BEP Cycle 3 Day 21

Monday 5 August 2019

As it was the last day of cycle 3 (and indeed the last day of my entire chemo schedule!), I had hoped that I would have been feeling as good and active as on the last days of cycles 1 & 2. However, I was actually very tired and had some feelings of sickness as well. I’d woken quite early and couldn’t get back to sleep which didn’t help. I ended up staying in bed for most of the day and napped a fair amount.

So the last day of my nine weeks of chemo was not that exciting, but it was great to have the girls back from Finland and spend some time with them, and Pia made some excellent roast potatoes for lunch (home grown potatoes) and a really good mushroom risotto for dinner.

Cycle 3 had been much tougher than cycles 1 & 2. Side effects had tended to be stronger and I had a lot more tiredness and sickness. I was very glad that I didn’t have to start another cycle and hoped that all the drugs I’d loaded into my system over the past couple of months were having the desired effect.

Here’s a quick recap of what I’d experienced during cycle 3:
– Tiredness was more intense and more common than in previous cycles and I’d been sleeping a lot more
– Headaches were still occasional, but stronger than previously
– Feelings of sickness had become regular and I’d been taking Metoclopramide for it most days
– I’d had some proper nausea this cycle, though I’d not vomited at any point
– Bouts of tinnitus had been longer and stronger, but didn’t cause me any real bother
– I had a slightly raised temperature after having Bleomycin on day 9, which I’d also experienced in the two previous cycles, but my temperature didn’t exceed 38C
– As per cycles 1 & 2, I lost my voice a little a couple of days after my inpatient stay, but it was not as obvious as on cycle 1
– The heavy feeling in my chest had gotten worse, but I was still able to breathe normally
– The cough I’d developed during cycle 2 had gotten progressively worse and I was struggling to get through anything more than a short sentence without having to cough
– The nerve-like pain in the back of my right forearm and wrist disappeared after my PICC line was removed
– I’d not had any further discomfort in my right upper arm, so I imagined that the blood thinning injections must have been doing their job. The downside of the injections was that they were less comfortable to administer than the Filgrastim shots, and I was getting a very bruised, swollen and lumpy belly.
– The stinging in my urethra had continued unabated and felt quite bad more frequently. I was trying not to let it bother me, but it was not exactly easy to ignore.
– My eyebrows had been gradually thinning out and although I’d not lost them, it was clear towards the end of cycle 3 that they were nothing like the dark bushy brows that I usually had. Likewise my eye lashes had thinned out significantly and there were some gaps of up to around 6 mm between some individual lashes.
– The nails on my thumbs, index and middle fingers were noticeably discoloured and ridged. It was sore to press on or pull with the finger tips, so there were a number of simple tasks like opening tub lids which became difficult. The finger tips were not numb or tingling though, which is what some people experience towards the end of a BEP chemo schedule.
– I’d had some unusual and sudden chest pain which I didn’t know the cause of
– I’d found it increasingly more difficult to be out in the sun on hot days. Even being in a car when it was hot outside was quickly tiring and uncomfortable.

Cycle 3 had been rough and I was glad to have gotten through it. With my full chemo schedule now over, I was ready to start rebuilding and repairing. It was great to be at this point. I didn’t know how long it would take to start feeling normal again, but I’d take each day as it comes.

BEP Cycle 2 Days 17-18

Thursday 11 – Friday 12 July 2019

I was quite tired on Thursday and took it pretty easy. I was a bit tired and sluggish on Friday as well.

I had an appointment with an oncologist on Friday morning to discuss how I was getting on with the chemo, now that I was near the end of cycle 2, and to have bloods taken to check my tumour markers and full blood count. The oncologist was quite happy with how I was getting on, on the whole, however she was a bit concerned about my cough and the heavy feeling in my chest.

Bleomycin is known to affect the lungs, but we wouldn’t want it to affect my lungs too much. She said that she would arrange for me to repeat the lung function test to see if there had been any degradation. If there was, beyond a certain amount, they would consider stopping giving me Bleomycin. As I’d taken the plunge with chemotherapy and already come this far, I didn’t really want to stop taking something that might be helping to halt the spread of cancer cells. Despite the cough, I was still able to take deep breaths quite easily, so I was fairly confident that the results of the lung function test would be close to normal.

I also asked about the stinging in my urethra. As I’d already had two urine tests which came back negative for infection, the oncologist said that it was probably just a chemo thing. Although it felt quite unbearable at times, I’d been starting to get to grips with it, trying to treat it as a sensation rather than judging it and experiencing it specifically as pain.

Once we got home in the afternoon, I went into the garden to try repotting a couple of plants, but I was quite exhausted and didn’t get very far before having to head inside for a rest. By Friday evening I’d started perking up. We had some friends coming down from London to stay the night, arriving around 8 pm. I decided that I’d get busy in the kitchen and cook some dinner to be ready for when they arrived.

I decided to make a jackfruit curry. We had a few tins of young green jackfruit, but I’d not cooked with it before. I used a recipe for a swede curry as my base and referred to a recipe for jackfruit tacos to ensure I cooked the jackfruit element of it in a suitable way. It turned out pretty well, but I think it could have used some more spices to give the jackfruit a bit more flavour. Everyone enjoyed it.

Jackfruit curry in progress

I stayed up quite late in the end, and was exhausted again by the time I got to bed.

BEP Cycle 2 Days 14-15

Monday 8 – Tuesday 9 July 2019

I started the day feeling pretty good. I walked the girls to school and then went for a Bodytalk session for an hour. Once I was home, Pia and I ate some porridge and then headed into the vegetable garden.

I was feeling a bit tired and slow by this point, but still managed to pull some weeds from each of the vegetable beds. There were quite a few weeds, but they all reasonably small and came out fairly easily. Pia set about harvesting the garlic which we had planted in the autumn. She counted no less than 90 bulbs!

A good harvest of garlic that will keep us going for a while

In the afternoon we had a visit from Julie, who we had met when she came around a few weeks earlier to learn from Pia how to make water kefir. It was nice to see her. We sat outside chatting and eating strawberries and watermelon. Pia and Julie went together to collect children from school and I headed into town for a drop in sound healing session which is on every Monday.

On the way home my hayfever started to flair up. It had come fairly late this year, I think as it hadn’t gotten very warm until the end of June. I had a hard time in the evening with a raw nose, snottiness and a headache.

On top of that, I’d been feeling a growing heaviness in my chest recently and had been coughing quite a lot. The coughing was shallow and dry, not much substance to it, but it was interrupting my talking quite a lot. This was quite apparent when I was putting one of the girls to bed and trying to read some stories. I’d often have to cough before I could complete a sentence. It was annoying, but didn’t feel serious.

I got to bed reasonably early, but was quite tired when I woke on Tuesday morning. I had a fairly easy day, spending much of it in bed. I noticed that my cough was getting slightly worse.

The other thing I noticed was to do with the nerve pain in the back of my right forearm and wrist. I had thought that it was triggered by how I moved my right hand, having noticed that I would feel the pain when pressing my right ear with it. What I now noticed was that I could trigger the pain by pressing my right ear with my left hand, so there was some kind of connection between my right ear and the nerve in the back of my right forearm! That was quite a revelation, although I couldn’t start to explain it. I assumed that either the nerves were linked or that there was an acupressure point in the ear that was associated with the area of the nerve pain. Very interesting.