FUCK! It hurts!!!!!!
It seems as if I contributed to my Blog relentlessly at first and now its slowed down. I have no clue how regularly one should ‘Blog’? Is it weekly, bi-weekly? I just don’t know. Safe to say however, the last 48hrs from this sentence, writing has been the last thing on my mind.
Prior to my diagnosis, I had given very little thought to Chemotherapy. Really, I hadn’t. I can’t readily think of anyone that I’ve known who’s been stricken by Cancer other than...
My ‘Old Man’ had Prostate Cancer, discovered by accident, early enough for treatment to give him a further 13 years. Due to my remoteness (physical and ‘we don’t talk about that‘ family style), I’m not 100% sure that his Bowel Cancer was a metastasised Cancer; I want to say it was but I’m not sure. Perhaps my Sis will confirm. He died after post-op complications to deal with a wee fucker tumour in his Bowel
A mate, to whom I’ve referred a couple of times in previous posts, you know, the fucking annoying one, had prostate Cancer too. His was identified and fully re-sectioned all in a space of 3 months (at 53). That seems hell of a quick process to me. I’m still not entirely sure he’s telling the full story.
Funny though, that this 54yo male has had 2 Cancer experiences and they’re both Prostate Cancer. so off we go 'below the line' for the HR mumbo-jumboists amongst us.
For the blokes, have a look at TURP. Once your eyes have stopped watering, please make sure you have your GP stick his digit up your clacker regularly. Please note, this does not have to be frequently; frequency I guess is a matter of preference. This ‘Blogger’ does not like it and I’ll stick with every 2 years thanks very fucking much.
All blokes over 50 should be subject to this shitty process (try not to make it shitty if you can). Get the fuck over it and get it done. MOST blokes will die with Prostate Cancer. Just not necessarily from it.
Oh, and a foot note, my GP reckons if YOUR GP tries to use more than one finger, he’s enjoying it and some deeper questions may need to be explored (see what I did there).
Safe also to say that, that wee dalliance has fuck all to do with the intention of this post other than, the only Cancer I have exposure of is Cancer of the Willy Walnut. Whether that Cancer, or its treatment, is sore……. well, I’ll now assume it is in addition to reading that it FUCKING MUST BE.
(Such is the silly wee schoolboy humour in me, I wanted to post a picture of the procedure, but I’m sure most, if not all, of you can Google it and see for yourself how fucking painful that must be) ((especially as I would insist on it being done without anaesthetic, NOT))
As posted previously, I had round 2 of my Chemotherapy on 11th May. That round was R-HiDAC. R-HiDAC is Retuximab + high dose cytarabine (HiDAC). If you recall, I had to have a BARD PowerLine fitted to facilitate the administration of (I’m sure it’s) the Cytarabine component. In short, my understanding is the Cytarabine is so toxic it is administered slowly and must be administered to the blood that’s flowing fastest to distribute it quickly, to avoid damage to an arterial wall.
In and of itself, the PowerLine is a bit of a mindfuck. I have (close to) ½ a hospital hanging out of my chest; 3 ports. The other end is in my Vena Cava. When the guy, we shall know him as the ‘Powerline inserter dude’, pointed at my sternum, let’s say just right in the middle, to illustrate where the other end is, that blew my mind.
Aarrgghhh. Here we go with another wee ‘below the line’ digression that pads out the posts at least, but also serves to inject a wee bit general knowledge (maybe).
You see, I called it Vena Cava and the Wikipedia page calls it Venae Cavae. I promise I did not look further, but that suggests to me that there is more than one; the ‘ae’ signifying plural in Latin! I did know that there is a Superior and an Inferior. I’m certain, in medical terminology this does not indicate that one is better than the other, more that one is bigger (maybe), or that one is above (I think that’s right). Regardless, other than I thought the Aorta was the biggest blood vessel, who knew had a Superior anything.
The point of that dalliance? I spent 2 fucking years studying LATIN. It was compulsory at my School. For fucksake that was terrible. Really? Is Latin necessary for 12+13-year-olds? But there you go; I instantaneously recognised the plural v’s singular form. I have no clue whether there is some fucking gender nonsense associated with Vena Cava/ Venae Cavea? I am happy that mine are male though, last time I looked anyway.
Oh, also!! 2 years of a 1hr period of Latin per week fucking HURT; by that’s not the reason for my post either.
The Chemotherapy HURTS: and It hurts BAD.
Ok, is it the Chemotherapy per se, or is it the side-effects? I really don’t know how to classify them apart.
Let’s take it in steps.
The administration of the drugs was pain-less. It was more of a hassle having that fucking pump attached (see previous post).
I can’t recall feeling immediately sick or unsettled or unwell as result of this cycle.
I did and still am, at various times, however having ‘episodes’ that, one assumes, are side effects.
I have had the worst ever Headache I’ve ever had ever, FUCKING EVER.
I have had the sorest mouth ulcers I have ever had, EVER.
I have had the worst cramps I’ve ever experienced, EVER.
These are loosely classified into what I’d call muscular and digestive. The muscular cramps are a kind of ongoing thing I’ve found. They come and go. They’re relatively short lived and are ‘manageable’ by getting up and walking around or changing position. The tummy cramps however were (I hope they’re in the past) brutal. Sustained, severe stomach cramping that no position would fix, only time would see them pass and it felt like hours each time. It was probably a few minutes but that doesn’t sound nearly as dramatic, which it was, really it was very dramatic.
I have general body ache that comes and goes, some days it’s worse than others. Some days its barely there. Others are terrible.
Hang in there I’m getting close to the point.
As I understand how Chemotherapy works, it targets rapidly growing cells, put simply. One assumes that this is due to rapidly growing cells perhaps having ‘thinner’ cell walls. That last bit is my simplistic hypothesis based on what I recall from what I’ve read. But I’d imagine it is slightly more complicated, slightly.
Cancers are, put simply, clusters of rapidly growing, dividing cells that are somewhat out of control. Hence tumours etc. The body can’t fight them quick enough. So that’s where Chemotherapy comes in. The drugs are all Cytotoxic. Cytotoxic being toxic at the cellular level. Believe me this is written without alt-tab’ing into Wikipedia. It’s just my recollection of what I’ve read. That cytotoxicity comes at a price. The drugs don’t discriminate between the good guy cells that are rapidly growing, dividing and replication and the ‘bad guys’.
So, where we have naturally rapidly growing cells that divide quickly and grow fast, those are attacked as a by-product as well as the nasty fuckers. Obvious examples being Hair Follicles and the lining of your mouth (remember how quickly that heals after a fucking red-hot onion from a toasted sanner has landed on your lip).
I’ll leave it at those two systems because you all can relate to someone having lost their hair from Chemo. It’s been bothersome on one level for me but minor in the grand scheme, I guess. I do NOT trivialise this for others for whom it more impactful.
That leaves the mouth lining. Well, as far as I can tell, that fragility of the mouth lining extends literally all the way through the GI tract, thus the Stomach Cramps, Nausea. Faecal Incontinence (sound so much more dramatic than diarrhoea), Constipation (go figure) and my last side effect to which I’ll refer to in the name of Comedy…
Remember the lining of your mouth? Is it logic that, if that fragility extends all the way through the GI tract, and I mean ALL the way, like to the ‘other end’, there must be some fragility?
FUCK! It HURTS!!!!!!!
Way more than a GP’s finger does.
P.S. would Bonjela work? Gum cream? Mouth wash? A Popsicle? A Weiss Bar?
For disclosure, I haven’t tried, but Jesus fuck I want to.
The moral of the post…..see if you know anyone experiencing Chemo, cut them slack. Ask them if you can help with any pain management. But mostly, know it’s probably hurting!!!!