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Reconciling Life, Cancer and Christmas Trees Mar 15


OK, why Christmas tree’s. Well spend some time having chemo therapy in a hospital and you start to see your IV stand as a Christmas tree. When you have an intravenous canuler they can add all these little gadgets so you can have more than one IV line running into you at one time. My constant companion was always the saline bag, added onto that were the others they gave me. In the mornings they amounted to 5 different things going in. It was just a matter of the nurse coming in and hooking up all these different things to the stand.

From memory there was the saline, the anti nausea, the kidney sometime, the urine something and something else. After most of them went in the first chemo cisplatin went in for 3 hours, then a really shitty one which I have no idea what it was but hurt like hell. Then the next chemo Etoposide for another 3 hours. They used to give me hot packs to put on my arm as it relieved the pain of the shitty one going into the vein.

I would start at 9am and finish about 7pm. I guess I was really lucky that they pumped so much anti nausea into me that I was never really violently ill, rather I spent a lot of time feeling like I wanted to throw up but could quite get there. When I could it was minimal, but damn I remember the smells of lunch and dinner so much. At one point they gave me a mask at dinner time so I could try and escape the smell of everyone else eating.

Being in Japan a lot of the food was fish and it really smelt, which is terrible as I love fish and to date of writing I’ve not cooked salmon as I’m scared the smell will be too much. Another one is Listerine which I had to used daily to keep my mouth clean of infection. By the end of chemo and after talking (limited) to them I lived on cheese, yoghurt and apple juice. I just couldn’t face anything else.

Oddly when I could start to eat its been spicy curry’s and chilli which I think has been me wanting my taste buds to feel alive again.

The days of having chemo all seem very blurry now as they just seem to run into each other particularly at the end. I’m really glad they said I only needed one round as anymore would have been awful. Even one is taking so long to recover from. The first week I could barely get out of bed, actually I spend days in bed with the only reason for getting out being to goto the hospital for another blood test to tell me how worse I was getting.

One of the effects of the chemo was the drop in platelets and white blood cells and when it hit rock bottom I was not allowed out of the hospital again as I would have caught every germ going around or bleed to death. Fun huh!

Anyway enough. The above needed to be written and now it has.

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