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 3 Day 8

Tuesday 23 July 2019

I woke up around 8:30 feeling very groggy, for want of a better term. My stomach was not feeling quite as disturbed as the day before. I noticed that I was getting louder instances of tinnitus, which made me wonder how loud I might eventually perceive it, if it were to continue to develop.

I got up and went outside to sit in the sun for a few minutes. I also walked along the garden to open the greenhouse. It was quite hot and didn’t feel comfortable to stay out in the sun for too long. I went inside and tried to do a few bits and pieces, but quickly found myself alternating between managing to do some small things and having complete exhaustion and needing to sleep, or at least lie down. This persisted for most of the day.

In the evening, we sat on the sofa and watched a film while eating dinner. My appetite was still good and I ate well. I noticed the tinnitus quite clearly as the evening went on.

As I was going to bed, a big storm passed overhead with torrential rain and incessant thunder and lightning. Normally I would have sat by the window and watched it, but I was so tired that I went straight to sleep. It was quite a surreal feeling to be drifting off to such a big sound and light show, clearly knowing that it was there but not actively paying attention to it.

BEP Cycle 3 Day 7

Monday 22 July 2019

I woke around 5 am and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I got up shortly after 6. I wasn’t feeling too bad. I had a look at the blog for a bit, until Pia got up. I had a BodyTalk appointment at 10, so after having my morning shot of Clexane, I had a shower to get ready for that. I also shaved, not that I had any stubble, but I did have a number of wispy white hairs sporadically protruding from around my chin.

I wasn’t feeling so good after the shower, a bit sick and sluggish. I walked 15 minutes in the heat to get to BodyTalk and I was thoroughly worn out when I arrived. I felt dizzy and was glad to sit down. The session went well and afterwards I thought I’d try walking home, knowing that I could always call Pia if I needed her to collect me. I managed, but it felt like quite a struggle towards the end. I got home shattered and feeling ill and I just needed to lie down.

Pia brought me some porridge after a while, which went down well. After that I slept for a bit and spent the rest of the afternoon in bed. I was feeling really tired and unwell. My stomach felt as though it wanted to be left alone completely while at the same time would have liked to have been filled with something solid. It was very uncomfortable.

Tinnitus was quite pronounced, but not much bother. More annoying was that my mind was repeatedly attaching to a little thought bubble that was blasting out Going For Gold by Shed Seven. Not that it’s a bad song, it was just hard to shake.

Pia spent most of the afternoon working, but she came up a couple of times and we chatted about lots of things like holiday possibilities, whether we should get a dog and also about getting some new chicken friends for Lucy. She went to the supermarket around 18:30 and after that she made some pea pasta with pesto and a load of fresh toppings: grated courgette from the garden, basil, spinach, tomato, olives, artichoke, pine nuts, chilli flakes, ground cashew nuts, beetroot, cucumber, avocado, salad leaves and black pepper. That went down very well and I could easily have eaten twice as much. I’ve certainly managed to keep a good appetite throughout my treatment.

The girls called us from Finland in the evening once they had made it to their destination. It sounded like their journey had gone well.

It had been quite a rough day, in terms of how I’d been feeling. I was glad I’d managed to get out and walk a bit, but that had been hard and I wondered if perhaps I’d have managed the day a bit more easily had I not pushed myself to do that. I’d felt a bit better during the evening, though I was still exhausted and couldn’t stay on my feet for long. I also noticed that the nails on my left index and middle fingers had developed dark marks on them. Damage to nails is a potential side effect of the chemo and that now seemed to be affecting me.

BEP Cycle 3 Day 6

Sunday 21 July 2019

I woke feeling a little better than the day before, but I was still very tired and had a sick feeling in my stomach. I took some Omeprazole and Metoclopramide. I found that I couldn’t sit upright or stay on my feet for very long at a stretch and I needed to spend most of the morning lying down, flat or with my head slightly elevated. I mostly stayed in bed, though I did manage to use my laptop a little.

The girls would be heading off with their grandmother in the afternoon to spend two weeks in Finland, leaving Pia and I home alone to see through the remainder of my chemotherapy. They spent a lot of the morning with Pia getting their bags packed. The first leg of their trip would be a train journey to London, where they would stay for the night. They would then fly to Finland the following day.

We ate lunch around 1 pm. I was a bit more active by this point, though still not feeling good in any way. We got in the car and headed to the railway station around 3 pm. We arrived in good time and saw the girls off. It was a strange feeling to be without them. It was the first time that they would be away from us for more than a night or two at a time, and the first time they’d be travelling without either of us. We had every confidence that they’d get on ok for two weeks, but it was quite a new experience for us and a bit emotional.

I was feeling sick and exhausted on the way home, worse than I’d been feeling at lunchtime. I think the journey to the station might have been a bit much for me. I had to lie down and rest on getting home.

We got word shortly after that the girls’ journey had been delayed after someone had jumped in front of their train. The train was held for a long time and there were apparently several police cars, ambulances and a helicopter present. Eventually, after plenty of free drinks & biscuits and one change of train, Pia’s mum and the girls arrived in London about three hours late. Quite a drama, but good that they made it and didn’t get turned back. I hoped the experience wouldn’t give the girls any bad dreams.

On the last day of school two days earlier, my twelve year old had brought her Rubik’s cube home, which she’d been keeping in her desk. I hadn’t played with it for a long time, so I spent a little bit of time in the late afternoon messing about with it, trying to remember how to unscramble it. It all came back to me after a short while and I was able to solve it intuitively. It’s quite good fun.

Later, Pia and I settled down to watch a film before bed. As well as having a lot of fatigue and sickness during the day, I’d noticed more tinnitus. It was still faint, but more persistent than previously. On top of my Clexane injections, I was also on Filgrastim injections for a few days, so a total of three injections per day. I find the Clexane shots to be more painful than the Filgrastim, and my belly was getting quite bruised with all of the daily injections. Still, it was just temporary and the most important thing was that I was working my way to better health.

BEP Cycle 2 Days 10-12

Thursday 4 – Saturday 6 July 2019

I was really tired on Thursday and couldn’t stay on my feet for very long at a time. I ended up staying in bed most of the day, sleeping for some of it. I noticed that I was getting more regular tinnitus, but each burst only lasted 10-15 seconds.

I was feeling a bit better on Friday, in terms of tiredness and general ability to do things. However, I had a very achy back and joints during the morning. I put this down to possibly having been slouching too much during the previous day or two. I stayed on my feet for quite a long time as it was hurting my back to sit down. I alternated between standing and lying flat on my back with no pillow for most of the day, napping on a couple of occasions.

Towards the end of the day the aching in my back eased. I went outside for a little while in the evening and watered the garden.

I noticed episodes of tinnitus quite a lot, as per the previous day. The stinging when urinating had also become quite intense and I felt that I was getting a bit phlegmy.

My chest felt more phlegmy the next morning. It was a hot and sunny Saturday and our friend Stuart had offered to come and help us in the garden. Although I’d managed to mow part of the lawn on a good day a couple of weeks earlier, I’d not been in a fit enough state to take care of the rest of the garden and it was getting a bit out of control.

Stuart brought a trimmer round with him and he started by running it over the grass at the back of the garden to get it down to a reasonable length. I then started to mow over the areas that he had trimmed. In the heat and with my general level of wellness, I was quickly overwhelmed and needed to sit and rest. I got up and down and helped with bits and pieces, but Stuart did most of the work, for which I am very grateful. Each time I got up and did something for a couple of minutes, I started to feel faint just couldn’t stay on my feet. Stuart stayed for 2-3 hours and left with the end of the garden in a much more manageable state than it had been to begin with. It was really nice of him to come around.

After he left, I had to go and sleep for a while. It had all been quite exhausting.

A family we know but hadn’t seen for a couple of years were coming up from Dorset and staying locally for the weekend, so Pia and the girls popped out to meet them in the afternoon. They spent a bit of time in town then visited the nearby Pyle Farm which has an ice cream parlour. I had a shower after napping and everyone came back to ours for dinner in the evening. I was feeling a bit more refreshed by this point.

On the whole it had been an exhausting day, but I’d still been feeling generally better than I had during the previous few days. My arm was also bothering me less, which was a good sign.