekeeper but lives in the West Midlands. My son is in the Army and comes home when he can. I am 47, born in 1967 and I was told I had bowel cancer on 22nd Feb 2015 and this blog is my journey through it. I hope it helps you as you were the reason I started it.

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