My Battle With Cancer
Part 2: Induction Treatment

Chemotherapy Cycle 5

10 April 2005
We headed off to Christchurch once again a day early as this time we had a CT and MRI scan booked for the following day.

11 April 2005
We arrived at the hospital at 12pm and we were told that my MRI scan should be between 12 and 1. Mum and I had lunch in the hospital cafeteria expecting to have lunch interrupted for the MRI scan. After lunch Mum and I waited and waited all afternoon for the MRI scan, after about 3 hours we were told it won't be today but to come back at 5:30pm for the CT scan. After arriving for the CT scan we waited half an hour before being told the CT scanner was broken down and that the CT scan would not be until later in the week. Basically today was a wasted day.

12 April 2005
Mum called the hospital to have them say that they can't start chemo until the MRI scan has been done. We waited around the hospital for an hour before being sent back to Ranui House as there was no way the MRI was going to be done this afternoon. Mum and I had a look at the Christchurch Museum awaiting a call on the cell phone to be told chemo is ready to start only instead we were later told chemo could not be started until tomorrow as there were no trained staff members in the afternoon to give chemo drugs. That evening I went back to the hospital for the MRI scan at 5:30pm and waited until after 8 before I finally got up and said something, a nurse called the Radiography department to be told I was low priority. So another nurse called an explained that I couldn't start my chemo until this scan was done and about 15 minutes later an orderly finally came and took me to Radiography for the MRI scan. The scanner at Christchurch Hospital did not have the headphones to play music to the patient like the scanner at the private hospital and Southland Hospital, the lack of music seemed to make the time spent in the scanner seem longer and I felt claustrophobic in there one difference was that this time the dye was injected into the Hickman line instead of into my vein even though last time I was told this couldn't be done.
I finally arrived back at Ranui House at 9:30 to have some tea and an early night to start chemo in the morning.

13 April 2005
Mum and I arrived at the Oncology ward early in the morning finally ready to start fifth cycle of chemo. I was disappointed to find I was this time in a shared room. I wasn't happy about this as I would have to leave the room if another patient ate a meal in the room as I just can't be near food while having chemo and this will make it harder in the mornings trying to sleep. About two hours after chemo started it appears a patient in the room had MRSA as a result this patient was put into isolation into a single room, another patient in the room was due to be discharged leaving me to have a large shared room all to myself. Mum and I had to have swabs taken to find out whether we had MRSA. Mum had to be tested as she had spent a considerable amount of time at the hospital. I was told I was only likely to have MRSA if I actually touched the patient so no worries there. I had very little energy all day mainly due to being stuffed around the past two days by the hospital.

14 April 2005
Day two, the chemo was started in the late morning. I spent most of the day just lying in bed reading a magazine. In the evening I finally was told I could have my CT scan, I was given 750ml of water and told to drink a glass every 15 minutes for the next hour and a half. It took me the whole 15 minutes just to drink one glass and then after half way I ended up vomiting the water out again. I finally had the CT scan at 8:30pm and as soon I arrived back into the ward I just went straight to bed.

15 April 2005
I ended up having the same male nurse I had during my third treatment and of course he pushed to get the next day's chemo started right away even though I just wanted to sleep. The nurse sped up the pump so final bag of saline from the previous day could be completed. The nurse let me have a shower first but after that I was straight into the chemo. I managed to prevent myself from vomiting after going to the toilet for most of this treatment thanks to a bottle of air freshener. The bottle of air fresher also came in handy whenever the nurse put up a bag of mesna, the smell of mesna is so potent that it can easily make me vomit.

16 April 2005
Since chemo started a day later I decided I still wanted to go home on the same day so the hospital staff pushed to get me discharged earlier than usual. As soon as I was discharged mum and I went back to Ranui House and after relaxing for an hour the phone rang, we were expecting the call to be taxi but instead it was a nurse from the hospital telling me I have to eat 3 bananas for 5 days to get potassium levels up. It would have been easier had they figured this out earlier and given me the potassium tablets I normally have the week before starting chemo. After arriving back to Invercargill I felt a lot better than what I had later in the day after finishing treatment I also managed to eat tea tonight slept well.

20 April 2005
I have been feeling heaps better this time round during the days following chemo. At this point I have been feeling optimistic about not ending up in hospital when I reach the neutropenic stage. Katrina came down to Invercargill to stay with us and I think over the next two days this did wear me out quite a bit. I was ready for bed after 10pm after all of us had been playing "Cranium" all evening.

22 April 2005
Katrina headed back to Christchurch and the district nurse came around to check my blood. I had made plans to go to Dunedin for an old school friend's engagement party but in order to attend a blood test needed to be taken to establish whether I was neutropenic or not. The blood test came back with low white cells but I was told I could still go to Dunedin, however if I felt unwell up there and developed a temperature I had to go straight to Dunedin Hospital. That evening I started to go downhill with a loss of appetite and my temperature came close to 38 but I insisted we leave it to the morning.

23 April 2005
All day I had no energy so I decided not to go to Dunedin, this shows just how much this treatment dictates a person's life it is like every time I have organised to do something fun something related to the treatment gets in the way. In the evening my temperature hit 38 so this time it was straight into hospital, it has got to a point now where I have had enough of spending so much time in hospital and to make things worse this weekend is a long weekend so I would be stuck in hospital until Tuesday.
We spent 5 hours in A&E and I was hoping they would not admit me since all of the hospital thermometers showed a lower temperature. After the usual blood tests and x-ray I was finally taken to the ward at 1:30am where I had little sleep since I needed to be constantly woken to have my pulse and temperature taken.

24 April 2005
I had the doctor come around and see me in the morning but no news as to when I can go home it appears a blood transfusion may need to be done but the doctor would like to avoid that. In the afternoon Matt and Aimee came and visited me, it was nice to have some company from my friends for a while and have them play with all the equipment in the room and take the rubber gloves.

25 April 2005
I was starting to feel better by now but any chance of a discharge was unlikely considering today was ANZAC day. My friend Melissa came to visit me and we spent a good two hours catching up as well as talking about my treatment. I found out my neutrophil levels are still low so any chance of discharge tomorrow is unlikely.

26 April 2005
My neutrophil levels have shot up from 0.5 to 11 meaning that I am no longer neutropenic but I have to stay another day for a blood transfusion as my haemoglobin levels are still low. After the blood transfusion I felt better than what I had in a long time.

27 April 2005
My nurse came in to give me my antibiotic and the good news that I could go home today. I was out of the hospital by lunchtime and had the afternoon at home feeling heaps better.

29 April 2005
While I had been feeling better over the past couple of days suddenly this evening I started to feel cold and shivering even though I had the heater on in my bedroom. I knew I must have a temperature but since I knew I wasn't neutropenic I decided to see if I could sleep the problem off I slept all night with the electric blanket on high and didn't get much sleep mainly because of people in the area making so much noise all night.

30 April 2005
I woke up feeling not much better and stayed in bed until nearly 1pm. After getting dressed I checked my temperature to find it was 38.4, this was the first time I had a high temperature twice in one chemo cycle. Mum and I spent the afternoon in A&E, the usual procedures were done, temperature, pulse and blood pressure checked followed by a blood test and x-ray. I was told it is likely I have some sort of viral infection and I am worried this may delay starting chemo on Tuesday. In the early evening antibiotics were started and I was taken to the ward for the night.

1 May 2005
I was given antibiotics during the night and woke up early in the morning. The doctor came in around lunchtime and starting explaining what is going on he mentioned that he would keep me in for another night and I then told him that I have to travel to Christchurch tomorrow to start chemo on Tuesday and that I needed a good night's sleep before travelling up. In the end the doctor let me go home on the condition that I must return to the hospital in the morning to see the doctor or if my temperature goes above 38 degrees again. I spent the rest of the day taking it easy at home as there was no way I wanted to wear myself out.

2 May 2005
The hospital rang wanting to know where I was since I was still in bed at 10:30am, I needed a good sleep but then got up and headed to the hospital. The doctor saw me right away and wasn't confident about me starting chemo tomorrow. He examined me and then spoke to Kate Bayston, her response was for me to travel to Christchurch as planned today and she would talk to Professor Robinson about the high temperature I had here in Invercargill. All afternoon I was not feeling well and sat around the house just reading the paper and taking it easy. When we left for Christchurch I started to feel better the plane trip took my mind off things for a while. I spent the evening with mum at Ranui House just taking it easy.

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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