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 Day 21

Monday 15 July 2019

Today was the last day of cycle 2 and I was feeling pretty good! I squeezed a grapefruit and some oranges to make a juice and had that with some other fruit for breakfast.

I put out the rubbish and recycling which was due to be collected. We’d accumulated a fair amount of cartons and plastics, which are not collected by the council, so I decided it was time to drop them to the local recycling centre. I drove down there, then dropped into a couple of shops, got a few things from the supermarket and filled the car with petrol.

I was feeling considerably less tired than any day recently. For me, this was almost a repeat of the last day of cycle 1, on which I was feeling great and had a very active day.

I felt that I still had a good amount of energy when I got home, so I ran the lawnmower over the back lawn and around the vegetable garden, which was already nice and short since Stuart had come to help a couple of weeks earlier. After I’d finished that though, I was pretty worn out and needed a good rest. So it wasn’t quite a repeat of three weeks earlier, but I’d done pretty well. I spent the afternoon a bit more leisurely, still managing to fold a big pile of laundry and to pack some things for my next hospital stay the following day.

Pia’s mum had flown over from Finland and was coming to stay for the week to look after the girls while I was in hospital, freeing Pia up to come and spend some time with me in Bristol every day. She arrived on the train during the afternoon and Pia collected her from the station.

In the evening, Pia got a message from one of our neighbours that they had seen a sign on a lamp post asking if anyone had lost a chicken. Pia called the number from the sign and the description of the chicken that had been found matched Lucy. She had been caught in a garden about 500 metres away from our house, and the person who had caught her had left her with a neighbour who had a flock of chickens.

We went around to see them and sure enough, there was our Lucy! She had been put in a little coup on her own and they were going to let her out to associate with the other chickens (including a rooster that had been eyeing her up) after a few days if nobody had claimed her. We had a good chat to the couple who lived there. They knew a lot about keeping chickens and had several nice breeds in their flock. We were really glad that they had been able to look after Lucy for a day or two, and even more glad that we were now able to bring her home. She’d had quite the adventure, travelling half a kilometre across roads and through several gardens over two weeks. It’s a wonder she survived, but we’re very grateful that she did! We brought her home and put her into our chicken run. We thought we’d keep her in there for a few days so that she could re-familiarise herself. Then we’d need to be careful about when we let her out, should that cat come and chase her again.

So cycle 2 was complete. Here are some of the highlights:
– I’d experienced a lot more tiredness than in cycle 1 and needed to sleep or rest much more often
– I’d still had a lot of occasions on which I couldn’t stay on my feet for too long
– I’d had some mild headaches, but nothing too bad
– I’d had feelings of sickness that I’d not had in cycle 1, particularly on the couple of days after my inpatient stay, and the couple of days after Glastonbury
– Tinnitus had been more apparent than in cycle 1, but it wasn’t bothersome
– I’d had mild temperature spikes on days 9 and 16 of the cycle (day chemo days), but my temperature didn’t exceed 38C
– Like in cycle 1, I’d started to lose my voice a little on days 4-5
– The heavy feeling in my chest had gotten worse, but I was still able to breathe normally
– I’d developed a shallow dry cough which was more annoying than anything else
– I’d developed a nerve-like pain in the back of my right forearm and wrist
– I’d developed a blood clot along my PICC line, for which I was prescribed two injections per day of anti-coagulant medication
– The stinging in my urethra had remained and been quite bad on some days
– My head was looking even more bald than when I’d just cut all of my hair off – clearly more of the remaining short hairs had rubbed off or fallen out
– My facial hair had stopped growing and I wasn’t getting any stubble, but I did have a few thin whispy white hairs protruding from my chinny chin chin, which had required a shave
– I still had a good appetite
– I hadn’t had any proper nausea, but I was taking Metoclopramide whenever I had a feeling of sickness

Towards the end of cycle 1, my oncologist had suggested that I might find cycle 2 easier to manage. That had definitely not been the case, but on the whole I felt that I’d been coping pretty well. It would be interesting to see how cycle 3 would go.

BEP Cycle 1 Day 21

Monday 24 June 2019

The last day of cycle 1, and it turned out to be a very good active day for me!

I woke up feeling pretty good. I had a nine o’clock appointment, so I walked the girls to school and then went off to my that. When I got home, I was still feeling pretty good so I cleaned up the kitchen, put on some washing and changed the bedding in our seven-year-old’s room in preparation for a guest arriving. Then I dealt with a chair that needed adjusting.

I was still feeling quite good and felt that I had a fair bit of energy, so I drove the car to the local recycling centre to drop off some plastics and cartons (which are not collected by the council at present). Then I visited Homebase for some DIY bits and pieces and got in some grocery shopping at Sainsbury’s.

When I got home, I was still on a roll, so I put a new blade on our lawnmower (the old one was no longer sharp and quite bent out of shape), and I mowed the back lawn (not including the back end of the garden where we have our vegetable beds and where the chicken lives).

I had such a good active day that I even managed to mow the lawn, something I couldn’t possibly have coped with during the previous week or two

Our friend Lee, who lives near Brighton, arrived shortly after. She had come to stay and look after the girls for the next few days while I would be in hospital and Pia would be spending more time with me. It was so great to see her and wonderful that she was able to come and help out.

Pia and I had booked a parent teacher interview at school, so we went along to that. I was amazed that I’d been managing so well all day, especially after having been so tired the previous couple of days. When we got home, I put our youngest daughter to bed and then went out to water the garden. I’d gotten through so much and done so well, but I was now ready for bed myself. This had been by far the best day I’d had since starting chemo.

Cycle 1 was complete. Here are a few highlights:
– I’d experienced a lot of fatigue
– I’d had moments of feeling unstable on my feet
– I’d sometimes felt delirious
– I’d had some mild headaches, but nothing that I felt required medication
– I’d had fevers on days 7 and 9 of the cycle, requiring one hospitalisation
– I’d lost my voice somewhat on days 4-5
– I’d managed to pull off a DJ set on day 6, despite feeling quite out of it
– I’d experienced a little mild tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, but never for more than 10-15 seconds at a time
– I’d had a heavy feeling in my chest after receiving Bleomycin in my day chemo sessions, but this didn’t impact on breathing
– I’d started getting stinging in my urethra about a week after having finished my inpatient stay and this has persisted since
– I started experiencing hair loss on day 14, which escalated until day 18, at which point I cut it all off
– I’d maintained a good appetite, but was craving more starchy carbs than usual
– I didn’t notice any changes in my ability to taste foods
– I hadn’t had any specific pain or nausea, but I did take Metoclopramide if I ever had a sick feeling around my stomach

I think I’d managed the cycle rather well considering all of the potential side effects that I’d not experienced. My oncologist had told me on Friday that I might even find cycle 2 easier to manage. Well, we shall see!