The last chemo!

I’ve never been more excited to have my chemo treatment than I was today. I was due my last Docetaxel and cold cap session so I had plenty of reason to be happy.

I arrived at 11am, leaving hubby circling the car park which was inevitably full. Today’s seat was next to the window. By 11.15am all my checks were done and everything was looking promising despite the burn on my arm caused by an incident with the oven. Oops! I was a bit worried it would affect my cannula but fortunately, other veins were willing to play today.  This was most likely due to the fact that I was given a heated pillow to plump them up. I have to say, what with the heating on my arm and the tremendous dose of steroids, I was feeling rather hot and sporting some rosy cheeks.

By 11.25am the cannula was in and the IV flush was started. After a swift start, I was disappointed to hear that the Herceptin hadn’t arrived yet. That left me sitting for a while reading to pass the time. Finally at 12.25pm the Herceptin had arrived and I was set up with my infusion. I was told it would take half an hour to go through but by 1.20pm I still hadn’t received the full dose. I decided to eat some toast and then was told I could prepare my hair for the cold cap. Typical!

So I duly set off for the bathroom and went through the hair wetting and conditioning routine. When I returned to my seat I was told again that the cold cap may be very uncomfortable as my hair is now so thin. Luckily I was prepared as I had contacted Paxman (the cold cap manufacturer) and they kindly sent me a theatre cap and some complimentary unscented shampoo and conditioner. It was a good job I wore the theatre cap as it made the initial freeze a lot more comfortable. Also, having started out with a large cold cap for my large head, I have now shrunk to a more ladylike small. Turns out my big head was all hair! Anyway, at 1.45pm I was all plugged in and needing some distraction from the freeze.

By now, my daughter had arrived to join the party so she got to see the glam look. She timed it well as the drinks trolley was just doing the rounds. At 2.25pm my Docetaxel was started. Then time seemed to grind to a halt as there was a constant air bubble in my infusion leading to a very lengthy session indeed. At 3.55pm the Docetaxel had finally gone through which was a good job as I was suffering from a severe headache and nausea. I think the small cold cap was perhaps a bit tight on me after all. I still had to hang in there as I needed a final IV flush and 20 minutes of wearing the cold cap. I was struggling by now and thinking I will certainly remember my last chemo.

At 4.40pm I was all done. As it was my last chemo, I got to ring the bell, accompanied by all the lovely nurses who have looked after me. I handed them some well deserved goodies and left the unit to go home. Our son had been to collect takeaway pizzas so we had a treat to celebrate the end of chemo.

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Treatment is far from over though. I will be back in the unit in 3 weeks for my next Herceptin session. This will be given via an injection which takes 3 to 5 minutes but for the first one I need to stay in for 4 hours in case of any reaction. The one after that will still be at the hospital with 2 hours of monitoring and then I will be visited at home every 3 weeks until April 2020. In the meantime, I am also waiting to hear from the radiologist to discuss my treatment plan for radiotherapy.

Nevertheless, I am so glad the chemo stage is over and I no longer have to endure the cold cap. Having said that, although the cold cap wasn’t the most comfortable experience, I am so pleased it has left me with some hair.

I will now need to get through the next couple of weeks and hope that the side effects are mild but at least a major step is out of the way.

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