Chemo tablets, ‘All you can eat’ and Grading

I’m just two days away from completing the first cycle of chemo I thought today about how I haven’t really explained much about what I have to take in terms of drugs. As this blog is to help people I thought I’d do the science bit for you. Xelox is an infusion of Oxalipatin and Capecitabine. An infusion! it sounds like a blend of tea or a marinade for meat. Oxalipatin is the shit that burns through your veins via a drip and the Capecitabine is the tablet form. The dose in the tablets given is based on your weight, height etc. I take 1650mg (4 actual tablets) twice a day. Which will have to be increased if I keep putting weight on at the current rate LOL.

I need to share with you how much I hate taking tablets. As a young girl probably about 10 years old I had to take tablets for something, I can’t remember what was wrong with me. I just couldn’t physically swallow them. My mom, trying very hard to help me, tried hiding them in food, cutting them up and all other mom tricks she knew to get me to swallow them but nothing worked. As a last resort she placed a pound note on the table (yes the old green paper note) and said “if you swallow the tablet the £1 is yours” well I considered it for a nano second and down the tablet went in one gulp. Mom was delighted and so was I as I really did think that I was going to get £1 every time I took a tablet! The damage was done, I had proved I could swallow tablets but I have always hated it and often gag. So for me taking 12 (for the first 3 days) and then 8 everyday for two weeks is hard. At tablet time twice a day, I still have to have a treat for when I have taken the tablets, another reason why I’m gaining weight i think, I also have to punch the air saying “champion” as if I’ve accomplished some great achievement.

‘All you can eat’, sounds good hey! so now your reading this and thinking of a Chinese buffet, spare ribs, crispy duck etc well I’m sorry to disappoint you but that’s not what I’m thinking about.
On Sunday Steve and I were walking Molly over the park and we were talking about how life changes with cancer. This is an important conversation I’m about to have with Steve as I’m due in one week to go into hospital to have the second cycle intravenously and it is the Oxalipatin that burns your veins and your arm is out of action for about 5 days. My fanny as previously discussed in the blog is radioactive and so is my mouth. Kissing is now reduced to a peck, no open mouth action and definitely no tongues! My left arm is weak and hurts sometimes due to the swollen lymph nodes and so there is not much of me that I can offer to my husband (in the biblical sense) that is okay and usable, oh my feet are okay, LOL. This is important as I need to decided which arm I am going to have the Oxalipatin shit pumped into a week on Friday.
My wonderful hubby Steve just said that “pre cancer I was like an ‘all you can eat’ buffet. That everything was on the menu, the menu varied throughout the year like the seasons but someone has reduced the menu from the delicious all you can eat to make your own sandwiches”. Now I thought this was funny and decided to share it with you all as he is right. Top tip, before chemo go for the all you can eat option, stuff yourself silly because the options on the menu reduce quickly depending on your side effects. Or if sex is a problem for you to discuss with your partner then try the analogy of the buffet to break the ice :-).

In the last 24 hours I have been contacted by some lovely people. Old friends from school, new people I don’t actually know and current supporters in my journey. I thank you all for your kind messages. One made me very sad as it was someone who had cancer in the girlie bits. They had a full hysterectomy and because they are okay and clear said in their message that they didn’t like to talk about it as their cancer wasn’t as bad as mine. I’m sad that we feel the need to grade our cancers. For me cancer is cancer. The journey my old friend had been on was no less traumatic than mine. The fear, worry, tests, hope would have been the same. That moment when you truly have to look at your life and say to yourself “oh no I stand to lose all that I have and that is precious to me” is sobering. If you are at stage 1 or stage 4 you still go through the same emotional trauma, you just have a better chance of survival at stage 1. Please don’t anyone reading this ever feel that you have to belittle what you went through or are going through as cancer is cancer. If you need to talk about it then do and I’m listening, I’m here to try and help if I can and you don’t have to put a number to your cancer as it’s all shit to me.

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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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