The Science Bit
From next week I will start the Neupogen injections which will stimulate stem cell production. My white blood cell count could also rise which would worsen the current symptoms as my body comes under attack from the immune system. Chemotherapy at this stage suppresses the immune system in preparation for the harvest of stem cells on 1 July.
We left the apartment at 7am, and strode off towards the hospital arriving there about 20 minutes later. The instructions told us to report at the information desk on the second floor of the Feinberg Pavilion.
I was sent by wheelchair from the Feinberg Pavilion over to Prentice Women's Hospital (Dr Burt has his SCT unit there; I have not had a gender change!)
On arrival, I was taken to room 1571, and introduced to Glynn (the nurse who would be looking after me for the next 24 hours). She gave me an overview of what would be happening and told me that Amy Morgan would be coming in to explain things in more detail.
Amy went through my medical history, and took the list of medications to ensure that they would not interact with the chemotherapy. She also advised what I would be going through over the next week, telling me what precautions I should take and who I should contact if I had any concerns.
Then we met with Dr Burt. He walked into the room with a big smile on his face and shook my hand. This simple gesture was so reassuring for me!
His first words to me were, "Despite the nerve thickening, I think we will see improvement in your condition. We don't know what effect it will have on the nerve thickening, but it should improve the other symptoms."
We discussed my other concerns, and then he continued on his way.
This morning had started well. Today was going to be a good day!!
Glynn returned to the room, found a large vein in my right arm and put in an IV point. There was a sharp scratch, but nothing too painful.
She then started a saline drip to hydrate me, and shortly after started the Mesna drip (which would protect my bladder from the chemo therapy).
After taking a blood sample, and testing the platelet count, the pharmacy authorised the issue of the chemotherapy (Cyclophosphamide), which started at 2pm.
Two hours later, the chemo was over but the saline and Mesna would continue until 11am on Saturday.
The fatigue hit me like a wall within an hour of the chemo drip starting, and I was drifting in and out of sleep over the next few hours.
By about 8pm I was feeling mildly nauseous, but a little tablet took care of that for me, and I was able to enjoy a cheeseburger and salad for dinner.
They start me on Lasix tablets after dinner, which meant that I was having to visit the bathroom fairly frequently throughout the night order to empty the fluid from my bladder.