Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Week 2 of the two week cycle


Tuesday's usual tiredness arrived on Wednesday...


Didn't feel great on Wednesday but still managed to fit in a short 1.99KM walk near home.

A good night's sleep and feeling so much better on Thursday.

PICC Line...

District Nurse came on Wednesday to do the weekly PICC Line flush/clean.

All OK.

Side Effects...

As I said at the start of this post, Wednesday was "Tiredness Day".

  • Donald had to cope with diarrhoea on Wednesday, Friday and Monday; more than usual but, as usual, Imodium sorted it.
  • Mouth sores & dryness...
    Back again on Thursday. No complains there! Lion's Ointment helps me.
  • Weasel...
    Still busier than normal but working well;

Time for a break...


Time for a change of scenery...

On Thursday we headed off to the West Midlands, to stay for a few days with Chris' Sister & Husband. 

If we're going to do things like that it has to be week two of the two week cycle and Thursday to Sunday


"It's the period of time with the least side effects."
It had been some time since we managed to get away from home and we had a wonderful time with family. 

We managed to fit in walks most days...

Thursday:  6,671 steps - 4.3 km



Friday:      8,972 steps - 6.0 km (National Memorial Arboretum)

 
 

Saturday:  9,335 steps - 5.9 km (Walsall Arboretum - Canal Loop)


Sunday:    7,119 steps - 4.8 km (Litchfield)



So in total 32,097 steps - 21.0 km (13.1 miles)

Monday: Back home and two appointments...


  1. Our usual trip to The Daisy Chain (Sefton Cancer Support Group), in Formby (http://www.seftoncancersupport.org.uk/therapies/). The Sefton Cancer Support Group (The Daisy Chain) was launched in Autumn 1994. A Registered Charity run solely by Volunteers, many of whom have been touched by cancer in one way or another.
    We went to see My 
    Chiropodist who performs soft tissue surgeries, skin surgery and nail surgery.

    Apparently my left heal has a split, another side-effect of Chemotherapy. So much better after treatment.
  2. An appointment with Specsavers: Eye test excellent, no changes.
    However, I have a 
    cataract in my right-eye; a clouding of the lens in the eye that affects vision. Apparently most cataracts are related to aging and Cataracts are very common in older people.
    Another appointment for further tests this Friday and a referral for an Operation to remove the Cataract.


Tuesday: 
One my other half benefits from - Hot stones Massage

Hot stone massage is a speciality massage where the therapist uses smooth, heated stones as an extension of their own hands, or by placing them on the body. The heat can be both deeply relaxing and help warm up tight muscles so the therapist can work more deeply, more quickly.

The Daisy Chain
We then went for a walk in Formby Nature Reserve;  didn't see any Red Squirrels but the trees do/did show the direction of the prevailing wind...


Wednesday The Two Week Cycle starts again today with Bloods!



I hope my posts raise your awareness of what many of us experience with Bowel Cancer.


If you have any questions, please feel free to ask and I'll do my best to answer them.



Tuesday, 10 September 2019

End of Week One: Monday and Tuesday...


Updates...

This post brings an end to week 1 of My Two Week Chemotherapy Cycle.

Side Effects...

I'm expecting them to kick in over the next three days; why three

Because of the issues with the PICC Line in this particular cycle.

Donald...
  • A disturbed nights sleep with a very active Donald  demanding a change at about 02:00:
  • Activity continued but faeces firmer than usual in this part of the two week cycle.
  • Tuesday and Donald is back into the usual two days of diarrhoea. It's where the Stoma Bag is most useful. Sadly it can't always cope and clean-ups are required.
Weasel...

  • Seems busier than normal; again could be because of the PICC problems.

Tiredness...

  • Normally kicks in on a Monday Afternoon or on a Tuesday; it will be interesting to see if it, like the other side effects so far, will be delayed by a day. 
  • Started on Tuesday; not too bad but I'm expecting it to continue tomorrow.

Mouth sores & dryness...

This seems to have cleared up quicker than usual. No complains there! Lion's Ointment helps me.


Keeping Active during the two week cycle...

  • Rain today, Monday, so didn't fit in our usual Meanders.
  • Sunshine today, Tuesday, so we did fit in a 1.99 KM Meander at Formby.
    A cold breeze but a lovely walk

  • Flowers, fruits and Liverpool Bay

    Meander details
    You will be able to tell that it was windy if you watch this short clip...



So, tomorrow is the start of Week two of My Two Week Chemo-cycle...

This is the time when side effects, in general, ease off and life returns to some normality.

One of the District Nurses will, on Wednesday, visit to do the weekly PICC Line flush/clean.



If you have any questions, please feel free to ask and I'll do my best to answer them.




Sunday, 8 September 2019

Day late but all's well...

All caught up...

In spite of the delay with the small Chemotherapy bottle removal, that I covered in earlier posts, the District Nurse visited this morning Sunday to remove it, having completed the Fluorouracil deliverery.

Donald and Weasel are active...

My Stoma, Donald, has had to be changed more often mainly because the faeces is firm and blocking the entrance to the Stoma bag. It can be painful when compacted.

Sadly not an unusual side effect fro my Chemotherapy.

As for My Catheter, Weasel, it's working well, but as usual after Chemotherapy he's busy dealing with the large quantities of water the Chemotherapy adds to my body.

Normally back to normal by today but because of the delay in the Fluorouracil application, Sunday has been included in this side effect.

Keeping Active during the two week cycle...


As I said in my last post, depending upon appointments, the Chemotherapy side effects and the weather, I try to keep as active as I can.

Today, in the sunshine again, Chris and I completed a 3.97 KM Meander around Lunt Meadows Nature Reserve.

The migrating Geese are back from the Arctic and the wild flowers stunning. 
First time we've noticed this...

Impressive list of visitors to the Nature Reserve

Our Meander Photographs


By 18:00 we had completed 8,183 steps and 5.4 KM
Still Cooking...


Just an update, last night's MOORQI (Chicken Curry) was enjoyed by all three of us! Well that's what I was told.

Chemotherapy Side Effects...

Dry lips and slight soreness inside of my lips have continued and I've already mentioned Donald and Weasel earlier in this post. There are no other side effects noticeable so far today, which is normal for me on a Sunday after Chemotherapy.



If you have any questions, please feel free to ask and I'll do my best to answer them.




Saturday, 7 September 2019

As expected, a delay to the usual time schedules

Not ready as yet!

Delay...


My PICC Line is still working but I've had to contact the District Nurses to delay the small Chemotherapy bottle removal, that they usually do on a Saturday lunchtime.  

As you can see from the photograph above, taken at 16:00, there is still some Fluorouracil to deliver.

Keeping Active during the two week cycle...

Depending upon appointments, the Chemotherapy side effects and the weather, I try to keep as active as I can.

Today, because I didn't have to wait in for a District Nurse to remove the Chemotherapy bottle and the sun was shining, Chris and I decided to do a 7.81 KM meander that took us along...
  • Dodds Lane then down
  • Millbank Lane past Hartleys and down to
  • Robbins Island, along
  • Moss Lane and then along
  • Pygon's Hill Lane Here we gathered wild fruit for making Sloe Gin. Then along the
  • Leeds Liverpool Canal to
  • Bell's Lane where we called into The Running Horses for lunch. Then along the canal to
  • Green Lane crossed
  • Liverpool Road North onto 
  • Dodds Lane and back home.
Start of our Meander
End of our Meander including Lunch
"As you can see, by 13:38 we had completed 13,067 steps and done a total distance of 8.1 KM."
What about the Bottle Removal?

I've spoken to the District Nurse and the current plan is for it to be removed tomorrow, Sunday.

Still Cooking...

Pre-Bowel Cancer I cooked a curry on Saturday Nights when our oldest daughter Melanie comes to join us.

I often cooked another Curry during the week; the day varied.

Again, trying to keep as active as I can, I've continued to deliver most weeks and if there is any reason I can't cook, Chris steps in.

Tonight it's MOORQI (Chicken Curry) which I'll start after I've posted this post.

Chemotherapy Side Effects...

Apart from dry lips and slight soreness inside of my lips, there are no other side effects noticeable so far today, which is normal for me on a Saturday after Chemotherapy.



If you have any questions, please feel free to ask and I'll do my best to answer them.




Friday, 6 September 2019

PICC Sorted

PICC Line
Friday isn't a usual day to go to Aintree Hospital but my PICC Line needed checking.

All OK and the Fluorouracil has, I'm please to say, been entering via the PICC Line; the small bottle is doing its job and delivering the Fluorouracil.
"After a morning of rain showers, the sun came out and we decided to have lunch at Hartleys"

A 3.18 KM meander (there & back)
... making it a total of 6,843 Steps & 4.6 KM at 14:36 today.

Chris had Ham & Pea Soup with a warm roll and Tea and I had a BLT and a Sprite.


The Medication I'm Currently taking...

Medication by Time of Day...

Morning (09:00)...


  1. Bisoprolol 500mg
  2. Dexamethasone 2mg (After Chemo - Friday, Saturday & Sunday)
  3. Omeprazole 20mg
  4. Tamsulosin 400mg
  5. MST 15mg
  6. Fuosemide 40mg 


Afternoon (13:00)...



    1. Dexamethasone 2mg (After Chemo - Friday, Saturday & Sunday)

    Evening (17:00)...



      1. Omeprazole 20mg
      2. Edoxaban 60mg (with a glass of water)
      3. Doxycyline 100mg (with a glass of water)

      Evening (21:00)...


      1. MST 15mg
      2. Quinine Sulphate 200mg
      Glad the afternoon slot only applies for three days as it's the time of day it's easy to forget.

      Chemotherapy Side Effects...
      No side effects noticeable so far today, which is normal for a Friday after Chemotherapy.



      If you have any questions, please feel free to ask and I'll do my best to answer them.


      Thursday, 5 September 2019

      Looks like The PICC Line has a problem

      PICC Line

      Slight worry today (Friday - Day3 of two week Chemo Cycle) as the Fluorouracil hasn't changed; the small bottle is just as full as it was when attached yesterday.
      I'll have to ring the Marina Dalglish Unit, at Aintree Hospital at 9'ish to see what I need to do.




      This mornings tablets...

      At 09:00 these are the tablets I take...
      ...washed down with coffee or Juice. Then, at Lunch time, I take these... 
      I Only take these steroids for a couple of days after Chemotherapy



      The next two lots of tablets are taken at 17:00 and 21:00; I'll provide more information about those in my next post, along with an update information about the Chemo Bottle.



      If you have any questions, please feel free to ask and I'll do my best to answer them.

      My next Round of Chemotherapy has started

      Bloods on Wednesday
      On Wednesday, the start of this two week cycle, it was off to the 5th Floor and the Marina Dalglish Unit, at Aintree Hospital.
      "We'll be so pleased when the lift, up to the 5th Floor, is sorted"
      Time for My Blood tests to ensure the Chemotherapy could take place on Thursday.

      As we've come to expect, it was very busy and we had to wait quite a long time before we were called through.

      Yet again, in-spite of the efforts of staff, My PICC Line was reluctant to provide the Blood Samples

      Staff decided to resort to the traditional way of taking the required Blood Samples from my left arm.

      SUCCESS!
      The plan, resulting from these problems, was to use Chemicals to remove potential blockages when I came for Chemotherapy the net day; assuming it was possible.

      It was then time to wait and see if my bloods were OK and Chemo could go ahead.
      I'll find out tomorrow!

      Thursday, Chemo or No-Chemo?

      Well I wouldn't find out until after I'd visited the Haematology Nurse, at 08:30, to get the new prescription for Blood Thinning Tablets and to end my Daily Blood Thinning Injections, that I've been administering myself.

      It was then off to the Pharmacist to collect the tablets and the tablets we had been prescribed by Dr O'Hagan at our last meeting.

      A good time to visit the Pharmacist as we were the only ones there and we were soon able to head up to the Marina Dalglish Unit, on the 5th Floor. to see if my PiCC Line could be sorted.

      The clearing of the PICC Line has been put on hold until we start the next round of Chemotherapy in two weeks. I'll update you then.

      Chemotherapy to go ahead...
      Drip Feed Biscuits and coffee
      Bloods were fine and, as my PICC Line clearance had been delayed, we got in slightly earlier for the Chemotherapy.

      In just over 4 hours the two main drip treatments plus flushes etc. were complete. During the treatment I Doodled, used a Colouring App to enhance Doodles I'd done in July 2015 and kept up to speed with Social Media etc.

      Volunteer John and Colleague  provided their usual friendly chats along with Coffee and biscuits and later a lunch time sandwich.

      Once the chemo had been completed and the final stage, the Chemo-bottle, had been attached to the cleaned up PICC line. it was time for home.


      No side effects from the treatment at the time I post this blog.

      If any of you have any questions, please feel free to ask. I don't promise that I'll be able to answer all of them but I'll do my Best.

      The next post will cover up to Saturday, when the District Nurse, based at Westway Medical Centre, will come and remove the Chemo-Bottle.

      Sunday, 1 September 2019

      Yes it's over 4 months since I last posted an update...

      Just as a reminder, the initial idea of this blog was to...


      • share my experiences of Bowel Cancer with a wider audience,
      • raise awareness of the treatment I am/I was getting,
      • raise awareness of the side effects from Chemotherapy and
      • answer, if I can, any questions you may have.

      So, what's happened since my last post?

      My Routine now is basically a two week cycle...
      Daily I have to deal with my Catheter and Stoma (Weasel and Donald)

      1. Week 1 Chemotherapy
        Week 1:- Chemotherapy Week...
        On the Wednesday of this week (Day 1) Chris and I go to the Marina Dalglish Unit, at Aintree Hospital. to have My PICC Line cleaned and My Bloods taken to ensure everything is OK for Day 2.

        On Thursday it's back to the Marina Dalglish Unit, assuming everything was fine with the bloods, to have my Chemotherapy Treatment (Day 2). Also, every 4 weeks I tend to see Dr O'Hagan  before the treatment takes place.

        Once the treatment has finished, the final part is connected to my PICC Line from a small bottle. The pressure inside the bottle forces the Chemo into my body during Day 3 (Friday) and Day 4 (Saturday) which lasts until lunchtime-ish.

        One of the District Nurses (Based in Maghull) comes and removes the "Empty Bottle", leaving us to take it back to the Marina Dalglish Unit at the start of the next two week cycle.

        Days 5, 6 and 7, generally don't involve any Medical Activities apart from changing the "Catheter Valve" every Sunday (Day 5), but I'll tell you about my "Side-Effects" that kick in during those days, later in the Blog.
      2. Week 2: -  On the Wednesday of this week (Day 1), one of the District Nurses (Based in Maghull) comes and does a general check-up and cleans My PICC Line.

        Days 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7, generally don't involve any Medical Activities apart from changing the "Catheter Valve" as mentioned above (on Day 5)

      Then it starts all over again.


      The Side Effects Routine of My Chemotherapy, that seems to have established itself...
      1. Mouth sores: - don't take long to appear after treatment but, for me, respond well to bonjela;
      2. Legs & Fingers: - My legs are now far better than they were at the start of my Chemotherapy, the same is true of my fingers...
        At start of Chemotherapy
        Now
        My legs (see above) and Fingers (see below) were the reason My Chemotherapy was put on hold; once they had improved one of the chemicals was no longer used and Chemotherapy was underway again!
        Splits on Fingers
        ...and finger tips.
        As far as my fingers were concerned, there was a worry that I would permanently loose feelings in my finger tips. The Change in Chemotherapy seems to have improved this considerably.
        To be fair, in my last Chemotherapy cycle, I've lost nails on two of my fingers on my left hand. Aveeno Cream has been rubbed into them and they are returning...

        Improved nails...

      3. Taste: -  again this varies however, during Week 1 I find my mouth is very sensitive to spices;
      4. Tiredness: - seems to kick in late Monday or on Tuesday in Week 1. by the Thursday and over the following weekend, things improve and tend to be back to normal.
      5. Diarrhoea: - normally kicks in on the Tuesday/Wednesday of Week 1. With Donald (my Stoma) this can be quite a challenge. This Chemotherapy seems to have produced more than usual, but all is quiet now (fingers crossed)
      Where are we at now?
      Well Chemotherapy Number 14 has been done and the Side-Effects don't seem to be as intrusive this time. 

      I've not been as tried in Week 1, and Chris an I have been quite active with our meanders here in Merseyside.

      CT Scan Results...
      We saw Dr. O'Hagan on Thursday for the results and were "Over the moon" with the feedback!

      All three parts of my cancer, the Bowel Tumour, the Lymph Glands and the Liver cancer have continued to reduce is size.

      "So the plan is to continue with my Chemotherapy and have another CT Scan in 3 Months."
      Let's hope the results will be as good.

      End of Injections and back to tablets...
      I've also had an appointment with the Haematologist, before I got the CT Scan results, and because my Chemotherapy is going to continue, I'm going back to tablets rather than "Blood-thinning Injections".

      I'm not sure which tablets yet.

      All up to date...
      I hope that has brought you up to date, raised awareness of Bowel Cancer, its treatment etc., and answered any questions you may have had.

      If you have any questions that I haven't answered, please contact me and I'll do my best to answer them.

      I'll end this by thanking my friends, ex-colleagues and family for all of your support, encouragement and comments.
      You won't know how important it's been for me!

      Thank You!