Chemotherapy (or chemo) is the treatment of cancer using anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs. The aim is to kill cancer cells while doing the least possible damage to normal cells (http://www.cancernz.org.nz).
I have made peace with the decision to do chemo but I’ve not yet made peace with the fact that drugs will be injected into veins and that I may feel sick for three plus months. It’s hard to feel peaceful about something that is good for you but probably will feel bad. But I’m determined to; if I can make peace with chemo as a decision, surely I can feel good about the injections? We will see.
Also, there are only three months of treatment. Surely I can handle that?!
My start date is 1 September and I have asked my good friend Gill to come with me for the day. My appointment time is 8.30am and I need to battle peak hour traffic and cross town to Wellington Hospital. Eek. So have decided to take the train. I will stay with my parents that night as I don’t know how I’ll be. Will I be nauseas, will I be sick, and will I be in pain? I just don’t know.
The drug regime is called CMF plus Herceptin. CMF is named after the initials of the three chemo drugs:
- Fluorouracil known as 5FU and
How is it administered?
I will receive infusions of each of these drugs by injection each 21 days for three months. The Herceptin carries on each 21 days for a further nine months (total one year).
The likely/possible side effects are: nausea and vomiting, changes in smell and taste, increased risk of infection, low red blood cell count, low platelets and increased risk of bleeding, diarrhoea, fatigue, sore mouth, skin changes and a few other things.
It will be good to get the first chemo out of the way and see how everything works. I am sure the second chemo will be easier as it will be known, not unknown.
This is all a bit overwhelming. I am about to get on the chemo express. I don’t expect to enjoy the trip exactly but I do hope that I tolerate it well (oh, and that it is effective).