Have you ever seen the film the Green Mile? It’s one of all-time favourites. When the inmates walk to the electric chair on death row and Percy Wetmore (a prison guard) shouts ‘dead man walking, there’s a dead man walking here’ – that scene was playing in my head as I walked on to the ward for this treatment. I was absolutely frightened about what was to come.
Stupidly I had forgotten my Lorezepam, but the lovely ward nurses ran off to get me some before the chemo began. The notes the nurses had must have been quite specific thanks to the call with my Oncology Nurse the day before, and they knew to go for the left hand this time, and it only took one attempt to get the cannula in.
I had the nurses help me unpack the Oramorph and fill the syringe to squirt into my mouth. The nurses gave me the lovely heat wheat bag for my arm and just as the chemo commenced the anti-anxiety drugs kicked in to basically make me a little fuzzy round the edges. About halfway through the chemo session, the pain in my arm was noticeable so I took a little Oramorph and settled back in to watching You Tube videos on my phone and texting friends.
On leaving chemo, I saw my Mum’s face, full of apprehension and anxiety but I was ok, she helped me get my coat on as my arm was painful and the seriously cold weather meant I had to wrap my face up to prevent the threat of a throat spasm and I nestled in to the car. On the journey home, I had another shot of Oramorph and once I got home, I went to bed and just slept.
That weekend, I managed a walk with my Mum exploring the Cotswold Canal, but it started to snow half way through so we turned back. I was wrapped up to the top of my head and had hand warmers/ thimbles and gloves. That walk left me wiped out for a number of days. I was really noticing the fatigue now. I’m not sure if this was due to my compromised immune system or not, but I was really struggling. That’s the best thing about having my parents stay with me those few days, all chores were done, meals prepped for a few days after, so I just get to concentrate on just surviving through the day. Napping, the odd meal but nothing urgent.. I can’t thank them enough, being able to rest without your mind fighting that you have things to do is such a comfort.
Tip: Forget your pride, reach out, friends and family really do want to help. Meal preparation, shopping, cleaning – whatever you need but get that resilience factor in to ensure you can rest. I always cleaned my house and did washing and a food shop before chemo – but you’re ‘man down’ for about a week and these tasks build up. Save yourself the burden and let others in.