Weddings, and other Sundrie Diversions
Well, it's been an odd couple of weeks. Christine (grundoon) recovered from the first lot of chemo with few side-effects (she said that the first five days were rather like having the flu) other than nausea and tiredness. And still a full head of hair. We await the comic side effects of some of the anti-nausea drugs (including eye-rolling and uncontrollable restlessness, tongue protrusion, and involuntary movements). These side effects are immediately stopped when you are given diphenhydramine, according to the manufacturer.
There was a wonderful Opus cartoon, in which a treatment for depression leads to unpleasant side effects, so another drug is administered, whose side effects are...you see the point. In the cartoon, the final symptoms were "turning blue, and breaking out in noses", if I recall.
If anyone has a copy of this strip (a recent Sunday, I believe), please let me know - it's priceless. It's at http://images.ucomics.com/comics/wpopu/2005/wpopu050403.gif
Which do you want first, the good news, or...?
I, on the other hand, had some bad news from "home" - my house in Nottingham was burgled. At first, it didn't seem that much was missing, but now, I'm beginning to think that it's more serious, and I must try to get more information, and see what is to be recovered. I need to get some of the more important stuff out, and I know that I will be back in UK for a couple of weeks, mid-end of May, just to tie up some loose ends.
The wedding is now only a week away - May 1st! Due to the tiredness and so on, there's been a limit to the organisation we could do. Thankfully, there is a team of dedicated friends doing pretty much all of the background work, so thanks to Caroline, Sam, Jenny, Julie and Jim. And all the rest of you - you know who you are.
Grundy Medical Update
Warning - descriptions of medical treatment upcoming.
If there's one thing no-one loves, it's getting poked with needles, and yet it's one thing that you kind of have to get used to if you're a chemo patient. Or a carer. They take blood samples to make sure your blood cell count is high enough so the chemo drugs don't kill you, then they poke you again to administer the drugs through an IV.
Now pretty much everyone in the medical profession is trained in the art of finding veins and injecting patients, and obviously, the nursing staff at Sutter Davis Hospital's Infusion Centre are too. But it's pretty much inevitable that from time to time, more than one attempt needs to be made to get a good IV set up, or sample taken. All sorts of things can go wrong, from missing the vein altogether, to hitting a valve, and each failed attempt means more time, more pain, more discomfort.
It was rather nice, after the last excursion, to have a chemo session that was relatively painless, trouble-free and above all, shorter. All this thanks to a device known as a portacath inserted in the upper chest wall. It's basically a semipermanent IV site, comprised of a catheter leading through the subclavian vein to the vena cava, which is accessed via a self-sealing port just under the skin.
Now all the nurse needs to do is push the IV needle into the port, attach the lines and hey presto! the process can begin. So this time around, there was one small prick rather than several painful attempts, and a three-hour session rather than the previous six-hour grind. It makes a difference, whether you're the one having poisons run into your bloodstream, or the one watching it happen.
The nursing staff are just great. Every time we go there, we say the same thing. I want to just hug them all. Thank you.
Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
So after this last lot of chemo, Christine's hair started falling out. So after a short discussion, we decided that I should attempt to trim her some (largely so that there would be less hair left to lose, and less mess). Out came the scissors, off came the locks. We had a good laugh as her glory fell. I snipped, she winced, Tessie swept up. It will do, though the back looks like it was a revenge attack rather than a haircut...
We've been looking at wigs and hats and scarves, and wondering what she'll be wearing for the wedding, and thinking flowers. I'm ready for the shock of waking up with a totally hairless woman - after all, it won't just be her head what's bald, but her eyebrows, lashes, and, erm...everything.
So the wedding is going ahead. May 1st. Sam (an old friend of Christine's) will be marrying us, my best man will be Jim (another old friend of hers). She has a pretty dress (if it's bad luck to see the dress before the wedding, I'm shot!) and we have dresses for the flower girls. Now all I need is a decent kilt.
I wish you could all be here for the celebration, but there was just no way we could organise dozens of people, and it simply wouldn't have been fair on Caroline to add more. So no nodermeet this time ("maybe our first anniversary", says Christine). No wedding list, no shower, no nothing. Just best wishes for a happy life together. For as long as we can make it.
For those of you who are insistent on sending us stuff, please contact us first. There is stuff that we would like, and do need, but please, don't do anything until you've spoken to us. Oh, and thank you all for your messages of support - each one is precious to us!
(R) breast and (R) axilla - Caught in the medical machine - Going Amazonian - When the Breast Fairy Comes - So there we were, in Oncology, wishing for Star Trek technology - Weddings, and other Sundrie Diversions - Support the Amazons: A Dual-Function Ninjagirls Bakesale for Boobies - Seven Down, One to Go - 1950s technology meets 21st-century woman. - Getting better, but cancer SUCKS - An Open Letter to Macy's regarding Tits