January seemed exceptionally long this winter and yet the days melted into one another in an odd sort of blur. It was after chemo treatment four that my hair began to thin, slowly at first and then to the point of being annoying. I took Debie up on her offer to cut all my hair off, in the privacy of her home. Now the 1/4 inch stubble is falling out. I want to know when will the leg hair go?
|Gussied up for guests in Janice's wig January 27th|
Having been down this road a couple of years ago, Janice has graciously loaned me her wig, its accompanying products and many head coverings.
|January 25th - vanity prevents me from showing you a photo of my shorn head|
January 9th was a day to celebrate, that's when my bladder resumed full function. Oh joy, the self catheterizing was over! However, using antiseptic wipes, each time I voided for six weeks, created a chemical imbalance and an external, perineum yeast infection which had to be treated with an anti-fungal cream for two weeks.
The day after treatment two I had a Power Port implanted just under my right collarbone. This eliminates repeated IVs in my hands or wrists and facilitates a speedier administration of the chemo drugs directly into my jugular vein.
|Power Port is installed January 6th at South Health Campus, Calgary|
In my last medical blogpost I mentioned how the chemo drugs seemed to check the pain in my left hip, well that wasn't the case after all. I'm very fortunate in not suffering from any of the nasty side effects you hear other people enduring through chemotherapy. The great thorn in my life is the wretched pain of my left hip. I've been prescribed it all, first Percocet, then Oxycodone and lastly Lyrica but not even these scary drugs touched the pain, so I quit them all. I asked my GP and my Nurse Practitioner for cannabis oil but was denied by the former and discouraged by the latter. January 16th, at my monthly follow-up appointment with my surgeon/oncologist, I thought why not ask her? "Sure" she said "Go get yourself some." Well blow me down! She also approved a cortisone shot which our GP gave me on January 23rd. Other injections I've had over the years have worked well and lasted months. Sadly this one lasted less than two days.
On February 28th, I have an appointment with Chinook Bone and Joint Clinic about a hip replacement but I simply can't imagine having that surgery this year. Counting on the waiting list being so long that it will be 2018 before I have to face that.
|Thanks Esme for coming out to treatment #3, January 12th|
Now, desperate for pain relief, a friend passed along the name of the 420 Clinic in Calgary, for medicinal marijuana. We had an appointment with them January 26th. I required and secured a referral from our GP who oddly, and suddenly was prepared to offer me a synthetic form which I declined. The 420 Clinic selects a strain that is right for the individual and sends you to the doctor, they work with, who prescribes it. On February 3rd we had an appointment with Dr. Abounaja who agreed with 420's recommendations and faxed his prescription to them. With the prescription in place I promptly phoned 420 to get the account number I need to proceed in ordering directly from the provider (in Ontario) but being as it was late on a Friday afternoon they were gone for the day. It all seems rather convoluted but I rest assured knowing that what I will be getting is regulated and within the law. The strain I've been prescribed has less than 1% THC and 9% CBD. THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana which I have no interest in. CBD (Cannabidiol) is one of many cannabinoids in marijuana which reduces inflammation and helps fight cancer cells. You see, in surgery, Dr. Glaze removed everything she could see that had cancer but she can't be sure about microscopic cells, doing what cells do, multiplying and dividing, hence the chemotherapy.
A visit to a Naturopath on January 21st yielded helpful information and recommendations for an alkaline diet which is to help with the inflammation causing the pain in my hip. I responded rather too well to a high fibre diet. Diarrhea is the last thing someone with a colostomy needs.
One of the side effects of both my chemo drugs is diarrhea. Neupogen injections (a man-made form of protein that stimulates the growth of white blood cells) began on January 22 (the first of 40 I will have in all) also has a side effect of diarrhea. As I can't discontinue chemo or these shots I've opted to stop taking the magnesium supplement because it too promotes diarrhea. I've also adjusted my diet.
I'm still instantly affected by the Benadryl (which forestalls allergic reactions to the chemo drugs) that is administered at the beginning of treatments (along with Dexamethasone which prevents nausea) and doze my way through them. God love Bill for sitting by my side throughout.
I'd be lying if I say I never get down over all of this but at my core I'm a strong, relentless person. I keep telling myself to buck up and bear it. To remember that at the end of it all I've requested perfect health please.
It's every bit as hard on Bill as it is on me and so your continued support, kind words, visits, food and love are an enormous boost to our morale. Thanks for continuing to stick with us.