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  • Writer's pictureInnes Thomson

1st Chemo - 20th April 2022

A recollection of my 1st Chemo treatment (now just over 3 weeks ago) on Weds 20th April. We headed up to our local wildly successful new Double Cross Dining Room. We watched them establish and grow their 1st place, much smaller round the corner, and they've moved into a vast space, trendy, different from the hubbub of the 'traditional' Crowie coffee shop if there's such a thing.

A nervous Large Almond Latte and some ridiculously expensive Artisan Sourdough toast with butter and Vegemite (commonly known as the breakfast of champions), well, with an exorbitant price. I've been off Dairy Milk with my coffee for over a year now and quite like the nutty flavour of Almond Milk. Look at me, quite the Hipster. At that point, I also had my beard (little did I know how quick that would change). I had my hair bleached and toned to white as a laugh. We sat and talked mostly in silence.

Kerry and I jumped into an Uber and headed off in the direction of the 7-8 min walk favouring the 12-minute Uber ride. Arrived at the Royal North Shore Hospital. We traversed the COVID entry requirements and headed down to the North Sydney Cancer Centre (NSCC), also known as the Centre for Shite Hair (well, that's my take). A nervous wait, and I was called. Kerry and I hugged, and I headed off. Shit scared, apprehensive angry and optimistic at the same time.

Why do I not feel ill, yet I’m about to have lousy juju to make me ‘better’?

Or is it good juju?

Weight up by 6kgs (steroids or chocolate, who knows?).

Height down 3cm.

Height and weight are essential when getting poisoned. It means that my ‘official’ Aussie passport has been wrong for 20y or so. I’ll stick with my passport though; maybe I had my Cuban Heels on that day.

The treatment protocol consists of alternating R-maxi-CHOP with R-HiDAC in 21-day cycles with 3 cycles of each followed by AM autologous BMT.

At 11:20, 20th April 2022, get the first sharp scratch, the anti-nausea drugs commence before the poison goes in, and let the pagger start.

The day was largely uneventful. I got my bearings, working out if there was anyone I could noise up, chatting to nurses. Fill any opportunity with humour as a coping mechanism.

When they pushed the first Red Devil, I got pretty upset aboutvIt, and the nurse asked me why. I said, 'This will make me feel shite; I don't feel shite; I feel fine. She saw the tears well and sat with me and ‘pushed the drugs by hand' a lovely caring touch, I thought.

By my recollection, it took a couple of hours. I was then flushed with more saline, and I went for a pee.

HOLY FUCK!!!!! It was neon red; I mean bright neon red. Of course, being male, I didn't put the seat up and mostly missed. I was like a scene from Psycho. Recalling that I’d been told I was h.i.g.h.l.y t.o.x.i.c, many fucks bastards and shits were delivered. I took about 15 minutes cleaning it and probably peed myself a wee bit (see what I did there). It was a god awful scene, and I was mighty embarrassed.

The visit is highly likely attributed to one of my newfound phrases - "see the field in which I grow my fucks, please notice that is entirely bare, I have no more to give!!!!!"

I was released without much more ceremony, jumped in an Uber and choofed home.

A nice home-cooked meal and early to bed that night. I can't recall how I slept; probably not great, and I was up in the wee hours pacing and writing aspects of the blog in catch up mode.

I think I went to work the next day in a show if 'this fucking thing isn't having me'. It was a blur, and I lasted until lunchtime and came home. I probably just wanted to ride Rudi and get some fresh air, if truth be told.

Friday, I think I went in again and watched the crew drink beers at the local from across a table outside while I sipped a diet coke or 2. Similarly, probably ill-advised. My back was killing me, and my body ached all over. I asked the boys not to come as I was feeling shit. Saturday brought the Neulasta injection, and that's another story.

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