Thursday, 11 July 2013

Last chemo today!

Today is the day i finally finish chemo. In less than 10 hours i will have completed my sixth round, my last one, and I'm just a little excited. Things have gotten better since my last post, but it did take a while.

First of all, at my last chemo I had to stop one of my drugs, herceptin, as it was causing me problems with my heart. A few days before chemo I had a routine heart scan. When I saw my oncologist on the day of chemo, I was told that my heart function had gone from 61% down to 49%. That was after only 4 doses. 4 of a planned 18. Needless to say i was quite unsettled by this, but my doctor assured me that it was a common side effect and that it had been picked up early, before it could do any real damage. He told me I would need to cease taking the herceptin for the next two cycles and see a cardiologist who would prescribe me medication to support my heart for the rest of my treatment. So last week I went off to see a cardiologist. He prescribed me blood pressure and what he alarmingly referred to as 'heart failure' medication, as well as organising another heart scan for the end of the month to see how things are progressing. 

My  wonderful dad and I at chemo number 5

That very night, 7 days after my husband's seizure and emergency hospital stay, I had to spend a night in the emergency department myself. The day before, little birdie wasn't quite herself and had a bit of a fever. The next day she was covered in a red rash so I took her to the doctor and was told she had a virus and that it would sort itself out. That afternoon I was exhausted and freezing, but didn't think much if it until i was bathing her and started to feel hot and nauseous. Once I put her to bed I took my temperature and it was 38.7. I checked my chemo paperwork and confirmed that if I had a fever of 38.2 or higher I would have to go straight to the hospital. I stripped off my beanie and jumper and gave myself some time to cool down, but half an hour later my temperature was still the same so I drove myself to the hospital. When I got there my temperature was 38.9 and I was immediately admitted, put on a drip, given blood tests, a urine test, and even a chest X-ray (while still in bed. It was very cool) and then given fluids and antibiotics through the drip. Thankfully my blood results looked good and even though my immune system was low, because i was 13 days out from chemo, it wasn't at a dangerous level. Overnight I woke up shaking and had a temperature of 39 degrees but by the morning i was feeling fine. After a visit from my sister, and a few discussions with the nurses, the oncologist came and saw me. The first thing I told him was that it was my daughters 2nd birthday the following day and I had to be home when she woke up, so luckily enough, he prescribed me some antibiotics and had me discharged just before midday. Finally, things were starting to look up for us.

Finally home with little birdie!

Little birdies birthday was wonderful! My husband had the day off work. She opened all her presents in bed with us in the morning and then we had birthday pancakes. They were my first attempt at homemade pancakes and were pretty horrible, but she didn't seem to care. We spent the day playing with her new toys, had a picnic in the sun in our backyard, and in the afternoon my sister and her kids came over for cake.
Little birdie on her Birthday

On Sunday we had a few people over for her birthday party and she had an absolute ball. My husband and I also had a great day and were super proud to have managed to put on a party for her despite us both being in hospital in the ten days leading up to it. 
Little birdie at her party

This week has been full of doctors appointments but this time things are going well. Two days ago I had my radiation planning appointment and was given my start date, along with 4 new teeny, tiny, tattoos. I start in three weeks time, on July 31st and should have my last treatment on September 3rd. We will definitely be having a nice big party to celebrate after that!

Yesterday we went and saw my husbands neurologist and we got some more good news. When we left hospital after his seizure he was told he was not allowed to drive, possibly for six months, but the neurologist told us that seeing as he has only ever had seizures while asleep, and because he is back on his medication, he is now allowed to drive. This was a massive relief for both of us, especially seeing as he works an hour away from home, and because he is taking me on a surprise weekend away for my birthday and didn't particularly want me driving myself. 

So, it's been a pretty crazy last few weeks, hang on, make that months, but I'm excited that one massive part of my treatment will be finishing today. I'm hoping that knowing that I haven't got any more chemo treatments to go through will make any side effects I suffer this time bearable  and I'm also looking forward to celebrating my birthday before I have to worry about starting radiation. 

And now for some entertaining moments courtesy of little birdie:

1- For the week or so leading up to her birthday, little birdie had been very excited. Anytime she saw me making decorations, or even just a picture of a cake, she would start smiling and pointing, would  sing happy birthday, and tell us about how she was going to have a birthday cake with candles on it and she was going to blow out. 

2- When asking her who she wanted to come to her party, she would start by listing her cousins, aunties and uncles, friends... And her cousins pet cat smokey! She did it every single time. 

3- When dropping her at my sister in laws the other day, she saw me put my bag and and started crying. She started saying 'not yet, not yet' and I told her I had to go but she was staying at her aunties. As soon as this sunk in she stopped crying and said ok, and went back outside and continued playing with her cousins. She didn't care at all that I was going, she just didn't want to go with home!

4- Little birdie has also been pretty entertaining first thing in the morning. As soon as she wakes up she is on! She chats away in her cot. Sings songs, most of which she makes up herself. Looks out the window and yells at the birds. Calls out saying 'Mummy. Daddy. Where are you? Get up! Get up! Wake uuup!' And then she starts chatting away to her toys. As soon as I go in she tells me all about what she has been doing, asks me to carry her toys and take her to the 'younge' (lounge) and we have breakfast.


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