My Battle With Cancer
Part 2: Induction Treatment

Chemotherapy Cycle 4

20 March 2005
Mum and I flew up to Christchurch in preparation for my fourth cycle of chemo. My treatments have now reverted back to during the week. Unfortunately we were unable to stay at Ranui House this time as the accommodation was already full. Instead we ended up staying at a motel in Riccarton still paid for by the Ministry of Health. The distance between the motel and Christchurch hospital was about 1.5km my mum had to walk this distance every day to visit me. Certainly nowhere near as convenient as Ranui house which is just across the road from the hospital. The motel had to be the most run down motel I had ever seen, the walls in the bathroom were mouldy and wood was rotting away. The room only had one cook top element and no oven or microwave. We asked whether it would be ok to stay in our room on Saturday after 10am (check out time) only to be told this wasn't possible unless we wanted to pay $10 per hour. The Ministry of Health were not prepared to pay for an extra night and told us to go walk in the park or look at the shops on Saturday after 10am, that's fine for anyone who hasn't had chemo. In the evening Mum and I had tea at Katrina's place before getting an early night.

21 March 2005
First thing this morning Mum and I did the long walk from the motel to the hospital. On arriving at the hospital it turns out that we will be starting chemo today and they expected us there early this morning. Professor Robinson was supposed to see us today and it turns out she wouldn't be seeing us today at all. I felt as if Christchurch Hospital had stuffed us around as I missed out on going away on my birthday weekend and going to the second part of the Living with Cancer Seminar. We were told chemo would start at 1:30pm so Mum and I went away and ate lunch in the park and went for a punt on the Avon River. The first day of chemo went quite well and at the end of the day I seemed to be feeling fine however that night started to once again have stomach pains.

22 March 2005
Day two of chemo and once again everything went fine today I spent most of the day playing a few new games I bought for the laptop and watching TV.

23 March 2005
I was awoken at 9:30am when Bridget Robinson finally came to see me. She had a look at the lump and just by seeing it was able to tell me that the lump appears to have shrunk so this was good news. I was told more about my treatments after surgery and it appears these treatments will not be as harsh, the treatment will only go over two days instead of three and I may even be able to have the treatment as an outpatient. Once the chemo started for day three I found I had little energy and ended up sleeping all afternoon. Mum and Katrina came into visit later and I had little energy to talk to either of them, I ended up going to sleep not long after 8pm.

24 March 2005
I woke up feeling a bit better than how I was the previous day. I still had trouble with taking medications there is no way I wanted to drink water. Katrina turned up to visit just as I was being discharged which worked well as she was able to take Mum and myself back to the motel. I spent the afternoon watching TV, the one upside to being in a motel was we had Sky so I spent the afternoon watching movies but there certainly wasn't any other advantage. I had a very long and restless night and what made it worse was the amount of traffic around Christchurch especially considering it was the eve of Easter Friday and there were a lot of young people out making a lot of noise down Riccarton Road that night.

25 March 2005
Katrina managed to change our flights to today so that I wasn't spending two nights after chemo in Christchurch since my treatment started a day early. Instead of calling the Ministry of Health to change the day the taxi comes we just called the taxi company and had them come a day early. At the airport there were lengthy delays and our plane took off 30 minutes late. Back at home I spent the rest of the afternoon just lying down and resting. In the evening I went to inject myself with the Neupogen and found the sub-cut line had broken and the Neupogen was just leaking out. As a result we had to go down to Southland Hospital to have them put a new line in. The only problem is that the doctor in A&E had no idea what a sub-cut line was or even Neupogen. One of the nurses had to get the security guard at the hospital to open up the Oncology department as it is only open during weekdays and get a sub-cut line from there. We spent two hours in A&E just to have a simple line put in, I thought the doctor was going to put the sub-cut line in but I am glad he didn't and that one of the nurses did instead as I wasn't confident in having a sub-cut line inserted by someone who hours earlier had never heard of a sub-cut line.

29 March 2005
Over the past few days I had been feeling a lot better and was quite surprised how quickly I picked up, however after waking up this morning I certainly didn't feel as good. I was lying down until about 4 in the afternoon and then all evening I didn't feel good with not much of an appetite. I felt quite cold but didn't have a temperature probably had something to do with the cold weather. Mum tried ringing the Oncology department but it was still closed over the long Easter weekend as Southland Hospital were observing Southland Anniversary Day on the Tuesday after Easter.

30 March 2005
Still no better but at least with the Oncology department open we went there to be checked out. The usual blood tests were taken and it was decided that I should be admitted and put onto antibiotics. I found that I felt heaps better once I had been given a bag of potassium.

1 April 2005
I was woken up late thanks to the lovely nurse that looked after me last time, she remembered I like to sleep in and even put a note on my door to remind others not to wake me. After being in hospital 2 days I was given the bad news that I will have to stay in over the weekend as I am still neutropenic, I asked if this information came from the blood test just taken and the doctor told me it was from the day before so I asked if the results of today's blood test could be looked at as soon as possible and whether a weekend discharge would be possible if today's blood results came back ok. In the afternoon the doctor came back to tell me that I was no longer neutropenic and normally at this point she would discharge me but it was believed there may be an infection in my Hickman line and as a result I was made to stay in overnight but was allowed to go home for tea.

2 April 2005
A blood test was taken in the morning and I ended up sleeping through the remainder of the morning thanks to the lovely and considerate nurse looking after me, unfortunately that sleep in was short lived after a nurse decided to cook popcorn in the microwave and set off the fire alarm. Mum turned up at around 1pm, waiting to find out whether I could be discharged. The doctor walked past our door at 3pm and basically avoided our room as to him Oncology patient work was too hard. The nurse made him come and see me and it took until 5pm before he gave me the all clear to go home but not until he had written my discharge letter that took him an hour to write.

During the remainder of the time out of hospital I pretty much stayed at home most of the time. I was given the bad news that the landlord of the flat I was living in last year was intending to sell the house at the end of the year. This has to be a major disappointment as I was really looking forward to moving back into my flat with my friends once my treatment is over. I did say a few times that if the landlord wanted to sell the house I would buy it, the only problem is this place is a bit out of my price range. The landlord has found Matt and Aimee a place of their own to live and they will actually move there in three months meaning that I must remove the remainder of my stuff from the house before then. After hearing this news I am seriously considering buying my own home once treatment is over, I will miss living with Matt and Aimee and all the other flatmates I lived with in this house as we all had some great times together.

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Next Page: Chemotherapy Cycle 5

My Battle With Cancer

Part 1: Being Diagnosed With Cancer Life Before CancerThe DiagnosisTreatment Begins
Part 2: Induction Treatment Chemotherapy Cycle: 123456
Part 3: Surgery The Surgery
Part 4: Consolidation Treatment Chemotherapy Cycle: 7891011121314
Part 5: Life After Cancer Removal of the Hickman Line20062007 - 20102011 - 2016