January 21st 2016-Chemo Three: The Staff/The Stuff!

21/01/16- Hospital: The administering of my chemotherapy is a relatively simple and pain free affair as it was for the previous two.

The staff on my chemotherapy suite are fabulous- full of warmth and humour, compassion and understanding.

Their way is one that creates an environment not of illness and fear but of hope and community and a sense that they are truly in this with me and my new chemo comrades.

This is more than a job to them, more than a set of perfunctory tasks to perform-they set aside their own needs for comfort breaks to ensure that we are cared for mind, body and soul, ensuring we are moved as swiftly as is possible through the procedure we are bound to endure, in spite of their obviously increasing volume of patients and the woeful lack of reinforcements sent to help them to carry out their labour of love.

My treatment is a known as FEC 100. This is a combination of the following:

Fluorouracil (also known as 5FU)

Epirubicin (also known as the Red Devil)

Cyclophosphamide (also known as “not more bloody poison”-okay, okay I made this one up-didn’t want it to feel left out!!!)

What I didn’t know at the start of my treatment was that on my fourth cycle this will change and the last three cycles of my treatment will see me on a different toxin known as Docetaxel (Taxotere).

This stronger drug will be offered to me because my body is coping well with the initial treatments (Or as my brother suggested because I’ve gone in each time ‘showing off’ about how fine I’ve been!!!).

The combination of FEC 100 and Docetaxel (FEC 100-T) could facilitate a greater reduction in the likelihood of a recurrence for my particular cancer pathology. The operative word in that last sentence being ‘could’, of course. Cancer is after all, a tricky and unpredictable customer…still one can but hope!

Having begun to find some (relative) comfort in the development of a (somewhat) familiar pattern (we learn to embrace small comforts where we find them) within my three weekly cycles, it is not without some anxiety and hesitation that I finally sign my consent to the new regime and another step into the darkness that is cancer treatment.

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