Hi Family and Friends,
I was discharged from hospital last Wednesday, after completing round 3 of my hospital stays.
My time in hospital was surprisingly slightly easier then round 2, although the steroids (used as an anti-sickness medication) still proved to be a little devil. I did however manage to persuade the platoon of Oncologists and Doctors to lower the dosage. This seemed to work, as the cumulative effects of steroids were only felt later in my stay. In fact, I only really felt them on my final night, when my muscle spasms, shakes, restlessness, edginess were so severe, they had to give me a muscle relaxant to help me sleep. Thankfully, I did manage to get a bit more sleep during my stay, and the routine of peeing into plastic bottles has become just that, routine.
Eating proved to be a real struggle, and it became functional rather than for enjoyment purposes. It wasn't so much the quality of the food, but more so the delicate nature of my tummy.
Although I managed to get more sleep in the hospital this time round, and although my steroid dosage had been reduced, my time recovering at home hasn't been fun. The cumulative effects of the steroids still seemed to take hold for 2 nights after my return home, and I had to resort to the continued use of the muscle relaxants to help me sleep. In fact, as I type this email, I can still feel a subdued twitch in my right leg from the steroids. It does seem to be improving as each day passes though.
Other side-effects I am currently feeling: my tinnitus (ringing in the ears) seems to have got worse - not so much that its louder its just more frequent. I am told this is something I may have to live with for the rest of my life. A small price to pay for my life I guess. I am also experiencing weird nervous sensations at the tips of my fingers. It feels as though the tips of my fingers have been burnt. From research I have done, I think this is known as 'Peripheral Neuropathy'. It may get worse after my next treatment, and yet again, may well be something I need to live with. I have also been feeling emotionally quite low over the last few days, although I do seem to be returning to my normal perky self.
Although I have been very much 'out of it' since returning from hospital, I haven't needed as much sleep as I thought I would need for this stage of the treatment. I also think it has taken me slightly longer this time round to start getting my strength back. So, for those of you who left messages on my phone last week and on the weekend, I look forward to hopefully speaking to you really soon, now that I am beginning to feel a bit more like me.
I have been given another course of Growth Factors to keep my white blood cell count up. The weird thing is that I have sort of got used to having to inject myself on a daily basis now. I guess this daily routine temporarily replaces other such routines as washing my hair and shaving.
My darling wife, Debs, has continued to remain an incredibly indestructible source of strength and support to me. I don't know how she manages to remain so positive around me all the time. I know it isn't easy for her, as the physical effort that goes into looking after a cancer patient is truly exhausting. She still manages to perform in her job, while rushing home early every evening to cook my meals. I look at her and think that she truly is the unrecognized hero in all of this. I would have given up the battle along time ago if it weren't for Debs at my side.
One of the thoughts that is almost constantly weighing on my mind at the moment, is whether or not I will require a further operation to remove any dead cancerous lymph nodes in my abdomen. This operation is by no means a certainty, in fact my Oncologists advise me that there is a 25-30% chance I will need it. The plan of attack, as I am advised, is that they will monitor at the end of my treatment, through CT scans, how much the Lymph Nodes have shrunk as a response to the treatment. This will basically be an interative process, as it is probably the case that the Lymph Nodes will reduce in size over a period of time. At what stage the decision to operate, or not, will be taken, I am not yet sure about. Its just a 'wait and see' type game. In the meantime, I just need to focus on gearing up for what will be my last treatment starting next Friday 17 August. Its still hard to believe that I can start thinking in terms of my next treatment being my last. What a roller-coaster of a ride this has been so far.
All my love and blessings to all of you out there who have been here for me since day 1. Your support has given me the strength and comfort to face this.